Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has always wanted to privatize Social Security and Medicare. It has been an Ayn Randian dream of his since entering politics. It is rather hypocritical of him considering he benefitted from Social Security and like all of us, has family members receiving Medicare. Mr. Ryan likes to talk about his plans, but he is always vague about the benefits his plans would have for ordinary Americans. He usually leaves it at “saves taxes” and people can take care of themselves, invest wisely and then moves on. He will lecture people about his plans both on the campaign trail and to the Republican caucus but he will never “debate” his plans with someone with a different point of view. Typical for a conman one would think.
Paul Ryan has publicly said that he now has a mandate to phase out (or privatize via vouchers) Medicare in 2017. He needs to be reminded the Republicans may have kept control of the House and Senate and Donald Trump won the White House but the GOP lost seats in both chambers of Congress, Democrats still received a higher number of votes than Republicans and Hillary Clinton won the popular vote for President by 2 million. Not much of a mandate if you ask me.
Anyhow, here’s where we currently stand with both Medicare and Social Security:
A total of 53.8 million Americans collect Medicare. Of them 44.9 million collect because they are over 65 and 8.9 million collect for disabilities. 53.5 million collect Medicare Part A, 49.3 million collect Medicare Part B, 16.2 million collect Medicare Part C and 40.5 million collect Medicare Part D. There is currently $280.5 billion in the Trust Fund and Medicare takes in $599.3 billion annually in tax revenues. The average Medicare recipient collects $12,179.00 a year in benefits. These recipients for the most part have substandard fixed incomes with little to no money to spare.
A total of 65.8 million collect Social Security. Of them 45.1 million collect due to retirement and 20.7 million collect due to being disabled. There is $2.6 Trillion in the Social Security Trust Fund that will pay full benefits for another 20 years if nothing is done. After that a reduced benefit can be paid out for another 55 years. It is noted the easiest fix to ensure complete Social Security solvency is simply lifting the FICA cap from Payroll Taxes currently set at $114,000.00 a year. The average amount of benefits for Social Security is $1,239.04 a month and the average recipient has little to no savings, pensions, 401(K)s to supplement this amount.
Party membership has absolutely no impact on whether you collect Social Security or Medicare. Any changes to either program impacts every family in this nation regardless of race, income, religion, ethnicity, or savings.
Now to be fair, currently Ryan is only talking about Medicare not Social Security. We know Ryan still wants to phase out and privatize Social Security, but he remembers that when George Bush won reelection in 2004, he said he had a mandate and took to the road to sell privatizing Social Security to the public. Didn’t go so well because both Republicans and Democrats contacted their Republican and Democratic representatives in Congress and told them in one unified voice, “No fucking Way!” and the plan was dead on arrival. However, Ryan has been secretly giving it life support since then.
Ryan’s plan for Medicare hasn’t changed. He wants to phase it out and replace it with a private medical voucher system much like private schools. This is the plan he advocated for as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012. Now you don’t have to be an economics major to understand that all vouchers do is supplement the wealthiest from paying tuition or in this case medical care, at the expense of the middle and working class who don’t have enough money to pay for private schools or medical services with the vouchers provided.
In short, under Paul Ryan’s Ayn Rand plan, the majority of Tax Payers will assist the wealthiest of Americans to offset their medical costs while they receive nothing in return to help defray their costs in a completely privatized system.
The Ryan plan provides the elderly an $8,000.00 yearly voucher for healthcare in the private system. Bear in mind, healthcare costs and pharmaceutical costs continue to rise above the rate of inflation. Also keep in mind (as noted above) the Ryan Plan will cut over $4,000.00 in government subsidies provided the elderly and disabled while these individuals only on average collects just over $1,200.00 a year to pay for housing, food, transportation, heat, cooling, you name it. They would have to pony up another $4,000.00 a year on a fixed income just to be where they were before and even under Medicare and Medicare supplemental plans, they still have additional costs not covered at all.
Until at least 2018 the Republicans will continue to control Congress. Further they now have a Republican President. We can no longer count on President Obama to veto such bills coming from Congress. We are back in 2006 with a Republican President and a Republican Congress trying to screw the majority of the American People by taking away something that has worked so well for millions only because Wall Street wants the money in both the Medicare and Social Security Trust funds to line their pockets.
I have proposed that instead of just allowing Paul Ryan to lecture his caucus and tell only part of the story to the American People to sell his idea he be willing to fully debate the entire story, facts, figures and all before someone like Bernie Sanders on live television so the constituents in both parties can see what is being proposed and if it is in their best interest or not. Of course it is unlikely this will occur so we must contact our family and friends and have them contact each member of Congress telling them in no uncertain terms you will support any privatization of your Medicare or your Social Security. We stopped them before we can do it again.
Everything Paul Ryan and the Republicans are pushing for involves leaving your retirement income and healthcare in the hands of Wall Street and the whims of the Stock Market. Imagine if Bush was successful with Privatizing Social Security and all these retired folks suddenly had to deal with the crash of 2008. Paul Ryan is a big fan of Health Savings Accounts which guess what, rely on the whims of the Stock Market. You get my point?
Without President Obama, we can only rely upon ourselves to hold Congress accountable. Doing or saying nothing is cutting our own financial and medical throats.
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