Huntsman’s Ryan Plan Mistake

June 20th, 2011 at 7:07 am David Frum | 39 Comments |

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The entry of Jon Huntsman into the GOP races inspires great hope for governance-minded Republicanism. Here is a candidate who is intelligent and responsible, who rejects the “all-out war” model of politics, who shows that a father of seven can also be culturally modern and who has integrated the environment into his priorities. All excellent!

But Huntsman has from the outset imposed a dangerous and unnecessary disability on himself. It’s the same one that felled the Rudy Giuliani campaign in 2008, so I speak from painful experience here.

Giuliani had deviated from the ultra-conservative line on abortion, gun rights, and same-sex marriage. He did not feel he could afford any more deviations from ultra-conservative orthodoxy than those. So Giuliani — who could have been the candidate for the voters of Queens and Staten Island, a champion of the Republican middle class — ended up as Mr. Conservative on all tax and economic issues.

The same fate seems to be overtaking Jon Huntsman, alas. Having bucked the party on greenhouse gases and same-sex unions, Huntsman has signed up for 100 percent endorsement of the Ryan plan.

I can see the logic. Genuflecting at the Ryan altar is deemed inescapable and essential for credibility in 2012. A social conservative like a Mike Huckabee might (barely) evade the obligation, but a libertarian-stye candidate like Huntsman cannot and dare not. To the extent that Huntsman has his eye on a second run in 2016 — well by then the Ryan plan will be forgotten by the general electorate even as it pays dividend in continuing fiscal credibility with the party faithful. So: I get it.

The trouble is, however, that this solution defines the problem in purely party-political terms. The Ryan plan answers a narrow Republican concern: how do we push taxes even lower in the face of the impending retirement of the baby boom). It disregards the broader national concern: how can we sustain and enhance the standard of living of the American middle class against the downward trend in middle-class incomes of the past dozen years? The Ryan plan tragically abdicates this question.

We need reform-minded Republicans like Jon Huntsman to confront that question with at last a credible response.

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39 Comments so far ↓

  • Smargalicious

    David, the Ryan plan will save us. We know you don’t like it, and will rip anyone who does.

    • HankNY

      Smarg…you must be kidding.

      The Ryan Plan [and now the GOP plan -4 guys] ends Medicare as we know it. Seniors will enter a voucher-like plan that won’t even stay with cost of inflation. They’ll pay an additional $6k a year according to the CBO. And that savings doesn’t pay off the debt– instead it’s diverted to another $200k tax break to millionaires.

      You can scream and shout that it doesn’t affect current seniors. Fine. But the plan is still a loser, plain and simple. The Ryan Plan lost NY-26 for the GOP. And it’s going to put House seats into play in dozens of districts which shouldn’t be competitive. Good luck with that.

      • Smargalicious

        Hank the alternative is becoming another Greece.

        We’re broke, and going broker, getting closer to an economic apocaplypse. And, when the Obama voters stop getting their free checks, all hell will break loose.

        • HankNY

          Smarg….that’s absolutely NOT the alternative. The alternative is to examine taxes and revenues. The Bush tax cuts added $3 trillion to the debt. The top 1% received 40% of the cash. SO where are the Bush admin. jobs? Nowhere to be found.

          Unless you’re a millionaire, Obama gave you a tax cut last year. And 1/3 of the stimulus bill was tax cuts. And the rich are paying their lowest effective tax rate since 1955. Taxes need to be on the table. Clinton raised taxes and netted 23M jobs in 8 years.

          So no, we don’t need to end Medicare to save it from itself. This is a common ploy by the GOP, they’ve been crowing about Medicare going bankrupt since the 1970s. They hate it because it works.

        • Smargalicious

          Hank, you’re falling into the socialism trap begun back in 1964 when White liberals threw trillion$ of ‘guilt money’ to Blacks…remember the War on Poverty and Great Society programs? All that resulted was taxpayer subsidized illegitimacy. Our cities are teeming with tens of millions of fatherless welfare thugs today, continually draining our public treasuries dry. Tax the rich to give these thugs money they didn’t earn? That’s wealth re-distribution, Hank. Pure and simple. And, we’ve reached the tipping point: only about 49% of folks pay taxes anymore. The rest collect entitlements.

          If we don’t adopt the Ryan plan, we’re doomed.

  • ottovbvs

    I can see the logic. Genuflecting at the Ryan altar is deemed inescapable and essential for credibility in 2012.

    We all see the logic. Full embrace of the Ryan plan to scrap Medicare and use the savings to finance tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is going to be a litmus test for Republican candidates. Why the average Republican primary voter in Pocomoke City would think the Ryan budget proposal is in their interests is a complete mystery but I’ve long given up trying to understand the reasoning processes of the Republican base. It’s not grounded in any reality I recognize.

    • pragmatic in AR

      “Why the average Republican primary voter in Pocomoke City would think the Ryan budget proposal is in their interests is a complete mystery but I’ve long given up trying to understand the reasoning processes of the Republican base. It’s not grounded in any reality I recognize.”

      It is cause of social issues mostly. White rural voters tend to be more closely connected to the conservative social agenda. Conservative’s play on those social fears and make them believe that the conservative economic theories are on their side, when in it isn’t. So many of them just take their word for it.

  • nhthinker

    David Frum still uses Buckley’s glowing flattery for “Dead Right” in his bio introductions. The same “Dead Right” that espoused a vision of taking apart SS and Medicare for the nonindigent. And yet Frum rails against the Ryan plan. I’d suggest Frum stop trying to have it both ways.

    If Frum can be convincing that Buckley would be against the Ryan plan, then I think keeping the Buckley quote in his bio would be appropriate. Somehow, I don’t think that is possible.

    I think Frum loved the idea of a candidate that would use heated rhetoric against social conservatives or federal government minimalist conservatives. Huntsman/Weaver team seemed to fit that bill…until today when Huntsman broke the second of the three Frum rules:
    1) World’s policeman
    2) big federal government for both indigent and nonindigent
    3) ridiculing social conservatives

    A candidate that only does a third of the Frum rules loses Frum’s hope (even if it is Frum’s favorite). Ridiculing social conservatives is about the only thing consistent with the Frum that wrote “Dead Right”.

    My guess is that Frum is now hopeful for a No-Labels candidate to get in the race.

    • ottovbvs

      David Frum still uses Buckley’s glowing flattery for “Dead Right” in his bio introductions.

      Shocking. You’d better report Frum to the Republican thought police. This is serious. Speaking of deadheads I’ve now got to go and deadhead some Rhododendrons before it gets too hot.

  • IntelliWriter

    John Huntsman was the one Republican I was willing to take a look at as an alternative to Obama. Once he signed on to the Ryan plan, I no longer had any use for him. Putting the Medicare issue to the side, the numbers in his budget are based on ridiculous assumptions (like 2.8% unemployment). He needed to call it out for what it is: a horribly misguided attempt to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society based on magical theories of accounting.

  • jg bennet

    so david you agree with trump on the ryan plan? you start agreeing with him on trade as well and get back to real republicanism……

    Huntsman will continue to sell us out to the Chinese in a heartbeat so he is a no go on my list.

    Here are quotes from Huntsman………..On How U.S. Companies can enter the Chinese market:….

    “I think the first step is getting to know and understand the China market. That means investing time, and it means investing one’s self, as a manager or a corporate leader in the fact you will be doing business together.
    It means at some level one has to develop a lao pengyou (old friend) relationship, if you will. You’ve got to develop some level of guanxi (interpersonal relationship) as they call it, if you’re to be taken seriously in China.
    This takes time and sometimes unwestern-like patience. Regardless of which product you’re looking to sell or market in China, an early step should be to develop relationships and establish yourself as a credible business representative.”

    On trade relations with China where he spoke at the US-China Chamber of Commerce conference in Chicago:………..

    “Never in the history of humanity,” he said, “has a trade relationship come so far so quickly.”
    Huntsman added China’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) will do for China economically what the Shanghai Communique has done for it politically over that past 30 years.

    Speaking of the need to improve trade between China and the US, Huntsman said Americans will be “relentless in the pursuit of success.”

    The Bush administration, he said, is “committed to making the most of China’s accession to the WTO.” and SCREWING US OVER TO THE TUNE OF LOSING 50,000 MANUFACTURING JOBS A MONTH SINCE CHINA ENTERED THE WTO

    He referred to trade and investment as the foundation of the overall Sino-US relationship, the “most important relationship we have in the world today.” (Source: China Daily’s Business Weekly on November 5, 2002.)

    Significance: Clearly trade issues are a priority of Huntsman. How that plays out in dealing with other Sino-U.S. issues such as environmental concerns and defense will remain to be seen.

    On the roles of the United States and China in the world in a 2006 speech he delivered on U.S.-China Relations at Shanghai Normal University:

    “…the United States and China must be good examples and stewards of the Earth. We must match economic progress with environmental stewardship. The effects of industrialization are felt worldwide. In the United States our smokestacks of the Midwest caused acid rain and the destruction of our forests in the Northeast. And even in my home state, Utah – placed in the western mountain region of the United States, our state environmental regulatory agency recently had to issue warnings about consuming water fowl… due to high concentrations of mercury in the water… The mercury is blowing in from Asia; a direct result of the construction and industrialization taking place there. A stark result of how we are all interconnected.”
    “In 1984, President Reagan said, “To many Americans, China is still a faraway place, unknown, unseen, and fascinating.” 35 years following the Shanghai Communique, signed not far from here, 22 years since President Reagan’s visit to Fudan University, and years since China joined the World Trade Organization, Americans still have an enormous fascination with the mystery surrounding China.” (Source: Utah’s Governor’s website.)

    Significance: By characterizing Americans as fascinated by China and referencing environmental issues in the United States, Huntsman has ****humbled himself to his Chinese audience.**** THAT SHOULD GO OVER WELL WITH CONSERVATIVE HAWKS

    Welcome to Huntsman China
    Huntsman is a global manufacturer and marketer of differentiated chemicals. Its operating companies manufacture products for a variety of global industries, including chemicals, plastics, automotive, aviation, textiles, footwear, paints and coatings, construction, technology, agriculture, health care, detergent, personal care, furniture, appliances and packaging.

    Originally known for pioneering innovations in packaging and, later, for rapid and integrated growth in petrochemicals, Huntsman today has more than 12,000 employees and operates from multiple locations worldwide. The Company had 2008 revenues of approximately $10 billion.

    ****Huntsman Global Headquarters is in Belgium, here is why****

    “Merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains.”
    Thomas Jefferson

    Key Advantages of Belgium’s Corporate Tax Environment
    One of Europe’s favorite jurisdictions for holdings and headquarters
    Attractive corporate tax and tax-ruling system
    National Interest Deduction for companies
    Tax treaties with over 80 countries, including Hong Kong
    Interest payments are 100 % tax-deductible
    No taxation on capital gains on shares

    Huntsman sells chemicals and exploits cheap labor by outsourcing our jobs and here is the proof, a list of Huntsman factories……

    We have 10 the rest of the world has 36.

    USA 10 factories **most in Texas (not a union state and known for low wages and pollution friendly**

    China 18
    Brazil 1
    Columbia 1
    South Africa 1
    UK 4
    Thailand 2
    Malaysia 1
    Poland 1
    Turkey 2
    Hungary 1
    Austria 1
    Italy 2
    Netherlands 1

    Prior to serving as the Utah governor, Huntsman handled China-related issues as the U.S. ambassador to Singapore from 1992-1993 a later as a deputy U.S. trade representative and the U.S. trade ambassador for George W. Bush.”


    2010 -252,384.0
    2009 -226,877.2
    2008 -268,039.8
    2007 -258,506.0
    2006 -234,101.3
    2005 -202,278.1
    2004 -162,254.3
    2003 -124,068.2
    2002 -103,064.9

    Total Deficit -1,707,505.6 plus the 2011 deficit so far of -81,791.6. That is our wealth draining to China’s pockets and bankrupting us and Huntsman wants more to go China’s way…

    We owe the Chinese over 1.2 trillion, and are getting the shaft because of guys like Huntsman!!

    The Chinese are ripping us like no one in History and Huntsman comes from the diplomatic and business world that have pushed and allowed this to happen to our country

    So as far as I’m concerned forget Huntsman he is part of the problem and far far from a solution when it comes to the economy.

    Huntsman is neoliberal status quo…….

    The only thing that can set us on on the right trajectory economically is a president with an “I” attached to their name not an R or D. Otherwise the neoliberal robbery of America’s wealth will continue.

    • kuri3460


      It’s pretty simple; the US doesn’t have a monopoly on the global market for unskilled labor.

      I think most of us would agree that a decent living wage in the United States is something like $15-$20 an hour, if not more, depending on what region of the country you live in. The fair living wage for China and other Asian countries is much, much lower.

      This cost differential is so great that even if the US government did away with all corporate taxes, environmental laws, safety regulations, and unions – the GOP’s wishlist, in other words – I think US factories would still be at a competitive disadvantage against the low wages in developing Asian nations.

      I don’t think the problem is with the outsourcing of manufacturing jobs. I think the problem is that they’re being outsourced and people honestly believe they’re coming back. People focus on false hope, rather than re-educating themselves and adapting to the new realities of the 21st century global economy. That’s the problem.

      • PracticalGirl

        Interesting stuff. I actually think that the American penchant for cheap crap while still believing that the outsourced manufacturing jobs can return to the US is the biggest hurdle of all. It’s a fairy tale.

        We’re a Walmart nation that gives only lip service to the notion of bringing manufacturing jobs back to the US. Most American consumers are deeply entrenched in the “cheaper-is-better” mindset and would rather believe a fairy tale than consider the alternative.

  • Graychin

    DF, I’m afraid that your man Huntsman is destined to line up about as many delegates in 2012 as your man Giuliani did in 2008.

    You are correct to draw other parallels between the two. The charge of “RINO” sticks to both of them much too easily – especially today when the “R” in RINO has developed such a narrow meaning. And both seem willing to forfeit their claims to sanity – their greatest assets – in order to appeal to a party faithful that has no chance of nominating an electable candidate.

  • balconesfault

    I’m figuring that the Ryan Plan would result in massive long-term financial windfalls for Huntsman and his broader multibillionaire family.

    What’s not for him to support?

    It’s not like a Huntsman will ever be shopping around to see how much insurance they can buy at age 70 with only a $5,900 (in 2010 dollars) voucher to spare.

  • KRH67

    The Ryan plan is politically toxic, no doubt.

    But at least for me, until I see someone else provide a viable alternative that will actually fix the problem, I have respect for Ryan and Huntsman for supporting ANYthing realistic, when doing so is politically stupid. Americans arent big fans of reality.

    I dont necessarily agree with how the Ryan plan goes about tackling these issues. But until I see someone else have the courage to submit a viable counter-proposal I cant condemn it either.

  • balconesfault

    I have respect for Ryan and Huntsman for supporting ANYthing realistic,

    Sure. Just come up with something realistic, and we can talk.

    Fairy dust about incredibly low unemployment rates, incredibly high growth rates, and seniors being able to buy coverage in the future with vouchers that wouldn’t get them a policy today – as well as the assumption that if the vouchers were being found to fall short there wouldn’t be a political groundswell for pumping more money into the program, isn’t realistic.

    • KRH67


      Fair enough. I concede those numbers for unemployment/growth are absurd, although I might contend that no politician ever has released a budget plan without “fairy dust” numbers.

      That wasn’t what I was driving at, however. I meant in terms of Medicare itself, which is really what the Ryan plan has boiled down to for most voters it seems. You find his proposal ridiculous, which is fine its your opinion. I don’t think its entirely unreasonable myself, but again thats just my opinion. I think we can both agree, however, that the status quo isnt going to work.

      I would love to have an alternative to the Ryan plan that credibly attacks the Medicare issue. I dont see one, so like I said before I have to give credit to them for supporting something that at least proposes fixing the issue… whether I think it actually would or not.

      If there is an alternative out there and I just am missing it, I would really like to be shown it to compare.

      • balconesfault

        I think any discussion of Medicare should start with the bill that blew up the program.

        Bush’s Medicare Drug Program, and the Part D insurance plans.

        Bush’s bill specifically barred price negotiation between Medicare and Big Pharma, thanks to the GOP … and it failed to include any new revenue to offset the massive cost increases that would result from adding in drug coverage or paying insurance companies a big premium over what standard medicare costs for the same level of coverage.

        So before anyone starts hacking into Medicare, I suggest they start by proposing to either drop the drug benefit, or to raise taxes to a degree sufficient to pay for the drug benefit.

        Just because Bush sold the country a bunch of dishonest mathematics, it doesn’t mean we should always accept them.

      • Graychin

        KRH – there IS an alternative out there. You might call it Obamacare. And then be opposed to it, and even want to repeal it.

        Medicare can’t be fixed just by cutting benefits to beneficiaries. That might make budget hawks happy, but some of us think that the fact that Medicare keeps old people from dying in the street is a good thing.

        For some reason, the USA spends more on health care per capita than any other nation. Problem is, we aren’t getting what we pay for. That’s because too many powerful interests are attached to public teats: Big Pharma, medical equipment peddlers (scooters, anyone?), for-profit hospital interests (run by the likes of Florida’s Rick Scott. And insurance interests, the patrons of the likes of Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman.

        The problem is bigger than Medicare. It’s the whole health care delivery system. Trouble is, one of our political parties is 100% opposed to upsetting the interests I mentioned – abetted by the likes of Nelson and Lieberman.

        “We have the best Congress money can buy.” – Will Rogers

        • balconesfault

          Trouble is, one of our political parties is 100% opposed to upsetting the interests I mentioned – abetted by the likes of Nelson and Lieberman.

          And that’s what really, really pissed me off about how the Republicans acted during the 2010 Healthcare Debate. They really could have made the bill better, had they come in with an attitude “expanding subsidies to make sure the working poor and middle-class has access to insurance is good – but we need cost controls on the entire system”, then the carpetbagging of the Nelsons and Liebermans and Bayhs that no doubt piled a lot of long term costs into the bill could have been undermined because their votes wouldn’t have been so critical.

          Basically, the GOP thought it so important to make sure that the people who make $14 an hour working 50 hours a week can’t get any Federal subsidy to help them buy health insurance, that they empowered the Dems who are beholden to special interests to get the best deal for those special interests they could … at the expense of the taxpayers.

          Thanks guys!

      • Stan

        Reinstate the Clinton income tax rates, remove all our troops from Iraq and most of them from Afghanistan, end the tax subsidy to employers for providing health insurance, extend Medicare to the entire population and fund it with a payroll tax, and start bargaining vigorously with all health care providers, including doctors, to lower medical costs – I understand little of this will happen, but you asked and I answered.

  • politicalfan

    When a person lives on a limited amount of money. An increase in out of pocket expenses will matter. This is a hard sell, “We have to save medicare by having you pay more now!” (As a bonus, we are raising the Social Security age limit for your sister who might have to live with you, we could care less if you like her or not. Sacrifice, I say sacrifice.)

    If your able to afford it, this may sound reasonable, because you can afford to hire a private nurse. However, if you’re on a fixed income, how does this help your situation or you’re sister? What percentage of medicare users are on fixed income and can not afford to supplement their current medicare plan? Now, what percentage of those individuals are living off of social security without any other retirement plan? (Consider that many people retire from jobs that do not have any significant benefits and their savings are minimal).

    So why is SS being touched again if medicare should be significantly changed with the R. plan? Is this about changing ‘entitlements’ as we know it and who doesn’t think class warfare will not be played? If you’re in any of those percentages above, taxing the rich will obviously sound better. I think there is a disconnect or assumption that Republican voters are not in this percentage. Most people understand that when the budget gets tough they have to sacrifice but if you’re asking those who may be hit the hardest to sacrifice more, they might have their own ideas on how to solve the budget by excluding the Ryan Plan and by giving a set of directions on where to go and exactly ‘how’ to get there. Old folks are tough and a percentage of the vote that should not be discounted!

  • politicalfan

    “Let me be clear – AARP is as committed as we’ve ever been to fighting to protect Social Security for today’s seniors and strengthening it for future generations. Contrary to the misleading characterization in a recent media story, AARP has not changed its position on Social Security.”

    Read more:

  • tom78212

    Huntsman is just another billionaire who will support anything that guarantees HIS tax breaks. The question here is not whether he’ll support the Ryan plan or any other mean spirited plan – he is a rich republican after all – but whether his billions or Romney’s billions will help one of them buy the nomination. The stumbling block for both of them is…. ta da!!!! They’re Mormons and only idiots would vote for guys who wear magic underwear and do what the church elders order them to do.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    KRH67, there is an alternative out there, one that Newt himself alluded to and then was flayed alive for doing so. You start off by making aspects of the Ryan plan voluntary now, allow soon to retire seniors who have company held insurance to continue keeping it after they retire. And instead of using whatever savings arise for tax cuts you use it for deficit reduction.
    The Ryan plan does nothing to save money, it just shifts costs and in the ways it will save money, by poor Seniors who forgo treatment and then die early, is not exactly a strong selling point in my book.
    The Ryan plan is likely to cost our economy more than it will save, the US spends 16% of its GDP on healthcare compared to Japans 8% (with better outcomes). Shifting the costs from government to private sector does not save money if the US continues to spend 16% (and under Ryan likely to be higher as Insurers have far higher overhead)

    You want a real solution? It is called Single Payer. Taiwan has the lowest administrative costs in the world and they patterned their single payer after our own Medicare. Instead of millions of young Americans making Insurance companies fat from their premiums if it were dedicated towards taxes it would solve the Medicare problem overnight. Single Payer would reduce our GDP share by a couple of percentage points right away as it did in every other country it was adopted.

    • sweatyb

      Medicare is not in trouble in a way that’s distinct from the disaster that is our current employer-provided private health insurance model. Medicare is holding down costs better than private insurance and it’s dealing with a significantly older and sicker population to boot. Frumplestiltskin is right, Medicare For All, is a simple proposal that would reduce costs, which is what the “crisis” in Medicare is based on.

      But you don’t have to go all the way to single payer to “save” Medicare. The Federal Government has chosen, over the last 30 years, to systematically starve itself of the resources needed to provide for what voters want. The Tea Party is playing out the end-game of the “Starve the Beast” strategy.

      Make Medicare stronger: by giving it greater power to negotiate prices for drugs and procedures.
      Make Medicare smarter: by paying for results instead of services.
      Make Medicare wiser: by excluding expensive procedures that aren’t any more effective than cheaper ones.
      Make Medicare last: by raising taxes. The country loves Medicare, it wants to pay for it.

      • TexasDog

        Ultimately single payer will be implemented. But probably not until there is a very real crisis along the lines of the Greece situation.

  • Largebill

    Nothing is all black or all white. There is no perfect candidate. Huntsman has some positives. Two term governor of a conservative state, solidly pro-life, etc. However, he also has some negatives. I’m not referring to his service in the Obama administration. If the president asks you to fill a position you have to give it strong consideration and if you can do the job without sacrificing your principals you do the job. Bigger issue is his stance on some issues that reflect poorly on his judgment. Particularly damaging is his falling for the global warming nonsense. His endorsement of the Ryan plan is a good first step towards rehabilitating his image.

  • medinnus

    Endorsing the Ryan plan merely means he doesn’t want to be shut out and shut down this early in the game. So long as the Democrats can block the Senate, the Ryan laughingly-called-a-plan is dead in the water.

    • politicalfan

      This is also a smart strategy. If he agrees with the plan and it fails, it will keep the door open for reform down the road. Sad to say but we are going to get flip flopping. Send in the truth teller!!! Okay Frum, we think you should jump in. Mrs. Frum??? Anybody, anybody???

      If he can stop the rhetoric and offer a solution, this will be winning strategy. I don’t want a President who can insult the current President in an (insult match). Palin has done that for the last few years. We need a solution person bottomline. Turn on Fox for heavens sakes, if that doesn’t make you want to vote Republican, nothing will. If you don’t watch Fox, it is the person “you know” versus the one that “you don’t.” That being said, the President gets reelected.

      Huntsman has the path less traveled.

  • LFC

    “Genuflecting at the Ryan altar is deemed inescapable and essential for credibility in 2012.”

    And one more Republican bows to a false idol.

  • ottovbvs

    I would love to have an alternative to the Ryan plan that credibly attacks the Medicare issue.

    This is one of the standard Republican defense mechanisms for the Ryan plan. He’s the only one that’s been serious/brave enough to advance a plan to deal with the Medicare cost problem. It’s a variant of the other Republican mantra “We’re Broke.” They’re are both completely untrue of course. There are numerous plans out there that both detail the nature of the Medicare cost problem and suggest strategies for dealing with it. One of them is contained in Obama’s ACA but this is completely ignored by people like KRH 67. I doubt he could actually describe it. Of course other modest proposals in the Obama healthcare plan like providing counselling for seniors and cutting back on advantage plans were dismissed by Republicans as “Death panels” or a Democratic attempt to destroy Medicare (ironically). It’s hard to tell whether folks like KRH 67 really are that uninformed that they don’t know about any of this or are just playing dumb. It’s a well trodden path, five minutes of Google-ing lays it all out. As is obvious to first year econ students the problem with Medicare is the same problem that it shares with the entire US healthcare system. The cost of delivery is way out of whack with that of our OECD peers. We also have a classic rent seeking mechanism for funding private insurance. That’s an important but secondary issue. Basically what the Republican position amounts to is they are in favor of rationing by cost (Yay) but averse to the govt doing anything to manage the healthcare system to get cost out of it. Until I see a single Republican like KRH 67 willing to discuss the real problems with Medicare and the wider US healthcare system instead of just blathering and pretending there are no alternative options to Ryan’s plan to voucherise the system I’m going to continue assuming they are full of it.

  • gmckee1985

    The Ryan plan is a starting point. Any solutions to the entitlement problem will have to be bipartisan, unless one party or the other plans on having gigantic majorities, and getting all the blame for the “solution”…highly unlikely to happen.

    I expect something will be done about entitlements after the next presidential election. After each side demagogues each other to death, whoever the president may be will have to step up and be the grown up. I’m slightly optimistic that will happen.

    • ottovbvs

      The Ryan plan is a starting point.

      GMCKEE replies with some more typical Republican blather of the “Men of goodwill will find a way” variety which dodges the issues. The Ryan plan is a total fraud. It’s math doesn’t even add up. It’s not a starting point for anything.

  • Frumplestiltskin

    gmckee1985: The Ryan plan is a starting point.

    No it isn’t. It is useless. I can easily say National healthcare modeled after England is the starting point. Where does it get us, nowhere.

    Republicans are incapable of being serious about this issue, your post is evident that that is true.

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