On Monday’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, the host made a claim that the Paul Ryan bill would “kill half the people who watch this show.”
Big claim. Yet Matthews own words were refuted earlier in the discussion. After the panel agreed that Ryan’s bill should “scare seniors” guest Howard Fineman acknowledged that “at the same time, it exempts 55 and over, so it’s going to really annoy younger people who are going to at some point get — supposed to get the Medicare benefits – [those] 40 to 55…”
I’m 43, so this affects my age group the most. But if I were a senior, I would rest easy for, as the panel admitted, seniors are exempt from any changes in Medicare under Ryan’s plan. So why then is Matthews so adamant it should scare seniors? To scare those who vote the most even though they have no dog in the fight?
Fineman added: “all the changes are going to be for those younger people. So they’re the ones who ultimately will get screwed.” That’s me again. The freak-out-grandma tactic will not avert the unavoidable cuts to social programs that are nonetheless bankrupting this nation.
What’s interesting to me is that Matthews, again in an attempt to defend Medicare, offers a nugget that goes to the very heart of why the program must be reformed: “[Medicare recipients] don’t have to save $20 million so they can pay for their medical expenses when they get older, right, which are going to get more costly as they get older.” No, because I’m paying for it, as this April 15th will remind me yet again. But how can long can this continue? And it’s this inherent unsustainability (that Matthews unintentionally alludes to by citing increased costs) that should be scaring everyone.
Call it a matter of principle versus principal:
The Hardball host says: “The federal government promised that back in the 1960s, that they would take care of people who have worked their whole life for their medical costs.” True enough. But that was nearly fifty years ago. It was a promise based upon faulty actuarials and bogus assumptions and now, after decades of kicking the can down the road, the bill has finally come due.
Nowhere was it promised that for someone who retired today having put in on average $114,000 into Medicare, that $355,000 in average benefits would be coming their way… and paid for by an ever more squeezed generation of younger taxpayers who’ve fatalistically accepted that they’ll be lucky to see a dime of their confiscated income when they turn sixty-five — scared or not.