Saturday, August 11, 2012

Romney Loses it, Picks Obersturmführer Ryan as VP

Even as Romney’s Zombies burn their hair and send up ‘code red’ reactions in the wake of the Priority USA PAC's Soptic ad (which as Rachel Maddow noted last night has never been televised – but only shown on the net - until Goopers started getting their panties in a snit and drew attention to it) their standard bearer has shown this morning he’s either certifiable or desperate beyond sensibility. The reason? Selecting Obersturmführer Paul Ryan as his running mate. I mean what is this guy thinking? Even arch –conservative Richard Viguerie last night said a Ryan choice would be a flat out mistake, and merely offer a tempting target to the Left. Well, DOH!

I watched only a few minutes of Ryan’s acceptance spiel this morning because, frankly, I was in the middle of eating breakfast and I couldn’t tolerate more than 5 minutes. As he stood in front of the battleship ‘Wisconsin’ I did hear lots of calls and appeals to ‘liberty’ and ‘freedom’ – always good sound bites to get the sheeple to applaud, and they did. But the man knows nothing of real freedom, or liberty. (Note: When I use the term ‘liberty’ I mean it in the broader context of the unenumerated rights that inhere in the Ninth Amendment of the Bill of Rights.)

Ryan spoke of “liberty” but eschews government as any driving force, unless for military expansion – hence why he plans to increase the Pentagon budget by 40%. He also speaks with forked tongue: indicating the need for spending control, but quite happy to make exceptions for the military and the wealthy plutocrats who will thrive on his tax cuts, embodied in his “Ryan budget”.

Any imbecile knows that plutocrats who seek to control this nation love the overuse of the terms “individual liberty” or “personal freedom” because the thoughtless and less intelligent to whom the phrase is addressed don’t process the underlying meme. But the oligarchs do! Their primary doctrine is that there’s nothing we as citizens hold in common, or for which we ought to pull together – say in the interests of one another. There is NO commonweal in other words. To the plutocrats and their lackeys, like Paul Ryan, the commonweal is a myth, or a sign of softheadedness and weakness ….an inability to stand on one’s own feet and be “independent”. Citizenship becomes merely a series of transactions between independently acting individuals – each with his own self-interest.

Of course, the testimony of our own history belies this skewed notion of freedom, which at its base is the form promoted in ads by the billionaire Koch brothers and their “Americans for Prosperity” – because they hope most Americans will be stupid enough to buy it. But go all the way back to the Mayflower Compact and you will find the declaration that “these just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions and offices …shall be thought most meet and convenient for the GENERAL GOOD.”

Go next to the Preamble of the Constitution and find the words “to promote the GENERAL WELFARE” as a prime function of government. Look closely, because it’s not “military welfare” or “corporate welfare”, or “oligarchic welfare”, but GENERAL.

Needless to say the purpose of the individual liberty screeds, whether in ads by the Kochs or spiels by Paul Ryan, is to blinker the mind of the listener to believe the commonweal and its mode of delivery – the government - is something separate and apart from us. The myth is then erected that we are ourselves a “sovereign people” and government is a creature apart and inimical to our interests. Thereby a state of mind is encouraged which is destructive of the commonweal itself. And to the extent citizens buy into it, they are accomplices to its destruction.

The sad and inescapable fact is that with Paul Ryan now Romney’s Veep, Romney will be committed to go full tilt toward implementing Ryan’s budget, which will leave this country in a shambles.

Ryan talks about “liberty” but what kind of liberty will our citizens have after military spending (which is already greater than all other nations put together) is increased by 40% and double its current share of GDP? Do people seriously believe they have any chance of securing their Social security, social security disability, VA pensions, Medicare, Tri-care or other benefits? If they do they are dreaming or delusional! Even the most logically deficient person can process that if Romney and Ryan plan to amp up military spending by $1.5 trilllion over four years – and bankroll $7 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest, something has to give! That “something” is social insurance benefits, the very foundation of freedom.

Because with those benefits gutted, the middle class will be hurled into an economically needy, necessitous future, of a type most glaringly articulated by Donna Smith on her blog at Smirkingchimp. And as FDR once said: “Necessitous men cannot be free men”.

For a person like me with cancer that requires treatment, Ryan’s budget- if implemented -will mean serious Medicare cuts and costs that I may not be able to pay. Oh he and Romney insist their scheme doesn’t apply to anyone 55 or older but don’t believe this bull pockey for a second. The true fact is the Medicare impacts will have to strike those of us past 55 in order to deliver the spending cuts Ryan needs, that (partially) balance his mammoth $8.5 trillion 4-year spending increases.

This will mean definitely increasing the Medicare age to 67, from 65, and also cutting Medicare via “the back door” by using the Chained CPI to redefine the Social Security COLA. In this way, the 3% yearly losses of benefits in S.S. will translate into 3% yearly higher cost to Medicare, since the monthly Medicare premiums are taken out of Social Security. Add to that a likely increase in Medicare premiums, of perhaps 10%, and you have the makings of a lot of suffering. If the Ryan-Romney Axis also implement cuts (or much higher offset prices, e.g.  in special treatments, such as my radiation therapy) or abolition of free preventive services - now allowed under ‘Obamacare’-   then we are all for the high jump.

But I am confident the Dems are aware of all of these facets and will use them like a sharp Bowie knife to take down these two stand-ins for the plutocrats. In that sense, Romney – in his desperation – has handed us the very present we need to ensure Obama gets 4 more years, and likely in a landslide rivaling the one Reagan had over Mondale in 1984.

Those who want to learn more about Ryan's perverse budget, can go to:

Parsing and processing the information in the preceding link will show, as Economics Professor Fiona Scott Morton aptly put it (TIME: ‘The Market Can’t Cure Medicare’, May 2, 2011) that Ryan’s plan, and indeed any such premium support plan, is merely a demand shedding plan. As Morton puts it, in terms of Ryan's proposed Medicare vouchers:

“there’s no evidence many companies will be rushing in to provide health coverage to ailing boomers with competition that ought to lower any premiums"

She adds:

"The Republican plan is not solving the problem. It’s solving the problem of the cost of government health care. You have people who can’t afford it and they’ll just die. Economists call that demand shedding”.

Thus the “Medicare revolution” proffered by Ryan (and Romney) is NOT to engender market competition to "lower health premiums for seniors", but to shed market demand (by seniors) so they'll be unable to enter or access any private health care, period. And since no government help or insurance will be available (other than a meager voucher of maybe $10k a year at most),  to try and purchase private insurance in an open market,  the senior will have no choice but to die. I mean, Hitler couldn't have conceived of a better long term plan to eliminate the aged.

As for Medicaid, the 54 million poor and moderate income citizens now on that will also find themselves hostage to Ryan's fascist economics as he and Romney cut the federal component (which is now 'halfsied' with states) and offer only minimal state grants. Then, to even have a chance of getting access to Medicaid, you will likely have to be below $1,000 a year in income, if that.

Apart from that, we know health care purchasing isn’t like buying a car, or i-pad or TV. The elements of objective and cool rational choice aren’t available mainly because the time when people most need health care is when their lives may be on the line: after a serious auto accident or fall, or appendicitis, or contracting pneumonia....or prostate cancer! Then, they simply need care and cost may not factor into it given that we know costs vary across large geographical regions, see e.g.

As shown in that blog, there is a way to control medical costs, but it doesn't depend on "premium support". It requires a provider network that mandates FIXED pricing for each procedure irrespective of what insurance vehicle one has....or doesn't. In this way, the delivery of care is rendered uniform without wild geographical variations in costs, and in addition, costs can be controlled - especially in terms of unnecessary procedures.

Now....if you think all this is bad, and bear in mind food stamps will also be likely cut to barely $280 a month on average, then consider the future if Romney croaks for whatever reason, and Ryan becomes PRESIDENT. Think also of him having GOP control of both houses of congress to play around with.
Or maybe I am just being overly pessimistic.  ....NOT!!

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