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Posts Tagged ‘seniors’

Pulling the Plug on Working Families to Give Tax Cuts to Millionaires

Crooks and Liars- By Mike Lux
April 09, 2011 11:00 AM

The Ryan budget is a remarkable document: all of its budget cuts hammer working class families, seniors, and students — while all of its tax cuts go straight to millionaires. It does almost nothing to deal with the deficit, yet still manages to deal a death blow to virtually every member of the working middle class and everyone trying to work their way into it. It is especially hard on seniors and the most vulnerable in society in the midst of the toughest economic times since the Great Depression, doing serious economic damage to anyone who isn’t a millionaire, oil company, or Wall Street bank. The good news, for those who are millionaires? They get so many economic benefits it will be hard to keep track of them all.

Let’s start with the deficit itself. According to a new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report, the actual deficit reduction in the Ryan plan would be only an average of $15 billion a year over the next 10 years. If we end up at a consistent 2.8 percent unemployment rate in spite of all the economic devastation this budget would bring to the middle class (which would be the lowest unemployment since the peak years of the 1950s), get out of the wars we are in pretty quickly, start no new wars or humanitarian “police actions,” have the kind of income growth we haven’t seen since the 1960s, and have no big terrorist attacks or natural disasters we have to deal with, the Ryan budget theoretically gets us to a balanced budget by about 2040.

Great. I can get to a balanced budget a lot faster than that, and do it without dismantling Medicare and Medicaid, and without taking an axe to Pell Grants, Head Start, and meals for shut-in seniors and hungry children. Heck, Jan Schakowsky’s plan balances the entire budget except for interest payments on the national debt in five years. You can easily balance the budget in less than 10 years, even including those interest payments, simply by cutting the waste in military spending, reforming the government contracting procedures, ending tax loopholes for investment bankers and offshore companies, ending subsidies to oil companies and big agribusinesses, taxing speculative financial trades, and having millionaires pay taxes at the same rate they did under Ronald Reagan.

The Ryan budget has nothing — not a single frickin’ thing — to do with cutting the federal deficit. It is all about income redistribution, simple as that. If you take away the budget savings Ryan claims from projecting that the wars we are in will wind down soon, he has $4.3 trillion in budget cuts and $4.2 trillion in tax cuts. And I bet you can guess which fact comes next: the budget cuts are targeted almost 100 percent at programs that help low-income families and the working middle class, while the tax cuts are almost entirely directed toward the wealthiest 10 percent. In fact, that comment on taxes is an understatement: Citizens for Tax Justice has an analysis showing that 90 percent of Americans will see their taxes go up under the Ryan budget, because the tax breaks his bill calls for actually total more than $4.1 trillion. The bottom 80 percent would pay $1,700 more in taxes under Ryan’s plan, while the top 1 percent (those making more than $460,000 dollars per year) would pay more than $211,000 less on average. As the folks at CTJ say, “It is difficult to design a tax plan that will lose $2 trillion over a decade while requiring 90% of taxpayers to pay more. But Congressman Ryan has met that daunting challenge.”

VIDEO AND MORE HERE

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We must destroy Medicare so Charlie Sheen can keep his tax cut

Crooks and Liars- By Brad Reed
April 05, 2011 08:00 AM

So Rep. Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who best exemplifies the soulless Randroid bean-counting dweeb demographic, has decided to release his plan to “reform” entitlements this week. As you can imagine, it completely sucks:

Ryan also said that he would propose changing Medicare, the popular health program for seniors, into what he called a “premium support plan” similar to the Medicare prescription drug program. […]

Seniors would be able to pick from a list of private plans competing for their business, Ryan said. Seniors would pick the plan of their choosing, and Medicare would subsidize that coverage.

Children, let’s stop and think about this for a moment.

Do you know why Medicare was established in the first place? That’s right — because retirees had difficulty getting affordable health insurance due to their higher medical liabilities. And of course, even those who could afford such insurance would find their policies rescinded if their care got too expensive — in essence, a private-sector death panel.

So we created Medicare! And it has been one of the most successful government programs of the past century, helping countless seniors get quality care without putting themselves into bankruptcy paying for private insurance. And now Paul Ryan wants to turn it into another corporate welfare scam.

As Ezra Klein notes, this is not going to improve care or really even save money:

The current Medicare program would be dissolved and the next generation of seniors would choose from Medicare-certified private plans on an exchange. But that wouldn’t save money. In fact, it would cost money. As the Congressional Budget Office has said (pdf), since Medicare is cheaper than private insurance, beneficiaries will see “higher premiums in the private market for a package of benefits similar to that currently provided by Medicare.” […]

In both cases, what saves money is not the reform. It’s the cut. For Medicare, the cut is that the government wouldn’t cover the full cost of the private Medicare plans, and the portion they would cover is set to shrink as time goes on.

Hear that, Granny? Your health care is about to be sacrificed at the altar of Aetna and Cigna! I hope you like it!

But hey, not everyone’s doing quite so poorly. Take a look at what Charlie Sheen’s been up to:

MORE HERE

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With copyright permission from my friend, Stephen Pitt.

Now The Republicans Are Going After AARP. Do We See A Pattern Here?

Crooks and Liars- By Susie Madrak
March 29, 2011 07:00 AM

My, they really are hypocrites of the highest degree, aren’t they? After all the water they carried for the insurance industry for Medicare Part B, and during the health care debate, they’re going to try to pin AARP with making money on insurance? What happened to their much-loved free market? Guess it only works when the businesses support the Republicans!

I’m not always a fan of AARP (they do provide affordable insurance to people who otherwise couldn’t get it). They did a lot of work to push the Affordable Care Act, and they stand up for consumers on a wide variety of issues.

Bottom line? Even if I didn’t like them at all, the fact that the Republicans have targeted them would make me want to defend them. After all, sometimes the enemy of my enemy is my friend!

Newly empowered House Republicans are getting ready to renew their attacks against AARP over its support for the healthcare reform law, The Hill has learned.

The Ways and Means health and oversight subcommittees are hauling in the seniors lobby’s executives before the panel for an April 1 hearing on how the group stands to benefit from the law, among other topics. Republicans say AARP supported the law’s $200 billion in cuts to the Medicare Advantage program because it stands to gain financially as seniors replace their MA plans with Medicare supplemental insurance — or Medigap — policies endorsed by the association.

The hearing will cover not only Medigap but “AARP’s organizational structure, management, and financial growth over the last decade.”

An embarrassing hearing would not only hit AARP back for its support of the law, but fits in with the GOP’s mantra that the law was written behind closed doors to favor Democratic allies. And policy-wise, it could empower Republicans to tackle Medigap policies, which many conservatives want to reform because they believe they contribute to over-utilization of the medical system by reducing out-of-pocket contributions.

Imagine the nerve of old people actually going to the doctor’s, taking care of their health and extending their lifespan. Shame on them!

MORE HERE

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Crooks and Liars- By John Amato Thursday Apr 29, 2010 1:00pm

The hits keep coming in for Arizona’s Tancredo/Buchanan bill. The Mayor of Phoenix is no fan of this legislation and said this on Friday:

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon says seniors, kids and out-of-staters should be wary of the Arizona immigration bill signed into law this past week — warning that it puts them at risk of being arrested.

The law makes illegal immigration a state crime. It gives police the authority to question people about their immigration status and arrest those who cannot show documentation to establish their legal residency.

Gordon, a staunch opponent of the state law, said that means anyone who doesn’t carry an Arizona license — children under 16, seniors who don’t drive and people from out of state — could be “at risk of being arrested and turned over to (Immigration and Customs Enforcement).”

“It tramples civil rights,” Gordon told Fox News on Sunday. “Now everyone has to show and prove that they’re a legal resident or citizen.” The mayor of Arizona’s largest city is at odds with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the bill Friday and described the legislation as her state’s answer to “decades of inaction and misguided policy” in Washington.

If I thought like Sarah Palin I might say that Arizona was more interested in ‘Arresting Grandma’ than solving the real immigration problem. Gordon makes good points on FOX because he’s talking about demographics in our society that will be out at risk. The elderly are always caught up on the down side of an issue when there are massive changes to laws like this.

Bill Hemmer does his FOX News best by quoting the odious Sheriff Arpaio, who says more people will come to Arizona because the state has become safer. Gordon smacked him around by saying that Arpaio is only making up his own statistics and noted that he’s actually under criminal investigation for civil rights violations. Sheriff Arpaio is one of those trusted FOX News sources. I should also include that most of the MSM uses Boss Tweed all the time. And there are plenty of reports in the news now saying that Arizona businesses are very afraid that this law will drive business away.

“Our members are concerned,” said Debbie Johnson, president and CEO of the Arizona Hotel & Lodging Association, which represents hundreds of hotels, bed and breakfasts and resorts in the state.

“They’re hearing from a lot of folks who visit and they’re obviously concerned with where this is playing out.”

On April 28th he told CNN that he’s going to sue Arizona’s bill:

Mayor Phil Gordon’s planned lawsuit contends Arizona’s recently passed immigration law is too vague and unenforceable.

The police will enforce it just fine. I bet taser sales go through the roof and I bet that’s one convention that won’t be cancelled.

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Lawsuits Over AZ Immigration Law Filed By Police Officer, Latino Group

BY JONATHAN J. COOPER and PAUL DAVENPORT | 04/29/10 04:58 PM | AP

PHOENIX — Anger mounted Thursday over an Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigration as a police officer filed one of the first lawsuits challenging the law and activists gathered outside an Arizona Diamondbacks game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, chanting “Boycott Arizona.”

The lawsuit from 15-year Tucson police veteran Martin Escobar is one of two filed Thursday, less than a week after Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the law that’s sparked fears it will lead to racial profiling despite the governor’s vow that officers will be properly trained.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said the federal government may challenge the law, which requires local and state law enforcement to question people about their immigration status if there’s reason to suspect they’re in the country illegally, and makes it a state crime to be in the United States illegally.

Escobar, an overnight patrol officer in a heavily Latino area of Tucson, argues there’s no way for officers to confirm people’s immigration status without impeding investigations, and that the new law violates numerous constitutional rights.

MORE HERE

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