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Three Immutable Laws of American Politics

[ 32 ] August 14, 2012 |

1)Nobody cares about federalism. 2)No conservative Republican — Paul Ryan very much included — cares about the deficit. 3)Most mainstream pundits will call conservative Republicans who repeatedly support unfunded upper-class tax cuts and wars “deficit hawks” anyway.

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  1. Hmm, three laws you say? How about:

    1. A Republican may not injure a tax cut for the rich or, through inaction, allow a tax cut for the rich to come to harm.
    2. Villagers must obey the orders given to them by Republicans, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
    3. Republicans and Villagers must protect their own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

  2. [...] on the same terms that someone can pretend that Paul Ryan favors deficit reduction, someone will undoubtedly imagine a defense skeptical Paul Ryan.  It just ain’t [...]

  3. TN says:

    The real brilliance of the Ryan budget is that it specifically exempts anyone who is likely to be a Republican voter from Medicare cuts. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was research showing that GOP identification increases sharply after the age of 55.

    • Jeff says:

      My parents live in Florida, and the people in their over 55 community are scared of Ryan and his budget, including the Republicans, even though it won’t affect them. They believe it’s the camel’s nose under the tent…

  4. Josh G. says:

    The real brilliance of the Ryan budget is that it specifically exempts anyone who is likely to be a Republican voter from Medicare cuts. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was research showing that GOP identification increases sharply after the age of 55.

    But that plan won’t actually work, for the reasons discussed by John Quiggin here. Why would younger Americans continue, for decades, to pay taxes for benefits that they will never receive, in order to benefit the very same people who decided to cut them off?
    Even if the politics weren’t so bad, the economics wouldn’t work: Medicare can pay lower rates than private insurers because it has such a large pool and consequently great market power. Once the number of grandfathered Medicare patients shrinks substantially, more and more doctors will stop taking it.

    • rea says:

      that plan won’t actually work

      That’s a feature, not a bug–to a Republican, government plans are not supposed to work.

      • mark f says:

        Exactly. And then they can point to them and say that every reckless, designed-to-fail governmental program that fails only proves that all governmental programs are destined to failure, not due to recklessness or having been designed for that purpose, but because they’re governmenty.

    • NonyNony says:

      the economics wouldn’t work

      Ding! This is the giant hole in the entire plan. It shows a severe lack of understanding about how Medicare and insurance and our US Healthcare industry actually operate. I don’t even mean that it shows a lack of deep understanding – like these are nuances that only experts who have dedicated themselves to decades of analysis of the industry can spot. I mean that it shows a lack of shallow thought about how the economics of the industry actually work.

      This is actually reflective of what I think of Paul Ryan in a nutshell. His ideas are like the ideas that a college freshman who has just taken his first Econ course and who has little life experience thinks are amazing. And that freshman can’t understand why nobody else has the same deep insights that he does. Except that eventually that freshman gets a job and learns the hard way that his ideas about “how the world works” are completely wrong.

      Paul Ryan has never had to graduate college, find a job, and deal with the system on its own terms. He’s never had to examine his “awesome ideas” and see how they comport with reality or think through the consequences. He’s 42 years old and he spouts bullshit that I figured out wouldn’t work after I started at my first job and had to deal with my own healthcare and pensions and other crap for the first time. It’s like he gets to live in Neverneverland and never grow up.

      • Halloween Jack says:

        His ideas are like the ideas that a college freshman who has just taken his first Econ course and who has little life experience thinks are amazing.

        As has been pointed out by others, Ryan comes from a town where his family is prominent and well-off, went to college partially on the Social Security survivor benefits he got when his dad died, and even now gets a substantial tax break from his house being in a national historic district, in addition to having worked for the government (or for the ex-politicians at FreedomWorks) for most of his adult life. This, of course, leads him to believe that libertarianism is the way to go.

      • Jamie says:

        His ideas are like the ideas that a college freshman who has just taken his first Econ course toke.

        FTFY.

    • somethingblue says:

      … the economics wouldn’t work …

      And when was that ever a bar to Republicans enacting anything?

      • R Johnston says:

        Hell, when was that ever not considered by Republicans as the primary incentive to enact legislation? We’re talking about the party dedicated to demonstrating that government doesn’t work.

    • Sherm says:

      And I have yet to hear a discussion on the impact on insurance premiums for younger people. If the elderly are forced to buy private insurance, won’t there be a concomitant increase in premiums to compensate for the increased pay-outs made by the private companies as a result of their having to insure the elderly? Maybe I’m missing something here, but doesn’t medicare eliminate the elderly from the risk pool upon which current premiums are based?

      • NonyNony says:

        You’re not missing anything. If insurance companies are mandated to pick up elderly customers regardless of pre-existing conditions and are mandated to keep costs at a fixed reasonable level for those elderly customers, then yeah – the companies will eventually be forced to raise rates on their younger, healthier customers as well. Or they might do it immediately to preserve profits rather than wait for their profits to become a slow trickle.

        If there’s no requirement that insurance companies cover people and you’re just handed a voucher and told “good luck with the free market” then costs don’t need to rise. Lots of people won’t get coverage, but the costs won’t go up.

        • Sherm says:

          Yeah, that was my impression, and I was just wondering if there were details to which I am not privy because I have yet to hear any discussion on the impact of privatization on insurance premiums. I doubt that the carriers are dying for the opportunity to insure the people who actually seek medical treatment.

    • TN says:

      It will work, in the sense that it will keep senior citizens voting for Republicans, as opposed to being furious that the GOP has taken away their Medicare and voting for Democrats as a result. I don’t think there’s any other sense in which it’s intended to “work.”

    • Joshua says:

      Another point: don’t most people over the age of 55 have, you know, some kids?

      Now, that’s not to say that people of my generation haven’t consistently supported policies which pulled up the ladder behind them (college funding, outsourcing, supply-side economics, etc.), but man, are they really going to sit around and say “yes, I will support a plan to ensure my working age son/daughter will pay for my benefits while they don’t receive a damn thing when they are my age. Sounds lovely.”

      I talk to people my age and few think they are going to get a Social Security check – they have bought into the propaganda complete. It’s sad, because it’s such an obvious fraud. Maybe that’s part of it – people today are already paying taxes for benefits they don’t expect to receive. Why not make it really official?

  5. Dave says:

    Not that he hasn’t or won’t contradict himself, but Rick Perry said he thinks states should be able to decide how they want to handle guns.

    Again, I don’t think he truly believes in federalism. But I thought it was interesting that he would go there on the issue of guns. I actually don’t know why he would, other than he must have just walked past a copy of the bill of rights and the 10th Amendment caught his eye. Or maybe Republicans care about federalism or not based on which side of the bed they wake up on.

    • somethingblue says:

      Or maybe Republicans care about federalism or not based on which side of the bed they Charles and David Koch wake up on

      .

      FTFY

    • David Hunt says:

      Again, I don’t think he truly believes in federalism. But I thought it was interesting that he would go there on the issue of guns.

      Given that it’s my understanding that the shooter in College Station, TX was white, I’ve got nothing.

    • NonyNony says:

      Not that he hasn’t or won’t contradict himself, but Rick Perry said he thinks states should be able to decide how they want to handle guns.

      I don’t think so, actually. That quote indicates that Rick Perry, when caught in a difficult policy question, immediately and reflexively falls back into “STATES RIGHTS” mode without realizing that this is one of the exceptional cases where STATES RIGHTS is not actually the Politburo approved message for his Party.

      Look at the context around that quote. It’s not a call to turn the gun issue into one of State’s Rights, it’s one where he’s holding up the talisman of State’s Rights to hold back the Washington DC politicians the way Van Helsing holds up a cross.

  6. wengler says:

    4) Fiscal conservative means robbing from the poor to feed the rich.

  7. When John Kerry switched his vote on a bill over the issue of the deficit – supporting a deficit-neutral version, but opposing an amended version that wasn’t paid for – the Republicans literally treated it as a joke.

    Haw haw, he was for it before he was against it, haw haw.

    That’s how much conservatives and Republicans care about the deficit. They literally – literally literally, not Jonah Goldberg literally – treat actual concern about the deficit as a joke.

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