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Why Democrats Don’t Have the “Courage” to Save Medicare

BIA Commentary and Opinion

Democrats and the pundit left have been busy the last couple of months parroting the line that Republican House Budget Committee Chairman  Paul Ryan doesn’t deserve any medals for putting pen to paper and coming up with a specific deficit reduction plan and introducing that plan as actual legislation.

Depending on what you read  you will find  characterization of Ryan or his plan as: “Profiles in Cowardice ,” “anything but courageous,” “it’s a joke and a bad one.”  NY Times pinup boy columnist Justin Bieber  Paul Krugman called the plan “ludicrous and cruel.”

The logic goes something along the lines that the plan is nothing but a republican fat cat wish list, and there is thus no political risk, let alone glory in a Republican feeding red meat to the base.

If that is the case however, one can only ask why no Democrat has had the gravitas (remember how much the left loved using that word during the 2000 presidential campaign),  to step forward with a comprehensive  plan for debt reduction or to save medicare “as we know it.”

Surely, according to leftist logic, it would not take any courage at all for the Democrats to tell us how much we need to tax the wealthy in order to save Grandma from the evil Republicans.   In fact the polls apparently are telling us that a Large Majority Of Americans, Including Most Republicans, Support Raising Taxes On The Wealthy.

Gee whiz, maybe there will be enough money left over to also save the kittens and puppies from those mean Republicans.

So where is that Democratic plan to reduce the debt load?  Where is the plan to save Medicare?

Back in March Democratic Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky from Illinois introduced legislation, supported by Nancy Pelosi, to raise taxes on the wealthy.   Anyone making over $1 million would see their rates raised to 45% and anyone making a$1 billion or more would see a rate of 49%.  According to an article on Huffington Post “Schakowski had been insisting that there are more  progressive ways to reduce the country’s $13.7 trillion debt.”

Boy that was easy…problem solved.  Not only are those Republicans “cruel,” they’re dumb.  Most Republicans themselves “support” taxing the wealthy and yet they couldn’t come up with this plan.

Just one problem: Schakowski’s bill would only raise $78.9 billion in its first year, which is about 7% of the $1.1 trillion projected deficit of the Obama Budget for Fiscal Year 2012.

Thus exposes the dirty little secret that explains why no Democrat has taken the “not so courageous” step of getting specific in terms of what level of taxes would be required to take on the debt problem: “The mathematical reality is that in the absence of entitlement reform on the Paul Ryan model, Washington will need to soak the middle class-because that’s where the big money is.”

In fact according the Wall Street Journal editorial linked above “in 2008, there was about $5.65 trillion in total taxable income from all individual taxpayers, and most of that came from middle income earners.”

More recently Nancy Pelosi stated that the Democratic plan is “Medicare.”  I am not quite sure what that means.  I don’t think even she knows what she means, but I hope she figures it out quickly as the latest Trustees Report on Social Security and Medicare projects that Medicare will be insolvent by 2024 just thirteen years from now and five years earlier than last years projection.

Come to think of it, maybe that is the plan.

Shhh!  Be sure not to tell that to Grandma.

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