Pat Toomey’s Budget is Somehow More Extreme Than Paul Ryan’s Medicare Repeal Budget

Pat Toomey’s budget went down in the Senate, but it’s worth pointing out that it was even more nutty than Paul Ryan’s Medicare repeal plan. CBPP gave it a brutal review yesterday, so head over there for the gory details. The thing I think reporters have failed to get across is how much of a fraud this guy is. Toomey sure talks a lot about the deficit, but the man doesn’t have any credibility on the issue. Just look at the projections his plan is based on. It’s a bunch of goofy supply-sider mythology:

Achieves no actual deficit reduction from revenues. The plan assumes that its proposed “tax changes will be revenue neutral when scored statically…” compared to the revenues that the federal government would collect under current policies (that is, if all expiring tax cuts, including President Bush’s tax cuts that benefit high-income taxpayers, are made permanent). But Senator Toomey claims that eliminating loopholes, collapsing the current personal income tax rate structure into three brackets with lower rates, and cutting the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent “will generate strong economic growth, which will in turn yield surging tax revenues.” Based on this rosy economic scenario, which is more optimistic than the CBO projections that the Ryan plan employed, and on seemingly fanciful estimates of the taxes that the government will collect relative to the assumed size of the economy,[2] the Toomey plan claims revenues will be $1.4 trillion higher over ten years than what the Ryan plan assumes with similar tax policies.

Senator Toomey mistakenly claims that the economic assumptions behind his budget are less optimistic than those of the Ryan plan. But, while Chairman Ryan asserts that his tax plan would boost economic growth, the revenues (and spending, deficits, and debt) shown in his plan are based on CBO’s baseline economic projections — not on the more optimistic economic path he believes would result from his plan’s enactment.

I’m not saying journalists have to be as mean as I am about it, but this is the sort of thing you can look up. Where’s Toomey getting that extra $1.4 trillion in revenue from? That would be a very good topic for a news story in which you talk to economists and figure out whether he’s right. Journalists have much more time to look up things like this than their readers do.

A Very Serious Plan

I think this illustrates pretty persuasively how absurd the Republican position on the deficit is, that all tax increases are off the table. Obviously there is room to collect a lot more revenue without doing damage to economic growth, especially if this involves ending tax expenditures that stifle growth, like the exemption for employer-provided health insurance and the mortgage interest tax deduction.

Instead, Charlie Dent and Paul Ryan want to make the deficit bigger with a huge new tax cut for high earners:

It’s hard to understand how anyone could take the view that this proposal is “serious.” It increases the public debt over the next 10 years, and then pinky swears that some future Congress will end Medicare.

CEPR: RyanCare is a $36 Trillion Tax on Seniors

Hoo boy! Charlie Dent will be lucky to get any senior votes in 2012:

A new report by economists at the liberal Center for Economic and Policy Research looks at House Republicans’ plan for privatizing Medicare from a new angle, and finds that it could increase health care costs for beneficiaries by a staggering $34 trillion over 75 years.

You won’t find these expenditures on the government ledger. They represent the amount of money Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay out of pocket if they wanted to buy insurance policies that provide Medicare-equivalent benefits.

Of course, despite Republican claims to the contrary, this will absolutely destabilize benefits for today’s seniors.

How Charlie Dent’s Medicare Phaseout Increases Health Care Costs

James Kwak explains why the Medicare plan Charlie Dent supports merely shifts costs from the government’s balance sheet to individuals without doing anything to control the actual rise in prices:

Here’s how to read that chart. In 2030, under current law, a 65-year-old Medicare beneficiary’s health care will cost $60. (Obviously, this is using an index, not real dollars.) Medicare will pay $35 and the beneficiary will pay $25 in Part B premiums and cost sharing. Under the CBO’s more likely “alternative fiscal scenario,” her health care will cost $71, of which Medicare will pay $41. Under the Ryan plan, the same health care purchased in the private market will cost $100; “Medicare” will give her a $32 voucher, and she’ll pay the last $68 on her own.

The bottom line is that the Ryan Plan increases beneficiary costs more than it reduces government costs. In a weird sense, it’s a bizarrely pro-government plan: it helps the government’s bottom line at the expense of ordinary people.

Paul Ryan Gives Away the Game on the Debt Ceiling

Paul Ryan assumes we will raise the debt ceiling:

This has gotten little attention, but Senate Dems points out that on pages five and six of Ryan’s proposal, the plan lays out its version of what constitutes “appropriate levels of the public debt” over the next ten years. It says that in fiscal year 2012, the appropriate debt limit would be $16.2 trillion — nearly two trillion higher than it is now. In 2020, according to Ryan’s proposal, the proper debt limit would be $23.1 trillion — nearly $9 trillion higher than the present.

The Los Angeles Times noted the provision in a little-noticed blog post late Friday after the Ryan bill passed the House, asking: “Do House Republicans realize they just endorsed a higher debt limit?”

This just underscores the point that the appropriate amount of concessions for Democrats to accept in exchange for raising the debt ceiling is zero.

Barack Obama says we need to raise the debt ceiling. John Boehner says we need to raise the debt ceiling. Paul Ryan says we need to raise it and so does Pat Toomey. Everyone agrees, so it doesn’t make any sense for anyone to be talking about concessions. Concessions for what?

RyanCare and the "Jamming It Down Our Throats" Talking Point

Via Colby Itkowitz, a very good point from a Lou Barletta townhall attendee:

At the start of his townhall meeting — in a county that is predominantly Republican-leaning — Barletta welcomed people to use the conversation to get things off their chests. While he was going through a slide projector presentation about the Medicare changes proposed by House Republican Paul Ryan, a woman raised her hand.

“Excuse me, I’d like to get something off my chest,” she said, standing. “You seem to think that because I’m not effected I won’t care if my niece, my grandson, my child is affected. I do care. What you’re doing with this Ryan budget is you’re taking Medicare and changing it from a guaranteed health care system to one that is a voucher system where you throw seniors on the mercy of for profit insurance companies…”

“You said nothing in the campaign about I’m going to change Medicare, now you voted for a plan that will destroy Medicare,” Linda Christman, 64, said.

Despite the grotesque and oft-repeated conservative claim that the Affordable Care Act was “jammed down our throats” the basic elements of the law are all well-established policy ideas that have been refined and kicked around for decades both in Washington and in the states. The ACA has exactly the same mandate+subsidies+exchanges structure as RomneyCare and the Republican alternative to HillaryCare.

Nevertheless, the bill was “debated” for over a year and a half, with all the minutiae of the various committee deliberations reported ’round the clock with breathless urgency.

So the claim that the ACA contains half-baked ideas that were not debated for long enough was always bullshit.

On the other hand, Republicans really do want to jam RyanCare down our throats. The budget rollout was literally the first time we’ve ever heard of this plan. It’s different from the health care plans Ryan put forward in the Roadmap and Ryan-Rivlin.

Most Republican candidates (including Charlie Dent) never took a position on either of Ryan’s previous plans, and they certainly didn’t campaign on a plan to phase out Medicare. Most of them (again, including Charlie Dent) campaigned with great success against the Democrats’ cuts to Medicare in the Affordable Care Act.

Listening to Republican candidates during the election season, you’d never have known anything like RyanCare was in the offing. And yet all but four House Republicans just voted to end Medicare.

The Stupidity of the Debt Ceiling Fight

“The House Republican budget adds $6 trillion to the debt in the next decade yet the GOP is balking at raising the debt limit.”

That is all.