Archives For Ryan

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I try to follow my hero’s advice and like everyone but this is one of those times that proves difficult to do that.  Balancing the budget on the backs of the poor is a very spiteful way to even try to accomplish that task.

 

Shall We Celebrate the 1%?

November 3, 2013

MoneyIt continues to amaze me that there are Christians –both preachers and politicians- who seem to be much more interested in defending the honor and the interests of the very wealthy than they are to lending support to the less advantaged ones among us. Their priorities are the opposite of those reflected in scripture (James 2:1-7; 5:1-5). They will speak up for low taxes on the rich but not defend livable wages for the working poor. They will call for deregulation on businesses but not stand up for better consumer or environmental protections. They sound much more like the devotees of Ayn Rand than disciples of Jesus Christ.

SOURCE:  Craig M. Watts: Shall We Celebrate the 1%? | Red Letter Christians.

The Ayn Rand worship by many including of course Rep. Ryan who says he is Catholic greatly confuses me. Ayn Rand was an in-your-face atheist who proclaimed empathy to be one of the biggest detriments to mankind. Isn’t Jesus Christ the absolute bedrock of empathy?  How do those who call themselves conservative Christians reconcile those facts? I just don’t know….

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Source: Paul Ryan’s new Medicare plan could be tip of the iceberg (+video) – CSMonitor.com.

A parallel factor is rising income. As a society grows richer, it tends to spend more of its income on health care. Add in demographics (an aging population) and a lack of competition among health-care providers in many markets, and you have a recipe for more people to consume more health-care services at higher prices.

For once I am not going to comment on Mr. Ryan’s seemingly enthusiasm to balance his budget on the backs of the poor while asking for increases in our bloated military budgets and more tax breaks for the rich. That continues to be insane to me but is not the focus of this particular post.  Instead this post is about fixing Medicare and Medicaid. The quote above is at the end of this news article but says much about how some view the problem of spending our healthcare dollars.

The quoted argument seems to say that we choose to go to doctors because we can.  I don’t know about you but I don’t sit down in the morning and try to decide whether I will go to the mall, the park, or to the doctor that day.  I go to the doctor when I am sick or have what I think might be a serious medical problem. I don’t use doctors as a form of entertainment! Yeah, I know about the hypochondriacs out there but I hope they are a very small group.

Of course the quote also deems that the lack of competition is the cause for increasing prices for healthcare.  We just don’t have enough McDoctors and McHospitals around yet I guess.  Maybe I am naive about all of this but I kind of  believe that competition is more of a cause than a solution.  When Hospital “A” gets the latest multi-million dollar piece of medical equipment then Hospital “B” has to get it too so they can compete.  It doesn’t matter that one machine could provide all the tests needed by the community. It doesn’t matter that hospitals will use the machines where they really aren’t necessary because they have them.

If we really want to get our healthcare costs down we need to do what the rest of the world already knows and that is a single payer regulated system.  We spend more than twice as much as everyone else and actually live shorter and less healthy lives. It continues to amaze me how we in the U.S. fail to understand this very basic approach to healthcare.

The Republican Budget….

March 15, 2013

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Source: Will Fractured House Republicans Unite on Budget? – ABC News.

“When you’re looking at a budget, you’ve got a watch the gimmicks,” Ryan warned.

Gimmicks indeed.  One of the tools Mr. Ryan proposes to balance his so-called budget plan is the total repeal of Obamacare.  Is he the only one to see that as impossible?   As usual he wants severe cuts to the safety net while actually increasing military spending.  Yes, Mr. Ryan I am “watching the gimmicks”.  Like the battles for Social Security eighty years ago the battle for even a limited version of universal healthcare were hard fought. Does he really think we will simply eliminate them so the rich can get a few more tax cuts?

If you are really serious about your concern for deficit spending you can’t ignore the place where most of our discretionary money goes and that is to the military black hole.  Gimmicks Indeed…..

In order to balance his budget he assumes that unemployment levels will reach historic all time lows in the coming years.  He assumes that seniors will blindly accept the pennies on the dollar vouchers in place of universal healthcare. Gimmicks Indeed…

I realize that these budgets are purely political documents so gimmicks are the primary tool to make them balance. That doesn’t bother me too much.  What bothers me is the seemingly heartless approach that Mr. Ryan takes toward balancing his budget proposals. But then again he is just being true to his idol Ayn Rand in that regard.

Who Can I Trust?????????????

November 5, 2012

Here we are on the eve of election day and I am strangely somewhat calm. I have confidence that the people of this country will put the good of the country above partisan gain. To me it comes down equally between “who can I trust” and “who will promote the common good“. I, like many of us, have been watching Mr. Romney for months now and the thing that bothers me the most is how he has flipped on issue after issue. Continue Reading…

via Fact-checkers find exaggerations in Obama, Biden conventions speeches | Fox News.

President Obama and Vice President Biden made statements in their convention speeches about unemployment, Medicare and other issues that fact-checkers say appear inaccurate or at least misleading.

Among the questionable remarks were Biden’s argument that “after the worst job loss since the Great Depression we created 4.5 million private sector jobs in the past 29 months” … The Associated Press and others point out that statement is misleading because it counts jobs from the recession’s lowest point  to where employment began to grow again – excluding jobs lost earlier in Obama’s term and masking that overall unemployment has increased over that period….
The Associated Press also points out that Obama said in his speech that he wants to use money saved by ending the wars to build highways, schools and bridges.  However, the wars were largely financed by borrowing “so there is no ready pile of cash to be diverted to anything else,” the wire service writes….

Other examples include the president saying U.S. auto makers are back on top of the world.  “Nope,” writes FactCheck, pointing out that General Motors has slipped back to No. 2 and is headed for third place in global sales this year behind Toyota and Volkswagen.

As promised I am giving you  the fact-checkers report for the DNC candidates.  Please note that this report comes from Fox News.  Unlike the fact-check last week that noted there were some out-right lies in Mr. Ryan’s speech most found by Fox news were at best exaggerations. I guess you could call the first one a deliberate manipulation.  I will let these words stand on their own. I just wanted to give a final quote from this article about Mr. Ryan’s speech last week.

However, the group said Ryan, in his acceptance speeches, made “false claims” or gave “misleading statements” at least five times – among them were that president’s health care law funnels money away from Medicare “at the expense of the elderly.” FactCheck pointed out Medicare’s chief actuary says the law “substantially improves” the system’s finances and that Ryan has embraced the same savings.

As President Clinton said in his speech last week, just look at the arithmetic when comparing the two conventions.

But what do I know…..

I have spent the better part of a week looking at the new vice presidential candidate for the GOP. Up until now I was not familiar with him other than superficially. This will be the last post in this area so I am going to try to summarize what I have learned about the man.

  • Paul Ryan is definitely a passionate person who is true to his principles  taught to him by his heroes in life such as Ayn Rand who says money is the source of all good and altruism is stupid. I’m also sure he thinks each one of his ideas is somehow for the greater good of the country.
  • As shown by his recent convention speech he is a very articulate person to much the same degree as Barak Obama but at the exact opposite end of the political spectrum.
  • He adamantly supported the stimulus packages of President Bush in both 2002 and 2008 but when a Democratic president was just continuing the same it somehow became totally wrong to him.  Everything he supported during the Bush years are now somehow unacceptable.  That seems highly partisan to me and that is not something I want to continue seeing in our elected leaders in the coming years.
  • His budget proposal that he claims is compassionate is totally rejected by his faith leaders in the Catholic church as very uncaring for the least among us.
  • 62% of his proposed budget cuts for 2012 comes from cuts to the country’s safety net. This is hard to take especially when at the same time he is proposing big additional increases in our already very blotted military spending. Since we spend about forty times more than any other country on our war machine he seems to be a hawk to the nth degree.
  • He plays politics with the best of them. He gets people from the other party on board by promising things that he then leaves them out of his proposed bill when it is submitted. He then wonders why the colleagues who he betrayed object to his calling his bill bipartisan. These types of actions show he can’t be trusted to keep his word.
  • His original proposal for “fixing” Medicare was to give seniors a limited voucher to buy private insurance. If the private carrier even agreed to offer them insurance they would end up paying thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for less coverage than their current Medicare plan. Because of the huge backlash he modified his plan somewhat but given his propensity to got back on his word I think we have to assume that the first option if it could be passed is his preference.
  • He is a favorite of the radical fringe Tea Party. This alone says much about his spirit of compassion and compromise.
  • But maybe worst of all is that he seems to enthusiastically want to toss aside the people at the lower end of our society in order for the upper echelons to prosper even more.  Ayn Rand, who is his hero taught him well in that area.
  • Finally, I’m sure Mr. Ryan is a good family man who loves his wife and children but he seems to lack even a basic empathy for so many others.

At the end of this week-long investigation I still don’t understand why my clergy friend from the past reveres him so.  On the surface Mr. Ryan seems like a nice guy but when you look at his other face he has a very narrow and seemingly dark view of life.

There are three qualities I believe must be used to judge a person’s character. One is his spiritual side; does he have a moral compass? The second is who are his heroes in life are and the third is whether he is true to his word; in other words can he be trusted? Even from this cursory study of Mr. Ryan I don’t see a lot about him in any of these three categories that entices me to vote the GOP ticket this time around.

Source:  Catholic Leaders to Rep. Paul Ryan: Stop Distorting Church Teaching to Justify Immoral Budget | Faith in Public Life.

“If Rep. Ryan thinks a budget that takes food and healthcare away from millions of vulnerable people upholds Catholic values, then he also probably believes Jesus was a Tea Partier who lectured the poor to stop being so lazy and work harder,” said John Gehring, Catholic Outreach Coordinator at Faith in Public Life. “This budget turns centuries of Catholic social teaching on its head. These Catholic leaders and many Catholics in the pews are tired of faith being misused to bless an immoral agenda.”

The leaders wrote: “Simply put, this budget is morally indefensible and betrays Catholic principles of solidarity, just taxation and a commitment to the common good. A budget that turns its back on the hungry, the elderly and the sick while giving more tax breaks to the wealthiest few can’t be justified in Christian terms.”

This post is part of my ongoing search into just who Paul Ryan is. I want to understand why a very good clergy friend of mine endorses him so highly.

When I listen to his speeches his fervor reminds me of the Mr. Obama in 2008.  He seems passionate about what he believes. But that seems to be the rub; just what does he believe. This post will be primarily about his proposed budget for 2012. It seems to say more about the man than his words relay. He has stated several time that his budget reflects Catholic principles but the quotes here say something much to the contrary.

In a letter to the House of Representatives last month, Catholic bishops wrote that “a just framework for future budgets cannot rely on disproportionate cuts in essential services to poor persons; it requires shared sacrifice by all, including raising adequate revenues, eliminating unnecessary military and other spending, and addressing the long-term costs of health insurance and retirement programs fairly.” Bishops also called for repealing “cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” and asked Congress to consider the “human and moral dimensions” of budget choices. Rep. Ryan has ignored this vision. Instead, he proposes to dismantle Medicare as we know it, slash food assistance for struggling families and turn Medicaid into inadequate state block grants at a time when most states are struggling to pay their bills. The dramatic growth in military spending is untouched. Addressing our national debt is essential, but balancing budgets on the backs of the poor and working families is flawed public policy and morally bankrupt.

Mr. Ryan claims he is very spiritual but then goes against almost all of Catholic beliefs about taking care of the poor. I know that many, including myself, believe that taking care of “the least of these” is the church’s job but when it fails its duty the other people’s representatives, meaning our government, must take over that task. To simply allow those of us who have fallen on dire times to perish is not an option.

ON Monday I will wrap up this study of the GOP vice presidential candidate….

Source: FACT CHECK: Ryan Takes Factual Shortcuts in Speech – ABC News.

Laying out the first plans for his party’s presidential ticket, GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan took some factual shortcuts Wednesday night when he attacked President Barack Obama’s policies on Medicare, the economic stimulus and the budget deficit.

I must admit that Mr. Ryan really knows how to give a speech. He got the crowd worked up to a fever pitch last night. He is almost as good at it as Mr. Obama in that regard. I must also admit that the media sure does have creative ways for evaluating political rhetoric. I am just a simple guy but to me “factual shortcuts” sure do sound like just telling lies.  I am a wordsmith by nature. I look for just the right word to add to many of my posts but I try not to call things “untruths” or “factual shortcuts” when there is actually a more appropriate word readily available.  Here are some of the fact check discussions from this article.

RYAN: “And the biggest, coldest power play of all in Obamacare came at the expense of the elderly. … So they just took it all away from Medicare. Seven hundred and sixteen billion dollars, funneled out of Medicare by President Obama.”

THE FACTS: Ryan’s claim ignores the fact that Ryan himself incorporated the same cuts into budgets he steered through the House in the past two years as chairman of its Budget Committee, using the money for deficit reduction. And the cuts do not affect Medicare recipients directly, but rather reduce payments to hospitals, health insurance plans and other service providers.

In addition, Ryan’s own plan to remake Medicare would squeeze the program’s spending even more than the changes Obama made, shifting future retirees into a system in which they would get a fixed payment to shop for coverage among private insurance plans. Critics charge that would expose the elderly to more out-of-pocket costs.

So here is the VP candidate railing against what he is actually for with even more cuts! Being a wordsmith I look for just the right words to describe this and to me it is being two-faced which of course means deceitful or hypocritical. Pick whichever one you like; they  both apply here. If you can tolerate more go to the source article and see the other gross fabrications of the truth by Mr. Ryan.  The differences between reality and his speech are totally amazing to me.  I’m sure Mr. Ryan thinks he is only playing a game here by grossly distorting the facts but some of us think it is much more than that. It puts your integrity on the line.  I really hope he is a better and more truthful person than the rhetoric from his speech shows him to be….

But what do I know….

The Hawks….

August 30, 2012

Source: Paul Ryan weighs in on Middle East policy – First Read.

He continued: “In the past day, Iran’s president called our ally Israel, quote, a cancerous tumor that must be excised. Let me be really clear. Under President Romney, our adversaries will think twice about challenging America and our allies because we believe in peace through strength. There will be no daylight between America and our friends around the world. Strong national defense, peace through strength, strong relationship with our allies.” 

This post is part of my ongoing search into just who Paul Ryan is. I want to understand why a very good clergy friend of mine endorses him so highly.

The only thing that kept me from being very upset by this article is that I know that campaign rhetoric very very rarely becomes action upon holding an office. My hero Will Rogers had much to say about campaign rhetoric but I will save that for a future post.  Let’s face it the old adage that politicians will say absolutely anything to get elected is as true today as it ever was. I pray Mr. Ryan and Mr. Romney maintain that pattern. I certainly don’t want to hear their rhetoric turned into actions if they by some remote chance were to get elected :)

The words above sound like the mad military general from the movie Dr. Who just aching to get into a battle with anyone he could find. I hope there is some “daylight between America and it friends” when it comes to putting our children into a war zone. I know we consider Afghanistan our current friends and our sons and daughters continue to die there on a daily basis. When we were on the rampage against Iran after the hostage crisis we considered Hussein our friend and ally. Do we really want to use our overwhelming military might, and because we spend so much on it it is overwhelming, when any of our current allies feel dissed?

Mr. Obama has proved to be much more hawkish than I ever dreamed but to put Ryan/Romney there would make President Obama’s actions timid indeed.

But what do I know…