Political reality stands in way of Medicare, Social Security cuts

Ryan views tax cuts as a policy to spur economic growth — no matter what the state of the federal budget. An increase inside the deficit, which mainstream economists consider a certainty, is actually beside the point.

Rising debt, in fact, strengthens his zeal for his preferred deficit-reduction policy. in which policy is actually to reduce spending by shrinking the size along with scope of government in which Democratic political initiatives have built.

In particular, Ryan wants to curb spending on the giant “entitlement” programs of Social Security, Medicare along with Medicaid. “How you tackle the debt along with the deficit,” the speaker declared recently, is actually by “entitlement reform.”

Democratic presidents saw those programs as a means of preventing destitution along with medical calamity among senior citizens, the disabled along with the poor. More than any various other contemporary Republican leader, Ryan represents the philosophical tradition in which opposed their creation inside the first place.

After Franklin Roosevelt signed Social Security into law in 1935, his Republican opponent Alf Landon condemned the idea as “the largest tax bill in history,” a “cruel hoax” along with “a fraud on the workingman.” A generation later, the emerging conservative leader Ronald Reagan offered similar arguments in debates leading up to the establishment of Medicare along with Medicaid.

“One of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine,” Reagan argued in 1961. “the idea’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project.”

In office, Reagan along with various other Republican leaders resigned themselves to the permanence of Social Security along with Medicare, given their strong support among senior citizens, who vote in large numbers. Spending-cut efforts have usually centered elsewhere inside the budget, especially on more politically vulnerable programs serving the poor, including Medicaid.

however Ryan entered politics as a devotee of 20th-century author Ayn Rand, who opposed tax-along with-spend benefit programs as immoral confiscation in which sapped the power of capitalism. More aggressively than most, he has refused to accept the major entitlement programs in their current forms, insisting on spending curbs rather than tax increases as the path to solvency.

Thus the speaker has supported partial privatization of Social Security, conversion of Medicare to a “premium support” program for purchase of private insurance, along with per-beneficiary Medicaid limits in which would certainly reduce federal spending by hundreds of billions of dollars. In opposing the 2010 Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction report, which called for both tax hikes along with spending limits, he explained, “Increasing the government’s take through the economy hinders growth.”

however there’s huge political jeopardy for Republicans in moving to shrink government to fit the reduced tax revenues they’ve decided to generate. Evidence indicates in which, unlike Ryan, most Americans want government to do more, not less.

During last year’s presidential campaign, leaders of both parties vowed to assist average families left behind in an era of high corporate profits however slow-growing wages. Trump, pledging not to touch Social Security, Medicare along with Medicaid, galvanized “forgotten” blue-collar whites anxious about threats to their benefits.

Voters applauded those messages. In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in April, 57 percent of all Americans agreed in which government should do more to meet people’s needs, outpacing the 39 percent who said government is actually doing too much.

in which represented the strongest support for more government action inside the two decades in which the NBC/WSJ poll has asked in which question. Two-thirds of college-educated white women along with 59 percent of both independents along with non-college white women favored more government action.

All represent critical constituencies for embattled Republicans fighting to keep control of the House along with Senate next November. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, less ideologically driven than Ryan, has noticed.

Citing Democratic opposition to curbing entitlements, McConnell said last week: “I would certainly not expect to see in which on the agenda” in 2018.

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