April 11, 2011
On the Ryan Plan

The Ryan Plan for deficit reduction reminds me of a joke that was hot a few months ago: A CEO, a tea partier and a union guy were at a luncheon together (however improbably!). After lunch the waiter brings a tray of 12 cookies to the table as dessert. The CEO reaches over and takes 11 of the 12 cookies for himself. He then looks at the tea party guy and says, “be careful: that union guy is trying to take your cookie.”  

Any plan that exempts the people who are actually going to use Medicare for the next 20+ years from any responsibility of trying to solve Medicare’s problems, and any plan that offers yet more tax breaks to the rich in service of the failed doctrine of supply side economics is simply not serious.

Here’s the bottom line: we are all going to have to pay more and get less to solve our budget woes. We’ll pay more in taxes and/or services, and we’ll have less access to cutting edge but medically unproven tests and treatments. That’s the deal. Any plan that fails to acknowledge this reality, whether from the left or the right, is neither courageous nor serious. It’s pandering to the base—which is the cause of what got us into this mess in the first place.