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Rep. Paul Ryan
Rep. Paul Ryan's real plan: Seniors living in poverty (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
It's hard to read much of Rep. Paul Ryan's work, specifically commentary like this, and not conclude that he's sociopath.

In this commentary, Ryan goes back to the CBO study on income inequality and finds this to be horrified by:

Government transfers and federal taxes both help to even out the income distribution. Transfers boost income the most for lower-income households, while taxes claim a larger share of income as people's income rises.

In 2007, federal taxes and transfers reduced the dispersion of income by 20 percent, but that equalizing effect was larger in 1979. The share of transfer payments to the lowest-income households declined.

Here's how Ryan interprets that (a hint: he thinks it's a bad thing):
One underreported conclusion from the CBO study is that shifts in government transfer payments have contributed to increasing inequality over time. Government transfer payments remain progressive, of course, but the equalizing effect of transfers and taxes on household income was smaller in 2007 than it was in 1979.

This is mainly because the distribution of government transfers has moved away from lower-income households. For instance, in 1979, households in the lowest income quintile received 54 percent of all transfer payments. In 2007, those households received just 36 percent of transfers.

(Continue reading below the fold)

Could it be, Rep. Ryan, that transfer payments like Social Security in particular are shifting away from lower-income households because there aren't as many lower income households? Because it works the way the CBO says, and "transfers boost income the most for lower-income households"? For example, here's this from the National Bureau of Economic Research on elderly poverty. Check out what's happened to the poverty rate among the elderly since 1979. The poverty is the darker line. The one that keeps falling as the other line, Social Security expenditures, rises.

elderly poverty
Ryan is using the shocking finding that the lowest quintile is receiving less in transfer payments (the lowest quintile being the lowest 20 percent of the population) to argue that the remaining 80 percent should be subject to means testing. He says, "There is something wrong with our government transfer programs if they are increasingly steering assistance to the wealthy."
This shift reflects a growth in programs that focus on the elderly population and are not for the most part income-adjusted, such as Social Security and Medicare. In other words, the structure of some of our largest entitlement programs has decreased the share of government transfer payments going to lower-income households and increased the share going to wealthier seniors.
In Ryan's world 80 percent of seniors are wealthy. That will be news to probably 75 percent of seniors. And they got that way because Social Security and Medicare have helped them out of poverty. So Social Security and Medicare have to be adjusted so that more seniors are forced into poverty. That, Ryan says, is "promoting the natural rights and the inherent dignity of the individual."

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 12:34 PM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders, Daily Kos, and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is definitely news to me... (23+ / 0-)

    ...and I'm a senior based on the AARP definition. Anyone who would make such an idiotic comment should not hold any office anywhere, any place.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Gandhi

    by alaprst on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 12:52:19 PM PST

    •  Every senior in his district needs a copy of this. (0+ / 0-)

      They say there are strangers who threaten us, ... That those who know what's best for us | Must rise and save us from ourselves. "Witch Hunt" - Neil Ellwood Peart, Canadian lyricist with the band "RUSH".

      by Hualapai on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:55:31 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This guy should give up some Health Club gym time, (9+ / 0-)

    and spend some time exercising his brain muscles.  What an idiot politician.

    “The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.” — Marcus Aurelius

    by LamontCranston on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 01:05:07 PM PST

  •  Ryan is a jackass who makes inane comments (19+ / 0-)

    What he's preaching is the same old gospel that the Middle class can't willingly pay taxes so that they can have entitlements when it's time. Joan McCarter states the case exceptionally well.

    Not every recipient of Social Security is needy.So what. My wife and I won't be when we eventually collect from SSA on the fruit of 40 years+ of hard work and weekly contributions to SSA for old age and other coverage. That was FDR's concept, a safety net for the need iest and a floor of income to help maintain every family's standing in human society.

    To require people to demonstrate need for Social Security encourages them to think of SS as a benefit for someone else - and something they can just as well do without or reduce. It doesn't work that way.

    But Ryan's real problem is that by citing his fake statistics, he overlooks the real problem, his psychotic attitude toward the genuinely needy. We don't need to help them by tearing down the Social Safety net for those a bit more fortunate.

    We need to raise our standards for those who are the most needy. To do that means that we ought to tax those with the worst of all entitlements, those with inherited wealth as is the case with Paul Ryan and his entire family.

    •  Paul Ryan, paraphrased: (16+ / 0-)

      "I got mine, so %$#* you."

      Paul Ryan's dad died when he was 16.
      Paul Ryan received Social Security Survivor Benefits til he was 18.

      •  And until 1981 (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies, Back In Blue, ZedMont, jfromga, rja

        full time college students could get SSS Benefits to age 21.  It got changed in the early days of the screw the middle class program of the past 30+ years.

        Ryan and his other young guns have grown up with all the benefits they want to cut - they have no clue what it was like before.  

        •  My Dad died when I was 19 (8+ / 0-)

          I received civil service benefits (he worked for the government) until I was 22 which went a long way towards helping me afford college.  Now, my two kids, who's dad died when they were little, get kicked off Social Security (that both my dad and my husband paid into but never collected) at age 18.  Just when they are ready to go to college of course, when they really need the money the most.  Of course, if I had listened to Social Security all these years I would have put it all away into a savings account for them when they turned 18.  The only small problem with that would have been just one thing; 40% of our living expenses for the past 10 years.  I guess it would be more important for us to put the money in the bank while we lived on less than half the salary we had before he died.  That would be assuming that I would have been able to afford daycare while I still worked.  Well... You get the picture.

          Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul in this world--and never will. Mark Twain

          by whoknu on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:47:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I think it was 1984 (0+ / 0-)

          that college was cut out from SS benefits.  The new rules were put in the last of 1983.

          Ryan probably would not be where he is if not for Social Security.  I suppose Social Security helps the unethical along with the ethical.

      •  I would also bet (0+ / 0-)

        his college was paid for by the gov't, because in those days if your parent was deceased, you kept receiving SSA during your college years.

    •  Great information I did not know about him (0+ / 0-)

      Thank you for your insight.  I think you've hit on some important points.

      How is it that Mr. Ryan missed that UNLIKE the Great Depression, seniors as a group have suffered LESS during this Great Recession ONLY BECAUSE OF SOCIAL SECURITY.

      It really upsets me that he doesn't get it.  I'm not a senior and I've seen many dear friends who I can only say haven't suffered as much as they would have during the Great Depression.  However, they have suffered and been stretched to the breaking point or past the breaking point by their selflessness.  Many have picked up the slack as much as they could as they watched those around them hit rough times.  

      They say there are strangers who threaten us, ... That those who know what's best for us | Must rise and save us from ourselves. "Witch Hunt" - Neil Ellwood Peart, Canadian lyricist with the band "RUSH".

      by Hualapai on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 08:13:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Rob Zerban Could oust Paul Ryan. Support him. (18+ / 0-)

    Zerban is a good candidate and he's given a pretty good chance of sending Paul Ryan back to suck on that silver spoon his was born with in his mouth.

    It would give Ryan a lot more chance to read Ann Rand (deliberate sic) and concoct more nutty ideas for the annual Ryan family profit split of great-great-granddad's inheritance.

    Zerban's site gives him pitch..

    --I decided to run for Congress because Paul Ryan's plan to destroy Social Security and Medicare is the wrong path for our nation.

    --Republicans are punishing working families during this recession. Congress needs a new direction and a new plan. I created two successful small businesses and over 45 jobs, so I know what it takes to get this economy moving again. I wrote responsible budgets for my business that didn't leave my employees behind, and I know I can do a better job.

    Contribute and help kick this A--hole out.

  •  Ryan, economic icon of the Repubs who ... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    whaddaya, TofG, HappyinNM, jfromga

    must need a 5th grader to help him balance his checkbook.

    Ryan is my favorite M&M (mindless moron) among the Repubs on all things economic.

    A reasonably good looking man who wears a nice suit, but can only utter inanities and call them facts.

    Yep, kinda like the typical Republi-con artist.

    *Austerity is the opposite of Prosperity*

    by josmndsn on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 01:37:17 PM PST

  •  When FDR set up Social Security (22+ / 0-)

    he deliberately avoided means testing, because he knew in that case Social Security would become a politically unpopular welfare program, and wouldn't last past the return to prosperity.

    Republicans know this, so they try to make Social Security a means tested 'welfare' program, in the hope that FDRs concerns about means testing are real. As long as Social Security is an entitlement for spending a life gainfully employed, it will be popular and enduring, continuing to keep FDRs promiss to ensure elder citizens do not live their final years, and die, in poverty.

    Republicans attacks are two fold: first, make 'entitlement' a dirty word, second, make 'entitlements' means tested. Anything any Republican says that includes 'means testing' is simply an attempt to get the program on that slippery slope that leads to trashing one of FDRs most successful programs, a program conservatives have hated since its inception.

    "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

    by Orinoco on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 02:12:01 PM PST

    •  That's the hall-of-mirrors reality (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Ryan is right that we spend too much on benefits to people who don't need them, including a lot of elderly people.  But that's because Democrats had to design benefit programs that way....largely because of the existence of Republicans.  If Republicanism disappeared as an ideology, we'd have a big margin to stop throwing public money at people who don't need it, just to keep them out of the arms of Republicanism.

      But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

      by Rich in PA on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:07:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We do spend too much on benefits to people (5+ / 0-)

        who don't need them. Too bad a lot of them are artificially constructed persons, aka corporations. We spend vastly more on tax expenditures and breaks, all of them supported by the right wing, including Ryan, than we do on regular people, after social security and medicare taxes are subtracted from the spending on those programs.

        Furthermore, a really big benefit, the extra special 15% capital gains and dividends tax rate, is one mainly enjoyed by the top 1%. Ryan wants to cut that even further, to zero.  He would rather tax work than wealth.

        Trickle Down Economics 101: They get the golden parachute, we get the golden shower.

        by NoMoreLies on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:45:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think this is the case, Rich (0+ / 0-)

        People who pay into a retirement program deserve to get something out of that program. Social Security is not welfare, and shouldn't be turned into a welfare like program.

        If you had a nice healthy pension from a private firm, and a tiny pension from some money you put away on the side, would you be Ok with losing that tiny pension because you didn't 'need' it?

        We don't means test highways, why should we means test any other government benefit?  Should we withhold unemployment compensation until the unemployed are dirt poor and living in the street? They don't 'need' the money if they still have savings, do they?

        Entitlements are things people have earned. Benefits are part of the common welfare, offered to people who qualify. If we decide everyone should get a flower on Friday, then everyone should get one, not just people without yards to grow their own.  

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 05:02:04 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Depends how you conceive of benefits (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I prefer to see them as insurance, something to draw on if you have to.

          And sure, I'd means-test unemployment insurance if I could.  It's just too cumbersome to do.

          But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

          by Rich in PA on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 05:21:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Some benefits have an insurance like nature (0+ / 0-)

            Police Departments come to mind. No one wants to have to call the police, but everyone is glad they are there just in case. Fire Departments, same story.

            But what is the insurance like nature of public schools, roads, or libraries? They are just there for citizens to use. Likewise benefits like Social Security, miltiary retirement benefits, Medicare. You qualify, you get the bennies, you've earned them. You have a contract with the Federal Government: you pay FICA taxes, when you retire you collect Social Security.

            I don't understand your objection to giving unemployment payments to people who are unemployed. If it's insurance, it should pay when the thing insured against happens, no?

            Means testing popular programs is the camel's nose under the edge of the tent. It's a conservative's way to turn the program into welfare and eventually destroy it. Look what happened to actual welfare.

            "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

            by Orinoco on Sat Mar 10, 2012 at 03:50:47 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah, but you you know who's NOT wealthy? (7+ / 0-)

    Ann Romney.

    Life in Bizzaropublican Land...

    "The notion that a majority must have its way, whether in matters of opinion or in matters of personal conduct, is as pestilent and anti-democratic a notion as can possibly be conceived" Columbia University president N. M. Butler on the Scopes trial

    by teachme2night on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 02:32:19 PM PST

  •  Idiot! (12+ / 0-)

    I would like that jerk to try and live on Social Security with no health insurance like I do. I am barely above poverty level you asshole!

    "Always forgive your enemies - nothing annoys them so much." Oscar Wilde

    by michelewln on Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 03:38:14 PM PST

  •  I guess that means they have refrigerators. (9+ / 0-)

    Liberals: Taking crap for being right since before you were born. - Driftglass (and the amazing Professional Left Podcast at

    by briefer on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:03:17 AM PST

  •  Members of Congress ... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HappyinNM, ROGNM, NoMoreLies, Matt Z, Hualapai

    Retire with the biggest pork parachute around ... Start there Paul.

    "The Internet is the Public Square of the 21st Century"- Sen. Al Franken

    by Kdoug on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:03:40 AM PST

  •  I guess I have to thank Ryan. Even without winning (0+ / 0-)

    the lottery I've become wealthy. Woo, hoo!

    So the top three House Republicans are

  •  He studied math with W. Is our leaders learning? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, Brown Thrasher, indie17, Matt Z, Hualapai

    I think that Republicanism is revealing itself as a personality disorder, not so much an ideology." -- Naomi Klein

    by AllanTBG on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:10:28 AM PST

  •  "Yes, Ryan; let's get that %<Poverty line back (6+ / 0-)

    where it's supposed to be, back above 30% where it was in good ol' days!"

    "When and if fascism comes to will not even be called 'fascism'; it will be called, of course, 'Americanism'" --Professor Halford E. Luccock of Yale Divinity School; New York Times article from September 12, 1938, page 15

    by demongo on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:12:02 AM PST

  •  Jeebus. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, RickD, Brown Thrasher, Matt Z, Hualapai

    Social Security isn't welfare.  It's working the way it's supposed to.  What is his fucking point?

    The most violent element in society is ignorance.

    by Mr MadAsHell on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:13:02 AM PST

    •  That's what pisses me off (6+ / 0-)

      You spend a lifetime of work, paying into Social Security, only to be informed by sociopathic morons that the money is an entitlement you don't deserve.

    •  The instinct-driven are prone to (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billlaurelMD, Matt Z, Hualapai

      the seven deadly sins:


      These are, one suspects, obsessive manifestations of ordinary instincts, driven to the extreme, perhaps, by frustration resulting from misinterpretation.

      Wrath, for example, would seem to be an exaggeration of self-defense, prompted, perhaps, by an inability to correctly assess social interactions. If every approach looks like a threat, then wrath would be fairly constant.

      People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

      by hannah on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:49:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  His point is that it should be destroyed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      If 80% of recipients are wealthy, well they don't need it. So it becomes a welfare program where only the poorest receive it.  Guess how long it will take for it to become unpopular?

      Would we be so happy to have a military that dwarfs all others combined if it was a line item deduction on our paychecks next to FICA."

      by Back In Blue on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:56:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Just go back to 1313 Mockingbird Lane (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billlaurelMD, Matt Z

    Eddie! Spot & Wolf Wolf are looking for you....and you'd actually be more useful there.

    A village can not reorganize village life to suit the village idiot.

    by METAL TREK on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:19:04 AM PST

  •  I was a little surprised at your interpreation. (6+ / 0-)

    Not because it's wrong. It isn't. Obviously what you said is a cogent counterpoint to Ryan's willful idiocy. I just thought you'd go a different direction:

    In 2007, federal taxes and transfers reduced the dispersion of income by 20 percent, but that equalizing effect was larger in 1979. The share of transfer payments to the lowest-income households declined.
    I guess in reading this statement, I just wasn't quite as focused on the "we should fuck the middle class and seniors so that there are more impoverished people to receive fewer benefits" that Paul Ryan is essentially suggesting (and which you focused on, though from the opposite, rational perspective) and more on the first part: federal taxes.

    For me, it was more of a:

    Who knew, in 1979 when top income tax rates on the rich were higher, there was a greater equalizing effect and less disparity.
    Just one more demonstration how ass-backward Republican "logic" is.

    "My great panacea for making society at once better and more enjoyable would be to cultivate greater sincerity." -- Frances Power Cobbe

    by Panacea Paola on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:23:12 AM PST

  •  And how much of that "wealth" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is in, for example, assets like their family home? Sure, they could sell it and move into senior housing (my mother-in-law did because she needed assisted living after my father-in-law died) but that'll eat up the proceeds of the house sale pretty quick.

    The optimist sees the glass as half-full. The pessimist sees the glass as half-empty. The realist just knows she's thirsty.

    by Cali Scribe on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:24:19 AM PST

  •  And, he has a list (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Of 500 known Communists working within the US government, too.

    Also, incidentally, a bridge to sell you. Cheap!

    Being ignored is the difference between being a one percenter and an American.--sweeper

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:30:15 AM PST

  •  Cong. Paul Ryan: GOP Poster Boy par excellence! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Lest there be any doubt what he and his fellow Republicans would do, with these revelations about who he thinks is wealthy and why, Ryan's making it clearer and clearer that the GOP plans massive Social Security and Medicare takeaway.

    The GOP has alienated women left and right - literally! - and has now turned to solidifying seniors against the Republican Party.

    Keep at it, lads, you're saving us a lot of hard work now and giving us campaign ads that won't quit for later.

    Obama and strong Democratic majorities in 2012!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:31:07 AM PST

  •  I would not buy a Used Car off of Ryan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    He has the natural look of a Sheister.

  •  Authoritarians are people who do not (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, a2nite, Matt Z, Hualapai

    compute cause and effect.  That's why they ascribe irrelevant events to causality.  Coincidence and consequence are also foreign to them.  I suspect it's because they have no sense of time as a linear series of events, which follow one another and which are, sometimes causally related and often not.

    When I took courses in logic in college, I was confused because they seemed to be focused on common knowledge and common sense.  It did not dawn on me until much later that some brains don't perceive reality in the same way.  Some brains don't perceive.  They register sensory impression, but the information doesn't get processed and assessed.
    I suppose one could call it random--random impressions that trigger some emotional response, based on some prior hormonal stress.

    We all try to make sense of the irrational.  But, it's simply not possible.  At best, we can posit, in the case of conservative politicians, an antagonism towards other human beings which they aim to address with punitive measures. Why innocent people should be punished is a conundrum.  The answer I'd offer is that some humans don't like other people and, being too cowardly to exterminate them, content themselves with abuse.

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:31:40 AM PST

  •  "Wealthy" means not starving? He is a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NoMoreLies, Hualapai


    The idea of the New Deal and the Great Society is that every single American should have a minimum standard of living, and have full access to the commons and be treated as an equal citizen.

    Congressperson Ryan thinks that we need to have poor and impoverished people.

    Ryan thinks that if he can not point to someone who is suffering and accuse him of sloth, then he is not getting his parent's money's worth out of America.

    Please Vote for the Democratic nominee for President in 2012.

    by mungley on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:33:33 AM PST

  •  The biggest factor (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in the increasingly even spread of entitlement payments since 1979 is Medicare. Medical inflation has outstripped general inflation  by many times. The fact that Medicare is not means tested means that this huge chunk of Medicare cash, distributed more or less uniformly over the spectrum of elderly, dilutes the bottom quintile's share of all entitlements over all programs over all age groups. Like Social Security, Medicare is set up as a government-operated insurance program, and as many have noted, means-testing the beneficiaries would make it not be that any more, step 1 in the Rapacious-cans affort to make these programs less popular so they can more easily kill them.

  •  He's a Randian. Sociopathic enough for you? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Hualapai
  •  Did he actually say "natural rights"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  I am not in the bottom 20% in income (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZedMont, Hualapai

    and my SS will be about 1/3rd of my retirement income.  Without it I can't afford to retire at all.  But of course, Ryan doesn't care that even those of us who planned and have not (as yet) been hit with illness or job loss that wiped out our retirement savings still need SS.  He doesn't need it any more, so get rid of it.

    •  Your retiring also opens a job for those younger (0+ / 0-)

      You made some excellent points but stopped short of one other very important point.  Your retiring causes an important shift in employment.  (Sometimes this is multiplied when it takes two or more people to do the work of one person who has amassed a life time of knowledge.  The experienced employee performs with such skill that they make a difficult job look easy.)  Most often your retiring will cause a shift that eventually opens an entry level job.  The common scenario is that you retire, someone is promoted to your former position, etc.  

      The other side of this is that in times of economic strife retirement age should be dropped not raised.  However the republicans won't put tax rates back to reasonable rates to make this work as it should.  

      We don't dare suggest the rational course of action for fear of being labeled blasphemers by the likes of Ryan.  

      They say there are strangers who threaten us, ... That those who know what's best for us | Must rise and save us from ourselves. "Witch Hunt" - Neil Ellwood Peart, Canadian lyricist with the band "RUSH".

      by Hualapai on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:36:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Psychopaths are a special breed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The researchers in this video suggest that they are one percent of the population.

    The psychologists and psychiatrists featured imply that these people are products of society and can be changed.  I don't think so.  I think they are born that way, perhaps as a consequence of some prenatal or perinatal insult to the brain.
    The consequences of "difficult childbirths" haven't gotten nearly the attention they need.  

    People to Wall Street: "LET OUR MONEY GO"

    by hannah on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:41:31 AM PST

  •  The GOP should demand that Social Security (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Hualapai

    be cut.  Let them name the income cutoff.  Please GOP, do it.  Demand that we cut Social Security in an election year.

  •  He's Probably Right (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HeyMikey, Hualapai

    when you consider all the oil companies and farmers and other industries that are getting federal subsidies and other breaks.  The folks in those occupations, taking advantage of those entitlements ain't poor!

    Big oil and non-growing farmers -- they're certainly the two groups who feel most entitled to entitlements.

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:58:53 AM PST

    •  Yep. I hate to agree with Ryan, but he has a point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      No, I'm not a troll. And yes, I think Ryan is using his nugget of truth to smear government assistance in general, even the part that really helps the poor. But there is a nugget of truth in what he says.

      Oil & agribusiness--yes.

      Or think about the mortgage interest tax deduction. If your mortgage payment is $1,200 a month, and $900 of that is interest, and you're in the 35% tax bracket, you get a housing subsidy from Uncle Sam to the tune of $300 a month.

      Consider the homeless dude living under the nearby bridge. His federal housing subsidy is zero.

      Consider the minimum-wage family across town living in a slum apartment. If it's unsubsidized, their subsidy is of course zero. If it's public housing or Section 8, they may pay rent of $200 a month for an apartment with a market value of $400 a month. Their subsidy is still less than yours.

      Oh, and--the wealthiest segment of society is now the elderly, and the poorest segment of society is now children. Yet any child-advocacy organization will tell you the government spends more on the elderly than on kids.

      Of course none of this is Ryan's real agenda. He doesn't intend to take from Big Oil and Big Agriculture in order to give to poor kids and the homeless. He intends to get people riled up against subsidies in general and use that blind resentment to gut the safety net. But we should not fall into the trap of thinking everything Ryan says must be false; like all the best liars, he builds his lies on truth.

      "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

      by HeyMikey on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 01:38:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sociopath? (0+ / 0-)
    It's hard to read much of Rep. Paul Ryan's work, specifically commentary like this, and not conclude that he's sociopath.
    Conclude he is a sociopath... because he misinterprets a statistic?  Because he has bad ideas?  
    •  Perhaps Republicanism is the cause of sociopathy (0+ / 0-)

      David T. Lykken proposed psychopathy and sociopathy are two distinct kinds of antisocial personality disorder. He believed psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. On the other hand, he claimed that sociopaths have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence. In other words, psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.[29]

      [Detrimental environmental factor:  republicanism.]

      Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
      It is characterized by at least 3 of the following:
      Callous unconcern for the feelings of others
      Gross and persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social norms, rules, and obligations.
      Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships, though having no difficulty in establishing them
      Very low tolerance to frustration and a low threshold for discharge of aggression, including violence.
      Incapacity to experience guilt or to profit from experience, particularly punishment.
      Markedly prone to blame others or to offer plausible rationalizations for the behavior that has brought the person into conflict with society

      They say there are strangers who threaten us, ... That those who know what's best for us | Must rise and save us from ourselves. "Witch Hunt" - Neil Ellwood Peart, Canadian lyricist with the band "RUSH".

      by Hualapai on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 10:52:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  wealthy ripping off medicare just because they can (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billlaurelMD, i m bobo

    on the other hand there ARE very wealthy (and Republican!) medicare and social security recipients who take full advantage of the benefits they can get, despite the fact they have plenty of money stashed of their own.

    my best friend's father is in his 90s, formerly owned a chain of banks, multi-millionaire. son and grandson of millionaires. (Great Lakes shipping robber barons old money, I believe)  he's been wheel-chair bound for close to a decade now, mind is sharp but no use of his physical body at all. in addition to 2 full time caretakers, he's got a $60,000 wheelchair, like a state of the art dentist's chair on wheels, paid for by Medicare. my friend, who loves his father deeply, is still as outraged as I am...I asked how he pulled that off, how he could justify that claim. He said he got one of his wealthy doctor friends to sign off that he needed it. I think he said the deductible was a couple grand or something.

    (and of course, he, the wheelchair and the whole entourage still manage to go down to winter in Florida every year...)

    and that's just for starters, this is actually legal, but you can see what happens to the balance sheets when combined with all the other variations of scams and outright fraud, overcharging....

    and you see how it works in the mind set don't you?

    "Why shouldn't I get this? I'm paying for all those lazy poor people and blacks with MY TAXES, so therefore I'm going to get as much as I can for myself."

    meanwhile Medicare outlays skyrocket as payins decrease...

    and the system eats itself...

    and Grover Norquist and Paul Ryan win.

  •  The intellectual dishonesty... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    billlaurelMD, Matt Z, Hualapai

    Let us take the % of people who would be poor if they didn't receive the entitlement benefits. That would show the real number. The 64% Ryan sees includes a lot of people who the entitlement programs lifted out of being in the lowest quintile.

  •  in other words (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    any program that is successful should not exist because there isn't a problem anymore.  Until you end the program at which point the lower quintile will still be the lower quintile (that's how they work,  it is a fixed bracket),  but the people in it will have to get a lot poorer.  The measure of how many people is not equivalent to the measurement of how poor the people are.

    Further, as other programs have been cut back and cut back whereas Social Security and Medicare haven't been in comparison,  many of the poor simply don't get much if they are not also elderly.

    He's a sociopath and an idiot.

  •  GOP hope for 2016 (0+ / 0-)

    Ryan's name keeps popping up as some great hope for the GOP in 2016.  I just don't see it.  From a personal standpoint, he isn't likeable.  Then he has these ideas of terminating the most popular government programs.  Of course, it is the republican base who thinks he is great.  They have that bizzare idea that the farther away from the center they get, the better chance they have of winning the Presidency.

  •  We need a more realistic system (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of accounting that pays the true costs of living if we are " to keep FDR's promises to ensure elder citizens do not live their final years, and die, in poverty." What they pay me for SS ensures neither of the above work any more. To make things "fairer" the disabled and retired would probably receive at 50% more a yr in cash benefits.

     Means testing is not the way to get there unless it was voluntarily, which is not likely to happen.

    "the government's role should be to uplift, enlighten, educate and ennoble the citizen, not oppress them with taxation and intrusive laws," Gatewood Galbraith, Historic Marijuana Advocate, aka "The Last Free Man In America," RIP 1-3-12

    by SmileySam on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 12:40:53 PM PST

  •  Estate Tax (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If so much of the benefits go to wealthy families, then reinstate the Estate Tax to even out the playing field.

    Keep full benefits, and if you have too much, pay-the-man when you die.


  •  Let's hope he campaigns with Mitt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    All of America needs to hear their message and then Dems need to make absolutely certain that America understands the message.  Nobody will believe that they're part of the 80% and just like the with ACA many will think that only deadbeats will benefit.
    Fortunately Ryan and Mitt may be just the guys who can persuade Americans that they're being lied to.  These guys working together should bring an appropriate amount of sleaze to the discussion.  They are 2 of the more disingenuous people on the planet.

  •  Do these guys just make up these ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    numbers... or pull them out of their, uh, hat ?

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 12:56:06 PM PST

  •  Ryan is a lying coward. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, Hualapai

    Ryan says: "There is something wrong with our government transfer programs if they are increasingly steering assistance to the wealthy."

    Social Security and Medicare are not "assistance"; they're federal insurance programs that we pay for during our working lives so that we as individuals and our nation as a whole can be stable and secure.

    •  Biggest lie: deregulation wasn't redistribution (0+ / 0-)

      The only redistribution that republicans oppose are ones that don't benefit the 1% of their cronies on the way to 1%.  You hit right on the big lie behind all of Ryan's work.  That they oppose all redistribution of wealth.  They only oppose productive, moral, ethical redistribution of wealth.  They don't call it that so they think we won't notice that is what they have done and propose to do.  

      They say there are strangers who threaten us, ... That those who know what's best for us | Must rise and save us from ourselves. "Witch Hunt" - Neil Ellwood Peart, Canadian lyricist with the band "RUSH".

      by Hualapai on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 11:04:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am not trying to argue, but... (0+ / 0-)

    The Grand Compromise or whatever it is being called  will reduce Social Security and Medicare.
    Telling me paul Ryan is a jerk is not shocking, new, informative or interesting.
    MY # 1 CONCERN is that Obama in a fit of election-itus, he agrees to some cuts.
    You can call me crazy or stupid, but compromise on these programs is death. We could argue all day, but Social Security and Medicare could be fixed in 6 months and fixed for 100 years in 13 months. The reason why not ? WE give republicans merit by reaching across the isle to get a larger agreement .
    I am more concerned about the House and The Senate than the presidency. I am more concerned that elected democrats will remain spineless. I am just as concerned America is just to stupid to realize what their doing to themselves.
    Think we're a smart nation ? Rick 'Frothy' Santorum could win the republican nomination  (doubtful, but possible). You'll say operation hilarity is working, no I say. There are not enough of us voting in open primaries to give this man a win.
    Paul Ryan is a symptom of our stupidity, not a cause

    you can't remain neutral on a moving train

    by rmfcjr on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 01:32:01 PM PST

  •  Portraits of Redistribution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Paul Ryan equates entitlements that seniors have paid into all of their hard working lives as charity. Meanwhile he's happily rewarding Wall Street Fat cats for their bad behavior. I am an artist, so I have done a trilogy of paintings called "Portraits of Redistribution" which deal directly with this issue. They can be seen on my ArtandResponse site. I've also posted a video on youtube called "Corpocracy" illuminating the problem in more detail. With corporate personhood, bailouts, tax breaks for the rich and entitlement cuts for the rest, one thing is clear, class warfare has been waged by the corporate elite through the Republican party.  We must all do what we can to fight the rich and powerful who use  their vast resources to take rig the system against the middle class.

  •  Women, especially, continue to suffer the worst (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, Hualapai

    inequality.  A lifetime of inadequate pay has resulted in women receiving totally inadequate Social Security payments.

    This is easily fixed.  Boost the benefits to the bottom tiers.

  •  Funny. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruinKid, Hualapai

    100 percent of Republican members of Congress are wealthier than 100 percent of other entitlement beneficiaries (let's not pretend that Congressional salaries aren't "government entitlements."

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand." - Frederick Douglass

    by Sook on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 04:37:24 PM PST

  •  Make sure to tell the elderly they are wealthy (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this.  

    Before posting, I made sure to email my elderly friends and let them know they are wealthy as they seem to disagree.  

    One of the things we can do is make sure all the seniors in his district know the facts.  Maybe then they will do the right thing and NOT reelect the dunce.  

    Please consider sending a very snarky email with a link to this article to every senior you can think of.  If you know anyone at AARP, they should ridicule him until he quits.  

    Here is my attempt to raise awareness:  

    Subject:  I thought you should know that 80% of the elderly are now rich

    Before you decide to take a hit out on me, I don't believe this.  However, the all knowing economic "expert" Paul Ryan has read the latest reports and decided you, the elderly, are TOO WEALTHY.  

    Rep. Paul Ryan's real plan: Seniors living in poverty.

    I think you should make sure that he is kicked out of office and nocked on his ass.  At a minimum hound the seniors in his district to NOT VOTE HIM ANOTHER TERM!!!  Truth be told, stupidity is the only thing you have to REALLY fear.  

    Remember when your parents impressed on you the words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, "The only thing we have to fear - is fear itself.  Count those days as well passed as you now can fear every member of congress that thinks this guy is an economic expert.  SERIOUSLY, THEY THINK THIS GUY IS AN EXPERT ON THE ECONOMY AND HE DOESN'T NOW HOW TO READ BASIC GOVERNMENT REPORTS REGARDING THE THAT VERY THING.  

    If you read his remarks and think, "something doesn't sound right".  My friends, you have more common sense than he does.  

    Anyone taking economic advice from this guy is a real menace to society.  This man is an idiot and we are paying him, as a representative, to be this wrong.    


    They say there are strangers who threaten us, ... That those who know what's best for us | Must rise and save us from ourselves. "Witch Hunt" - Neil Ellwood Peart, Canadian lyricist with the band "RUSH".

    by Hualapai on Fri Mar 09, 2012 at 07:52:41 PM PST

  •  Ryan almost sounds like a progressive here (0+ / 0-)

    The fly in that ointment, is his apparent definition of "wealthy" as the top 80%; but if he were to redefine "wealthy" as the top 5% or so (let alone the top 1%) and then consider means-testing, that wouldn't be such a bad idea IMHO.

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