Skip to main content

Rep. Paul Ryan is apparently feeling the sting after hearing his infamous “makers and takers” philosophy referenced in the President’s inaugural address.
The commitments we make to each other through Medicare, Medicaid and social security, these things do not sap our initiative, they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make this country great.” - President Barack Obama Inaugural address
Clearly Congressman Ryan is hoping some revisionist history combined with fuzzy math will gloss over his well known antipathy for Social Security and Medicare (trying to clean the slate for 2016?).  The fuzzy math part of his strategy came in his incredible “maker-taker” rework in an interview with Politico after the inauguration:
“When the president does kind of a switcheroo like that, what he’s trying to say is that we are maligning these programs that people have earned throughout their working lives,” he said. “So it’s kind of a convenient twist of terms to try and shadowbox a straw man in order to win an argument by default…No one is suggesting that what we call our earned entitlements, entitlements you pay for like payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security, are putting you in a taker category,” Ryan said. “No one suggests that whatsoever. The concern that people like me have been raising is we do not want to encourage a dependency culture.” Rep. Paul Ryan, January 22, 2013
Hmmmm.  There’s that “dependency culture” again, another favored Ryan meme along with the safety net hammock he frequently claims lulls retirees into “dependency and complacency.”  See the recurring theme here?

“Right now about 60 percent of the American people get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes," Ryan said. "So we're going to a majority of takers versus makers in America and that will be tough to come back from that. They'll be dependent on the government for their livelihoods [rather] than themselves." Paul Ryan, 2010

This is why it’s impossible to believe that retirees were ever excluded in his “makers-takers” metric.  If Rep. Ryan isn’t including the approximately 40 million seniors who receive Social Security and Medicare in his political equation, you simply can’t get to his 60% number. No matter how fuzzy the math or revisionist the history.

Which leads us to another incredible bit of political sloganeering devoid of facts, in the same Politico interview:

“These programs, because of the way they were designed in the last century — which did not predict the aging of America, the baby boomer generation retiring at a tune of 10,000 people a day, and the cost of health care, which compounds these issues — are going bankrupt.”
Pretending that because Social Security was designed “last century” (which also means just fourteen years ago but we digress) the program is somehow archaic or inflexible not only revises history but completely ignores it.  Social Security has been amended 30 times (1939, 1950, 1952, 1954, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2000) since it’s creation in response to changing needs and an evolving nation.  In fact, the 1983 reforms raised the retirement age and payroll tax rates creating the Trust Fund surplus in advance of the baby boomers’ retirement. To claim that the United States didn’t “predict the aging of America” or know about the baby boom generation is absurd.

Social Security and Medicare aren’t going bankrupt. Medicare is suffering from the same high health costs hurting our economy system wide. We must reign in those costs but not just in Medicare. Medicare reform has already started with the addition of 8 years of solvency thanks to the Affordable Care Act (legislation Paul Ryan wants repealed). Social Security currently has a $2.7 trillion dollar surplus and even if nothing is done (which no one believes will happen) the program will have enough incoming payroll contributions to pay 75% of benefits come 2033. As the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan knows that is not bankruptcy.

This single interview shows just how far those who’ve set their sights on radical reforms to Social Security and Medicare will go to hide their true goals. We say:

Don’t Buy Their Lie…Save doesn’t mean Slash and Protect doesn’t mean Privatize.

Originally posted to NCPSSM on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:41 AM PST.

Also republished by Social Security Defenders.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site