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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden (L) debates Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan (R) during the U.S. vice presidential debate in Danville, Kentucky October 11, 2012.          REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES  - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS USA PRES
Let's hope Ryan runs, because seeing him debate Hillary or Joe would be awesome.
On Sunday, GOP congressman and failed vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan once again said he hadn't made up his mind about 2016. "Will I or won't I?" he asked himself. "I don't know. I literally do not know the answer to these questions about what is the best role for me to play to fix these problems for our country in the future."

Yeah, I'm rolling my eyes too at Ryan's faux-earnest answer. I bet he's got a pretty good idea about what he wants to do in 2016. But what he really thinks about 2016 isn't the most interesting question about Paul Ryan. Instead, it's how in the world he plans to propose a budget that will achieve balance within 10 years—and whether he'll be honest about the fact that doing so without raising taxes will require cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits for people who are 55 and older.

That's not just me talking—that's what Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), one of Ryan's House Republican colleagues, says—and he's not happy.

I have said to my constituents, nobody is talking about changing Social Security and Medicare if you’re 55 years or over.’ I’ve been selling it for three or four years that way. So have many other members. Well, to balance in 10, that 55 years is going to move up to 58, 59, 60. It makes us look like we’re going back on what we were telling people when we were trying to sell this.
Maybe Ryan will come up with some new magic asterisk to obscure the reality of the GOP budget, but if they actually do a halfway honest job of keeping their balanced budget promise, the document they produce will make what they did in 2011 look like child's play. Then they could at least claim they weren't actually going after grandma—they were just going after people who aspired to become a grandma (or grandpa). But this time, they won't be able to offer that fudge and are instead promising to deliver the reddest of red meats to the enemies of social insurance.

If that's what they end up doing, Democrats should be able to clobber Republicans. Maybe Ryan will be able to win the 2016 nomination, but he'd be toast in the general election. Remember, Romney did better with older voters—who are overwhelmingly white—in 2012 than Bush did in 2004 despite doing worse overall. That was partly a result of anti-Obama attitudes among older whites, but it also reflected a combination of Obama's failure to exploit the 2011 Ryan budget and the fact that Romney was religious about saying that under no circumstance would he touch benefits for anyone over the age of 55.

Now, if they follow through with the budget they promised, not only will Republicans not have Obama to give them a boost with older whites, they won't be able to say their plans spare those 55 and older. Each of those developments would be bad enough on their own, but as long as Democrats don't go crazy in pursuit of a Grand Bargain, Republicans are in the process of dealing themselves a pretty brutal double whammy.

The funniest part of this is that we're not even talking about the voters Republican actually need to learn how to win. They continue to dig themselves in an even deeper hole with Latinos, African-Americans, other non-white voters, and women, especially single women. That's what they really need to focus on. Instead, they're busily figuring out how to piss off the most loyal age demographic in their coalition.

Just about the only group they seem to be holding onto are evangelical white Christians, 78 percent of whom backed Romney in 2012. But even though they grew from 23 percent of the electorate in 2004 to 26 percent in 2012, they do not a majority make. Republicans are in deep trouble and heading the wrong way. In other words, it's fun times.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You have a strange definition of "fun times", Jed (13+ / 0-)

    While Republicans may be a vanishing minority with their successful raiding of state legislatures in 2010 (thanks to the Koch's and Citizens United) they managed to redraw the lines and keep themselves in control of the House. That guarantees 2 more years of butthead stupidity and no chance of taxing the rich. Instead "compromise" with them will be 'which flavor cat food will seniors qualify for?'. That's not fun, not in the least.

    What's wrong with America? I'll tell you. Everything Romney said was pre-chewed wads of cud from Republicans from the last 30 years and yet he managed thru a combination of racism and selling the (false) hope of riches to get 47% of the national vote.

    by ontheleftcoast on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 01:34:43 PM PST

  •  Why Social Security, even for Ryan? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MPociask, ColoTim, cocinero, argomd, Vatexia

    Yes, he will want to crush Medicare to get his magic asterisk/unicorn-based budget to work.

    But Social Security is not in the federal budget (it is a cash flow item, buying Treasuries using Social Security tax collections). So....what do I not understand?

    •  I think (12+ / 0-)

      You have to think about it irrationally from their standpoint.  They simply have a deep ideological hatred of SS.  It's never had anything to do with economics.  This and they are pure ideologues.    

      "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

      by dankester on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 01:39:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

        Ryan has no way to balance in 10 years without cutting SS, which is why Jed included the quote from Mike Simpson:

        "I have said to my constituents, nobody is talking about changing Social Security and Medicare if you’re 55 years or over.’ I’ve been selling it for three or four years that way. So have many other members. Well, to balance in 10, that 55 years is going to move up to 58, 59, 60. It makes us look like we’re going back on what we were telling people when we were trying to sell this."
        I am pretty sure Simpson knows this is coming.
        The t-bags want only ideological purity above all reason and pragmatism.

        GOP implosion in 3... 2... 1...

  •  2014...another number to consider for Paulie (5+ / 0-)

    Boy I really wanted Zerban to win.  I know, I know Ryan seems to be entrenched.

    But maybe, just maybe there are a lot of 55, 58, 60 and younger folks in his district who can see the retirement horizon and are not liking the view from Randville.

    I can hope/sh

  •  55? Huh… (6+ / 0-)

    Simple math tells me that anyone who was 55 when Ryan authored that obscene budget in 2011 are 57 today, and will be 60 in 2016. The number of people who don't get screwed by Vouchercare diminishes with each passing day.

    Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

    by DemSign on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 01:43:03 PM PST

  •  No, Mr. Simpson, it's worse than that ... (7+ / 0-)
    I’ve been selling it for three or four years that way. So have many other members. Well, to balance in 10, that 55 years is going to move up to 58, 59, 60. It makes us look like we’re going back on what we were telling people when we were trying to sell this.”
    It's just highlighting the fact that people 55 must face:  They're going to be 65 and 66 someday when Medicare and Social Security become realities.  It's harder to pay in the future the closer to the future you are.  Time is a funny thing.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 01:48:19 PM PST

  •  The GOP did not want Social Security when it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, Friend of the court

    was enacted and they are still opposed to it because they want to get their hands on it to give to their buddies on Wall Street. Cuts to this program are not acceptable for any reason.  Look elsewhere and please do't say well well ask the super rich to pay more but you must cut Social Security.  No, boy wonder Ryan, these are not equavalencies in any way.  

  •  I still don't understand the problem here (0+ / 0-)

    What is wrong with raising the retirement age which is what this paragraph is saying is it not?

    I have said to my constituents, nobody is talking about changing Social Security and Medicare if you’re 55 years or over.’ I’ve been selling it for three or four years that way. So have many other members. Well, to balance in 10, that 55 years is going to move up to 58, 59, 60. It makes us look like we’re going back on what we were telling people when we were trying to sell this.

    "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

    by eXtina on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 01:50:50 PM PST

    •  You… (5+ / 0-)

      …must work a cushy desk job if you're asking that question.

      Union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone: DemSign.com.

      by DemSign on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:04:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No I most certainly do not I do physical labor (0+ / 0-)

        I am reading this for the second time and it does not make sense to me
        thanks for your i nsult and your non-explanation maybe you could bother to read the question before spouting your crap  if you're going to go to the trouble of typing a useless answer

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:23:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  excuse me for asking for an explanation (0+ / 0-)

        i was talking to non-assholes you needn't butt in if you're not going to be helpful
        the way this is phrased is very confusing
        go fuck yourself

        "I'm sculpting now. Landscapes mostly." ~ Yogi Bear

        by eXtina on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:25:22 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It is not talking about the retirement age. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          billmosby

          It is talking about the certainty of what people can expect. Originally Ryan and crew were telling those 55 and up that SS would continue for them as it then existed. People could plan accordingly. All bets were off for those under 55. As time passes the period of certainty decreases. Now it may be uncertain for those as old as 60 as to exactly what they will receive. If nothing else, assuming one does not plan to retire until age 65, the period to plan for financial security changes from 10 years to 5 years. But, how can anyone plan when it is never known what the final SS product will be?

          If you don't want to be kept in the dark and lathered with horse dung, stop acting like a mushroom.

          by nomorerepukes on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:37:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Employment discrimination (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby

      The simple problem with raising the retirement age is that employers don't want to hire older workers.  For higher level jobs, an interviewer wil worry that the applicant wants to take his job, and will reject the older worker for being "overqualified." For lower level jobs, the interviewer will see no upside to hiring an older worker when a younger worker will work longer hours for less money while staying healthier.

      Nobody wants to hire 60 year olds. This is already a problem when the economy is cyclical and older workers are the easiest to cut during mass layoffs.  At least with the SS age set 65, it's possible for some older unemployed people to live off of unemployment and savings until they qualify for federal benefits. If we raise the age, very few people will be able to save for a later retirement, and that will have all kinds of horrible social consequences that are almost certain to be more expensive to solve in the future.

    •  They are not saying to raise the retirement age .. (0+ / 0-)

      ... rather the Repubs are saying to either decrease Social Security and/or Medicare benefits, or privatize the entire system (their preferred method) - however, in order to defer to those nearing retirement age, who would not have time on their side to catch up financially to these changes to the system (if ever), the proposed changes would only impact those under 55 at the time of enactment.

      Well, now we're seeing that the numbers do not work (as if we had any doubt in the first place) - that in order for any significant budgetary savings to take place, the changes would need to effect those who are currently 60 (or older yet). So, instead of effectively screwing only those currently under 55, they would effectively screw those that are 60 (or 61 or 62) and younger.

      On another note, "retirement" age has been steadily increasing for several decades now. I started working in 1975 -and my official retirement age is 66 1/2 years. My husband started working in 1969 - his "retirement" age is 65. I would suggest you check your Social Security retirement age to see when you would first qualify for full Social Security benefits.

      And, yes, Social Security is funded from employee and employer FICA contributions, or SE tax for those self-employed. So, any "savings" from reducing benefits would not impact the general budget. But, why should we let reality effect policy? /snark/

      Either way, I personally am glad you asked the question. A very smart professor of mine once told our class that the only "stupid" question is the question that remains unasked!

    •  Several reasons, some of which are already touched (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      billmosby

      on-

      First, as eg4190 talked about, seniors are one of the groups who have the most trouble getting a job.

      Second, even if a senior does manage to get a job, and is physically capable of working it, the job is most likely going to be menial work that results in increased healthcare costs later on (aka walmart greeter).

      Third, people who work manual labor have been seeing their expected lifespan decrease, not increase. Workers are already working longer and dying earlier.

      Its a good question, and a few years ago I thought the same- people are living longer, so why not raise the age? Unfortunately it doesn't work out well for a rather large percentage of the workforce who won't make it to retirement.

  •  I don't understand your logic. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ModerateJosh

    You say

    Now, if they follow through with the budget they promised, not only will Republicans not have Obama to give them a boost with older whites, they won't be able to say their plans spare those 55 and older.
    They not only will say that but they'll say that loudly and decry anyone who dares to question them on their math.  And Faux Noise will be there right with them not only not questioning their math, but saying that Democratic plans don't add up and will make it worse for seniors.

    You seem to think they won't lie to further their aims.  That's what keeps getting Democrats into trouble - trying to hold Republicans to what they say and also trying to use facts and figures instead of just telling voters whatever snake oil tactics will get them elected.  I'm not saying the way Republicans do things is right, but it keeps being effective.

  •  This is a problem for the Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bleeding blue

    in the House.
    On what planet did they think that the first "Ryan budget" (which adds $9 trillion to the deficit and doesn't balance  the budget for almost 30 years) was somehow going to pass?
    And now they're claiming they can do the same things, but in ten years instead of 30?
    This could get ugly.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:00:30 PM PST

    •  Ugly indeed. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes

      Balancing the federal budget in 10 years is impossible.  Even attempting it would throw the economy into another recession, if not a depression, and would cause the deficit and subsequent debt to skyrocket.  Even if they raised the retirement age for Medicare to 70, turned Medicaid into a voucher program, slashed the pentagon budget and privatized Social Security, they couldn't balance the budget in 10 years and still have any federal government left.  Maybe that's their plan; if so, they should just say so and not be concerned with those pesky numbers.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:18:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Romney did better than Bush among seniors (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast, Egalitare, Aquarius40

    Because between 2004 and 2012 much of the "Social Security generation," the generation that had vivid memories of life before Social Security and the New Deal, that knew first hand what it was like to care for aged parents on nothing, have gone to their great rewards.  The younger seniors have no such memories.

    "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

    by Navy Vet Terp on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:03:30 PM PST

  •  People Under 40 Are In Great Shape, GOP Knows It (3+ / 0-)

    They have to stampede through these cuts before people under 40  figure out that they are in great shape.  When a 40 year old of today hits 65 in 2038, the youngest Baby Boomer will be 74 years old (2038 -1964 = 74) and most Boomers will be dead.

    The GOP has to keep flinging the propaganda about "no Social Security will be left for young people" before the public wises up.

    There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

    by bernardpliers on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:07:30 PM PST

    •  ^THIS^. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bernardpliers, Another Grizzle

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:57:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's The Predicted Lifespan Tables (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Egalitare

        At the bottom of the page

        http://www.ssa.gov/...

        By 2038, the number of living retirees will be plunging as the first 10 years of the Boomers are all over age 80 and their survival rate starts dropping to around 50%.  The youngest Boomers born in 1964 already have a 20% mortality rate.

        By 2050, the youngest Boomers will be 84 and 50% of just the youngest boomers born in 1964 will be dead.  

        Just eyeballing various graphs >80% of the Boomers should be dead by 2050.  The death rate should be stunning as the people born in the peak years 1949 to 1959 are 100 to 90.

        There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

        by bernardpliers on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 05:44:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Paul Ryan tweets. Stop by sometime and reply (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999

    to his inanities with a good dose of common sense and reality.

    He usually posts to #tcot (the conservatives on twitter) so that's a good place to browse on occasion.  He expects nothing but nodding heads there, so it's good to give a little public backlash once in awhile.

    Warning:  too much time on #tcot is dangerous to your health.

  •  No bigger loser (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999

    ...than a VP loser....

    It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.

    by GrinningLibber on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:15:59 PM PST

  •  Damn. I was hoping that "55" (3+ / 0-)

    ..was the disapproval rating percentage in his district.

  •  Ay-Rith-Meh-Tic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ontheleftcoast

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 03:00:38 PM PST

  •  Ryan and his ilk plan to GET RID of SS and MC. nt (0+ / 0-)

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