Next week some time Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will unveil his new budget. Ryan — the widow’s peaked Eddie Munster lookalike — rose to prominence in the Republican Party by becoming their go-to budget guy. Never mind that outside conservative circles no one has ever done anything but laugh or recoil in horror at Ryan’s budget, he’s their guy. As part of his budget, Paul’s apparently got his old boner back for Medicare, and he’s thinking of proposing some controversial changes, like setting the age at which changes will impact you at 57 and older instead of 55 and older as Republicans have said in the past they prefer to keep things.
What is it about Medicare that makes Ryan want to cut it so badly? Does he really hate it that much? We here at The Political Garbage Chute think he actually secretly loves Medicare, and here are five reasons why he does.
#5. It Makes Him Sound Like He Cares
It takes a certain kind of person to be an adult and actually model your political philosophy from the fictional writings of Ayn Rand. We call those people sociopaths. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but what else do you call someone whose dominant policy motivations essentially boil down to “every man for himself?” But Paul really likes “Medicare” because outside of when he says it, the word “care” never slips out from his roided-out totally legitimately acquired lips, thereby making him seem about 2% more humanoid than he actually is.
#4. It’s One Of the Most Successful Government Programs Ever
Fooled you! Of course Paul Ryan doesn’t love the fact that despite being stretched much farther than it was originally conceived it would go, Medicare has been a resounding success. Decades of recipients, decades of treatment, decades of medicine delivered to the elderly and poor and not a single reduction in benefits. Yes, it’s being pushed pretty hard right now, and yes, we need to ensure its continued solvency because it is to this date the best chance we have at universal health coverage one day. But none of that matters to Paul Ryan, because to Paul Ryan Medicare is just more wasted government spending — no matter how many people it helps — and imagine how much less we’d have to tax Paul’s uber-rich pals if we weren’t paying for all that medicine for those jerks that are sick and poor or old!
#3. Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D was enacted as part of the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 and since January of 2006, the government has been legally prohibited from negotiating drug prices with Big Pharma, which has meant gobs and gobs of cash for their corporate coffers. And we all know that if there’s anything Paul likes more than cutting government programs that actually help people, it’s seeing big corporations make more money. The more money they make, the more money they give him, and the less money for the “poors” to have things like “food,” “shelter,” or “lives of quality and substance free from poverty and squallor.”
The fact is, if Ryan saw any benefit in Medicare, or more accurately what Medicare is supposed to be for, he wouldn’t be so obviously out to gut it. And make no mistake, turning Medicare into a voucher system is killing Medicare. I’m not one of those liberals who thinks that there isn’t anything we can do to Medicare to make it better, nor am I one who says we can’t even think about changing things like chained CPI. But there’s about as much mileage between those kinds of reforms and the kinds that Ryan would love to implement.
#1. He Can End It
You know, maybe there is one thing that Paul Ryan could love about Medicare…it’s a government program that hasn’t been gutted yet. I imagine to someone like Paul, Medicare looks to him like a t-bone steak looks to a guy who loves to take t-bone steaks, cut them up into a million pieces, put the pieces onto a cement slab, and then drop an atom bomb on the steak, wiping it out for all time, and thereby making it so no one can ever enjoy the benefits of that t-bone steak. Government programs are just targets to Ryan