Did Paul Ryan Just Throw The Ryan Plan Under The Bus?
Paul Ryan appears to have repudiated a big part of his own budget plan:R
Rep. Paul Ryan, in a Fox News interview that aired on Tuesday evening, renounced $716 billion in cuts to Medicare that were part of his fiscal 2013 budget.
That assertion helps strengthen an attack line on President Obama’s health reform law that had been partially undermined by the details of Ryan’s controversial budget proposal. In the interview, the House member from Wisconsin said he now favors overturning the health reform law in its entirety, including its budget-saving measures.
“I am on the Romney ticket,” Ryan told Fox’s Brit Hume. “And what Mitt Romney is proposing is to repeal all of ‘Obamacare.’ And in the House, repeatedly, I have voted with that position. I support that position. I’m pleased to support the position of getting rid of every piece of Obamacare, including the cuts to Medicare which are used to pay for Obamacare.”
Romney has been hammering Obama for cutting more than $700 billion from the Medicare program, arguing that his own plan, which would partially privatize the program in 10 years, will better guarantee benefits for current retirees. On Tuesday, his campaign released an ad suggesting that Obama was stealing from current beneficiaries to pay for new programs.
The Obama health reform law achieves its savings by reducing pay increases to hospitals and payments to insurance companies that administer Medicare Advantage plans, among other changes, though they would not cut any benefits.
That attack line had been blunted by the details of Ryan’s budget, which would have overturned the health reform law but kept those budget cuts in place. Though Romney never specifically endorsed those cuts, he did express his approval of the Ryan budget overall. That has allowed the Obama campaign to peg him as hypocritical for challenging Obama on the Medicare cuts.
“Mitt Romney’s ad is dishonest and hypocritical,” said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith on Tuesday. “The savings his ad attacks do not cut a single guaranteed Medicare benefit, and Mitt Romney embraced the very same savings when he promised he’d sign Paul Ryan’s budget.”
Now, however, that critique may be harder to make stick.
There’s some budget wonkery going on here, but it sure sounds to me like Paul Ryan just basically threw his own plan under the bus.
So it’s harder for Obama to make the case that the Ryan budget, which Romney has publicly supported for months, includes the same Medicare cuts that RR are now criticizing because Ryan has disavowed them now that they’re politically inconvenient?
Is this like Ryan suddenly discovering after decades of publcly preaching the wisdom of Ayn Rand’s philosophy that she was an atheist and that he never really liked her?
Does this mean that every time Romney and Ryan issue a new opinion we have to all pretend that they never held the one they were espousing ten minutes ago?
I think Ryan is just saying what Romney has been saying and what should be obvious to anyone who isn’t a moron: The president, not the vice president, makes policy. To the extent that something the VP supported in a past life conflicts with what the president wants now, the VP gets in line with the president.
Nobody thought that George HW Bush, who called Reagan’s plan “Voodoo Economics,” was going to have his way over Reagan. The Carter campaign naturally touted Bush’s words, of course, but to undermine Reagan not to suggest that Bush’s plan would be offered to Congress.
For that matter, Joe Biden was on the other side of Barack Obama on an issue or ten, most notably the Iraq War. Biden has been, often correctly, on the other side of Obama on foreign policy since the administration came to power. As veep, he presumably gets listened to. But the president is, as GWB pointed out, The Decider.
Ryan: “Oh crap, I never thought I’d be on the national ticket. Of course that’s off the table.”
I asked Jan how she knew, on Saturday already, that this was the plan:
I said then, “the Etch-A-Sketch moments just keep on coming.” So this is hardly a surprise.
As I said later, everything was rapidly collapsing to “trust us, we’re Republicans.”
James, can you tell us which Presidential candidate said he’d sign the actual Ryan budget, if it was put on his desk?
A fair point, but in choosing Ryan, Romney surely knew that the Ryan Plan was going to become a campaign issue whether he wanted it to or not. In some sense, trying to back away from it now makes them seem weak and it’s not going to stop reporters, or voters, from asking them about those provisions of the plan that have proven controversial. This is a little more than GHWB’s “voodoo economics” line, Ryan had put forward a specific and detailed budget plan that the House GOP adopted as its own.
(I think I remember old Lone Ranger episodes where Tonto doubles back to cover tracks for the Masked Man. I can’t help see James’ comment in that light.)
@James Joyner: “To the extent that something the VP supported in a past life conflicts with what the president wants now, the VP gets in line with the president.”
Except that this potential president has come out strongly and repeatedly in favor of what his VP supported until he realized he wasn’t talking to Republican primary voters anymore and had to address the entire electorate.
So was he lying then or is he lying now?
James, unlike Joe Biden, Paul Ryan is a major player in today’s economic and budgetary debate. Ryan’s plan is recognized as a proxy source document for Republican Party plans with respect to reducing tax rates, privatizing Medicare, and widening deficits, among other things.
This is classic Romney-type maneuvering by Ryan to distance himself from his own plan (until elected) because it appears that it would not play well with retired Americans.
I find it very inspirational.
Okay, even if Romney and Ryan can effectively relay the “I know whats in the Ryan Budget plan but we will choose to do away with any cost savings plan altogether with the repeal of Obamacare” message to the public (which will be incredibly tough to do), what is Romney’s alternative??? So you are telling me that Romney and Ryan chooses to pivot away from the Ryan medicare budget and possibly explain the details of Romney’s alternative to medicare which is….?
This is going to be great to watch!
Well, I wish he would just stop it, cause it’s getting awfully crowded down here.
If Mr. Romney didn’t pick Mr. Ryan for his budget plan, then Romney just picked a House member with no experience outside of government and no leadership experience within government.
Ryan – Plan = Palin.
James, just to underline what a few people have already said, notice this:
Also notice this:
What “the VP supported in a past life” is also what Mitt supported. This is like Mitt’s retroactive retirement: he is retroactively un-supporting the Ryan budget. He was for it before he was against it. Another Etch-a-Sketch moment for Multiple Choice Mitt.
Can someone explain a few things to me? I’m stumped.
I notice this:
If I understand that correctly, it means that there are no changes to Medicare until 2023. But I also notice this:
But how is it possible to preserve those “Medicare cuts” while also making no changes to Medicare until 2023?
I also looked at Ryan’s FY2013 Budget Resolution (pdf). On p. 91 a table claims he will save $205B on Medicare, compared with the “President’s Budget,” in the period 2013-2022. Put if he makes no changes to Medicare until 2023, where does that money come from? I can’t see where he or anyone else tells us.
I realize everything might change now, with Mr. Etch-a-Sketch coming up with a whole new Medicare plan that he will probably present in detail (along with his 2011 tax return) on 11/5 at 11:59 pm. But it would still be great if someone could help me resolve the contradictions I just described.
So Romney gracefully flip flops (once again) on an issue, Ryan matches his maneuver, and sticks the landing! That looks like a perfect 10 on this day’s example of synchronized flip flopping. Back to you, Bob…..
I thought Rafalca was a graceful dancer, but this latest round of spinning and twirling from Gecko/Galt is also quite impressive.
But the main reason this particular VP candidate even has a major public profile is because of his particular budget plan, and that’s certainly the main reason the Republican right supports him. So just as Romney jettisoned his own big achievement of Romneycare, Ryan tosses overboard his budget plan.
But we should trust them. Riiiiiight.
The Romney-Ryan doublespeak express is off and running. First, we have the lies about Obamacare and its impact on Medicare. Then it’s all the double-tracking on what is and is not part of the Ryan plan. And now, Ryan disowns his own plan, the very plan Mitt endorsed enthusiastically but a few months ago.
Of course, forgotten in all this doublespeak is the fact that something has to be done to contain Medicare costs. Presumably, Mitt will look to private insurers who have done such an excellent job containing costs for medical care in this country and who are, no doubt, looking to add a whole bunch of high risk seniors to their rolls. Yeah, that’ll work. Forgive my cynicism but I’ve yet to see any plausible plans for reforming our health care system or containing medicare costs come out of Mitt or his fellow Republicans.
Basic Ryan pitch: “We’ll tell you what’s what after the election.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/14/paul-ryan-taxes_n_1777353.html
So if I understand the current situation correctly, Romney and Ryan supported the cuts to Medicare, but now want to roll them back because they are the only ones willing to make the tough financial choices?
Is it even possible for the GOP ticket to be more fraudulent? This is just sad and pathetic.
Kind of like this: ‘I can’t tell you if I love you until after I leave tomorrow morning. By the way, what was your name again?’
Sorry, James, but I am just not seeing it. The quote from Ryan above says:
““I am on the Romney ticket,” Ryan told Fox’s Brit Hume. “And what Mitt Romney is proposing is to repeal all of ‘Obamacare.’ And in the House, repeatedly, I have voted with that position. I support that position. I’m pleased to support the position of getting rid of every piece of Obamacare, including the cuts to Medicare which are used to pay for Obamacare.””
There is zero inconsistent in repealing Obamacare in its entirety, and then passing the Ryan budget in its entirety. The fact that there are $700B+ in Medicare cuts in each doesn’t matter.
They are two different plans, with two different purposes. Obamacare makes Medicare more solvent in the future by cutting reimbursements to hospitals. Ryan’s budget make Medicare more solvent in the future by passing the cost on to seniors.
I think it’s more likely that he swept it under the rug until after the election.
Romney / Ryan: “We’re going to spend more on Medicare so we can end it”
James, using GWB as an example of how the VP “gets in line” with the POTUS’ decisions is probably not the best tactic, considering how legendarily Cheney swung his weight around in that particular administration.
Second, as others have already pointed out, Romney had already championed Ryan’s plan before tapping him for the ticket; for that plan to be jettisoned now, it would have to be a decision by _both_ of them.
To summarize the summary, these guys are both unrepentant bald-faced liars. Just you wait until one of them makes a speech in front of a rabid Tea Party crowd – this plan will make it’s way back into endorsement ASAP.
@john personna: Hell, I’d sign the Ryan Budget. I’d sign Simpson-Bowles. They both contain things I dislike but work to prevent I coming train wreck. But saying you’d sign something is quite different from it being your starting point for negotiations.
@Doug Mataconis: I actually think Romney’s line on this is reasonable: Ryan’s plan is a bold vision on a problem that he and Romney agree need to be addressed. That doesn’t mean he agrees on all of it and, if he’s elected president, he’ll have his own plan that differs in some ways from Ryan’s. That’s not weak; it’s obvious. And it’s almost impossible to have a running mate who agrees with you on everything.
There is no Romney plan.
Boldly going back to the days when half the senior citizens in this country had no health insurance. I’m pumped!
Wow. And you manage to sound so reasonable so much of the time.
What the hell, James? More upper-end tax cuts, vague stuff about cutting deductions (with absolutely no reason to believe this will be done such that the middle class/working class doesn’t take the hit) plus some spending cuts (military no, discretionary non-military – stuff like foodstamps and other safety net programs – cut to the bone).
You would sign that? Holy crap.
I totally understand the idea of agreeing to something that contains some stuff you don’t like in order to get an overall package that is acceptable and addresses a problem. But… I mean… have you actually looked at the Ryan plan?
If you have, and your answer is sign me up… wowza. I misjudged you.
Can someone please point out where Paul Ryan says he is repudiating the $716B Medicare budget cut from his own plan?
Ryan says he wants to repeal Obamacare. He’s never wavered on that. The fact that Obamacare and Ryan’s budget happen to have the same dollar figure in cuts to Medicare is coincidence. Once repealed, Romeny and Ryan can implement a plan that will actually work.
By the way, I don’t see it as bold or brave to decide that in times of trouble the people who should bear the brunt are those with the least ability to do so.
Remember the context here. Remember the widening income disparity that’s been going on for ~40 years now. Remember the trend in taxation (the top 1%’s effective tax rate has been dropping in 2-steps downward, 1-step up fashion for decades). More money, and a smaller % paid in taxes. Meanwhile, others are increasingly squeezed. Then add in an economic crisis. You sit down to look at projections for the coming decades and you say to yourself “gosh, we really need to cut the top marginal tax rate again and cut down on those freeloaders on food stamps. If we don’t, why, it’ll be a disaster!”
And that would be what, exactly?
Well here’s the thing. We have uncontested quotes, most recently from Mike Lofgren and his book The Party Is Over:
You are ready to reward that with a team vote. That’s what makes you a partisan.
I can’t do it. I’ve got to vote against the hostage takers.
The appropriate response to Ryan’s Randian Fantasy is The People’s Budget. Sure, it’s a lefty fantasy document. But if you’re up against a Randian fantasy, bring a fantasy of your own and negotiate into reality. Otherwise you’re gonna get screwed.
Bonus: It’s bold! Apparently that’s a big plus. Or so I hear.
This is not actually my preferred endpoint. But damn, if even the reasonble, sane Republican voter (JJ) wants the Ryan plan well, hell.
(I do want to remind you that I find Obama’s submitted plans and offers to be moderate and “pre-compromised.” I will take those over extreme Ryan-like starting points any day of the week.)
The key thing to remember is that Ryan really does want to destroy Medicare and pass on the costs to seniors. There’s really no other result that will happen if implement the Ryan plan and cut Medicare spending by 40%.
BTW, this piece illustrates the hostage-taking:
How Paul Ryan spurned deficit commission
How the heck can we rationally call a budget the candidates cannot endorse a “starting point?”
It’s plain cognitive dissonance, because (A) it isn’t the start of this story, and (B) the people you claim are starting with it, have abandoned it.
It is a “starting point” in no sense of the term.
OK, Ross Douthat explained it to me, but not in the way he wanted to. The piece is called:
Why Moderates Should Like Paul Ryan
But the repeated explanation goes like this:
Ryan is not a starting point for moderates. Obama is already there. Ryan is a starting point for the knuckle-draggers, and Douthat tells us, the only one who can bring them into the fold.
I don’t want to start out there with the “least crazy thing crazy people can accept.” I’d rather start sane.
As long as we’re into the good old days, does that mean we’re going back to the 1950s – where women didn’t have careers, there were more than enough jobs to be had for white male workers, and the top tax bracket was over 90%? Jeez, I’m deeply moved by all of this.
I got dizzy trying to follow all of these Romney/Ryan permutations. All the more reason why you don’t pick a policy wonk and especially not a committee chairman as veep.
In any event, regarding Medicare, the reality is that it’s heading for literal insolvency. Whether or not you play a shell game with it ultimately won’t matter. The demographics of it no longer work and are about to get a lot worse. There’s a huge generation out there of incipient beneficiaries (Boomers) to be supported by a small, largely unemployable generation (Gen. Y/Millennials). Does not compute. The best we can hope for is that they rapidly expand the HSA program, so that a good chunk of us can be set up to cover our prospective medical expenses in retirement without having to worry about Uncle Sam’s “safety net.”
Let’s stipulate that neither of the two candidates are proposing a long term solution for Medicare. The $700M quibble has nothing to do with a long term solution.
Here’s the 2012 Trustees Report:
You know most voters aren’t going to try to parse that. It projects that if things stay as rotten in the economy as they are now, the fund will be exhausted in 2013.
Just kidding. The fund will be exhausted in 2024. So let’s light our hair on fire.
This should be fixed, but grandstanding won’t do it. Unfortunately the challenger is grandstanding and not asking the incumbent to be any more serious.
What bothers me John, is that in no current discussion is anyone proposing that the Medicare Tax be adjusted in stages in order to augment the revenue to the program. All I hear is “Premium Support” which completely shifts the burden of increased costs onto retired Americans – where is the balance? We’re being held hostage to a cut taxes ideology.
Even though I rarely read the NY Times anymore (not even for the Knicks scores 😉 I found everything I needed to know about Ryan’s budget plan summed up in David Stockman’s op-ed “Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan” published there on August 13, 2012:
Don’t you know? Ryan never liked Rand’s work. Never! It’s all lib lies. A Chicago conspiracy. Etch a sketch… Etch s sketch!
Yes, it’s quite excellent. I like this part:
And I think that goes well with what Larison has pointed out:
Larison and Stockman are not liberals.
Thanks to commenter Anderson for originally pointing out Larison’s articles about Ryan.