Michael Maiello's picture

    Paul Ryan Says You're Lazy

    Late last year, as The Daily was setting up for its launch, I wrote a few sample columns that never saw the light of day beyond the various product testers and decisionsmakers within News Corp.  This was my first one, about Paul Ryan, who just today came out with a plan to "fix" Medicare by killing the program and moving future retirees back into the private insurance market that was historically so bad for retirees that we needed Medicare to fix it.

    As the next congress is sworn in, Representative Paul Ryan (R – Wisconsin) will take over as chair of the House Budget Committee, which now must be officially known as “the powerful House Budget Committee” since that’s how it appears on first reference most of the time.  Ryan is D.C.-young (he’s 40) and he thinks you’re a slovenly wimp who has been reduced to begging your government for alms whenever you can recover the will to break free of your general shiftlessness.

    While other politicians of all stripes talk about the industry, ingenuity and selfless commitment of the American worker, Paul Ryan says:

    “Americans have been lured into viewing government – more than themselves, their
    families, their communities, their faith – as their main source of support; they have been
    drawn toward depending on the public sector for growing shares of their material and
    personal well-being.  The trend drains individual initiative and personal responsibility. It creates an aversion to risk, sapping the entrepreneurial spirit necessary for growth, innovation, and prosperity. In turn, it subtly and gradually suffocates the creative potential for prosperity.”

    He can’t stand you.  You’re like his Mom’s brother who shows up late for the holiday dinner, doesn’t bring a bottle of wine and spends most of the evening cadging beers out of the fridge and trying to talk grandpa into giving him more money.  It’s all in Ryan’s “A Roadmap For America’s Future” which you can read here if you can be bothered to activate the link.

    Ryan’s proof that Americans have lost the will to work and prosper is a statistic he cites from the Tax Foundation, a group that calls itself a non-partisan educational association so that it can solicit donations to further its entirely partisan mission to cut taxes for wealthy people.  Ryan says that 60% of Americans receive more in government services than they pay in taxes.  The Tax Foundation helpfully points out that it’s the bottom 60% who are the freeloaders.  We’re all on welfare now.  Except for the top 40%, who pay more in taxes than they get.  These are society’s patrons.

    By the Tax Foundation’s calculations, you get the best deal if you’re in the bottom 10% of wage earners.  For every dollar they make they get $10.44 in services.  These services include the usual suspects like welfare benefits, food stamps, the earned income tax credit, Medicaid and other direct transfers of wealth and resources. Good Times.  Remember that show?  Of course, these people make less than $11,000 a year.  While their taxpayer funded haul sounds generous, the Tax Foundation also assumes that they get their proportionate share of government services that are available to everyone:  National Parks; The Smithsonian; Interstate highway maintenance; The air traffic control system.  As if everyone makes the same proportionate use of these public assets and federal money spent on airport security means as much to some one living in a car as it does to an executive with a corporate jet.  These calculations are basically a fiction.  The numbers work but they don’t accurately reflect life.  The rich and the poor share NASA alike, but only Richard Branson has a shot at getting into space.

    The Tax Foundation imagines some sort of rich man’s burden at work in society, one that conservatives have seized on as not only economically unsustainable but one that’s unhealthy for a democracy.  People have become dependent, as Ryan argues.  Those who take more than they give have little stake in the future of the entire enterprise.  They will defend their entitlements but little else.  They become childish and antisocial.  This could be a very bad thing.

    Now let’s look at the other side of the ledger.  According to the Tax Foundation’s numbers, the top 40% of wage earners take in 73.6% of the income (See here, page 5).  But income certainly isn’t evenly distributed among the top earners.  The top 10% take in 40% of the earnings America produces and taxes in a given year.  The top 1% gets 17% of annual wages.  That top 1% is paying $63,000 more per year than the Tax Foundation says they get in services.  But they make an average $2.1 million a year.  Perhaps they could try living that kind of lifestyle in Colombia, where they would need to hire their own private armies for protection, rather than living here in the U.S. where they are likely admired and are at worst envied in an entirely friendly way.  I think most would call the 63 grand they’re out worth the benefits of living in a fully functioning and open society.



    Whatever, I say Paul Ryan is a Kochsucker... hahahahaha.


    Stardust had this link to "Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1%" by Joseph Stiglitz recently. It pretty well explains what is going on with the GOP today, I support Obama, as weak as he is at times, dealing with the nutcases on the other side and the ignoramus US voters is challenging to say the least.

    As to 'the rich' and taxes, since the (1) federal income tax receipts, and (2) social security/medicare payroll tax receipts, are nearly the same % of federal tax receipts (38-41%), and since low and middle wage earners pay the bulk of SS tax, and do so on 100% of their income, and the rich don't pay SS on income above around 100k, and since all the money is spent immediately, the fact is the upper 10% with 40% of the income, in fact pay only about 18% or so of federal tax receipts (while getting 40% of the income). I calculated this with links on another post, anyone interested can look into it for themselves.

    Good math sleuthing, NCD!

    On the general topic of Social Security and taxes, Robert Reich discussed the issue of how as incomes of the rich suck more and more income above the SS tax limit ($106k-which doesn't include capital gains, just wages) then the receipts of SS tax fall, and those with high incomes pay less and less as a % of their income. This along with the fact that when Reagan 'saved' SS in the 80's by raising the SS rate on wage earners, and the retirement age, while at the same time giving huge taxcuts for the rich.

    The government then used the increased SS wage taxes to fill in for the taxcuts on the wealthy and to fund operations, stealthily putting  "IOU's in a drawer' (Bush-2005, West Virginia) - known as the SS Trust Fund, which they have no intention of paying back from general revenues.

    It was the biggest bait and switch on American workers in history.

    Reich from link above:

    Back in 1983, the ceiling was set so the Social Security payroll tax would hit 90 percent of all wages covered by Social Security. That 90 percent figure was built into the Greenspan Commission’s fixes. The Commission assumed that, as the ceiling rose with inflation, the Social Security payroll tax would continue to hit 90 percent of total income.

    Today, though, the Social Security payroll tax hits only about 84 percent of total income (my note-and has never hit capital gains which in other western nations is taxed the same as wages)

    If we want to go back to 90 percent, the ceiling on income subject to the Social Security tax would need to be raised to $180,000.

    Presto. Social Security’s long-term (beyond 26 years from now) problem would be solved.....

    Oh and look... since Ryan prefers some sort of VAT tax, which will disproportionately affect people with less money who have to spend more of their incomes, his plan is actually a tax cut for anyone making over $127,000 a year.




    So the GOP and Ryan want to 'save the children' by sending their Medicare tax dollars straight to Wall Street and for-profit health insurance companies, and ending Medicare. Then the GOP wants to top it off by slapping a 10% income tax (VAT) increase on the poor and middle class, or anyone who spends most of their income, which the rich do not.

    Ryan is right, you know.  Because "competition" between insurance companies is working out so well.  They compete amongst themselves over healthy 20 - 30 year-old employed people, and charge an arm and a leg to everyone else.

    They"ll all be fighting over the 80 year-olds who are on 15 different medications.  Right.  This is so sick, I don't know where to start.

    Compare our costs to countries that have full health coverage AND ALSO BETTER OUTCOMES than ours, and their BS is exposed.  But NOOOOOOOOOO,  That is elitist!

    The utter shit that they put out about health care is insulting to anyone who can read at a 5th grade level. 

    When they really start losing the argument, they cite stories about Canadians streaming over our borders for health care.  I like to respond that I went to the doctor the other day, and I must have gotten there just in time, because I didn't have to wait behind a bunch of canucks!

    LIARS ALL!, and with the goal of ruining our country!  It is shameful.


    Great analogy to compare the $63k extra spent in taxes here to the cost of living in a Bannana Republic that is fully out of the closet Destor.  Start factoring in the personal bodyguards and armored limos the rich will soon find indispensable given our current societal trajectory, and paying $63k/yr begins to look like a rational decision in their own self interest.

    I don't think I can adquately express my utter contempt for Paul Ryan. But I tried to during the health care debate. He is a ridulously misinformed lightweight who would serve society better if he resigned from Congress and made Tony Robbins-like infomercials.

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