In recent articles and interviews, there's a lot of discussion from House Republicans on their plan to privatize Social Security and dismantle Medicare in their alternative budget. This budget was written by the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (WI-1). This budget puts in writing the specifics of what the Republicans would like to do to address the recession - and they start by privatizing Social Security, and dismantling Medicare. If implemented, this budget would put the full weight of this recession on the shoulders of seniors who paid into Social Security for their whole lives.
"With bailed-out Wall Street banks giving out $100 million bonuses, I can't understand why House Republicans also want to give them Social Security," said Rep. Eric Massa. "My jaw almost hit the floor when I found out that House Republicans actually introduced a budget which would turn over Social Security to Wall Street executives and destroy Medicare. Everyone deserves to know exactly where their member of Congress stands on this critical issue and today I am reiterating my opposition to this radical plan. It is absolutely unconscionable to put the cost of this recession squarely on the backs of our seniors who have worked hard all their lives to earn their Social Security and Medicare payments. Returning to failed Bush-era ideas, like putting the retirement of our seniors into hedge funds, is exactly what we don't need as our economy begins to grow and improve."
Ezra Klein of The Washington Post explains the implications that the Medicare provisions in Congressman Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget alternative would have on America's seniors:
"The proposal would shift risk from the federal government to seniors themselves. The money seniors would get to buy their own policies would grow more slowly than their health-care costs, and more slowly than their expected Medicare benefits, which means that they'd need to either cut back on how comprehensive their insurance is or how much health-care they purchase This proposal would take Medicare from costing an expected 14.3 percent of GDP in 2080 to less than 4 percent. That's trillions of dollars that's not going to health care for seniors. The audacity is breathtaking." [2/1/10]
From the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the Ryan proposal:
"The age of eligibility for Medicare would increase incrementally from 65 (for people born before 1956), as it is under current law, to 69 years and 6 months for people born in 2022 and later. Starting in 2021, new enrollees would no longer receive coverage through the current program but, instead, would be given a voucher with which to purchase private health insurance." [1/27/10]
Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) spoke about the Republican plan to privatize Social Security yesterday on MSNBC's "Hardball":
"But [for] those under 55, we have to start a transition to a new system I`m happy to say that I`m willing to say that that part of the social contract is going to have to be reengineered We had this debate in Social Security a few years ago. Now, ultimately, we weren`t victorious. There will be a transition. If you want to say that those under 55, as a transition, are they going to get the same deal as their parents? No, probably not." [MSNBC's Hardball, 2/1/10]
From the CBO analysis of the Ryan budget proposal:
"Traditional retirement benefits would be reduced below those scheduled under current law for many workers who are age 55 or younger in 2011 A system of individual accounts would be established in 2012. In that year, workers who are age 55 or younger would be able to participate in voluntary individual accounts, funded with a portion of their payroll taxes." [1/27/10]