(h/t Dave at VideoCafe)
Ah, the bliss of being an Ayn Rand devotee. Reality doesn't need to apply, because your whole economic outlook is wrapped around a badly written book of fiction cum philosophical treatise. The word "fiction" should clue you in that it does not--and cannot--exist in reality.
But that doesn't stop Paul Ryan from creating a budget and economic plan for the entire country based on similarly fictional premises:
are Ryan’s numbers just driven by the Heritage Foundation’s laughable macroeconomic projections? The answer is that, no, they’re not. The reason is that Ryan’s proposals are all oriented around shares of GDP. On taxes, for example, he proposes cuts in the income tax rates paid by high-income people and then stipulates that total revenue will nonetheless equal the Bush share of GDP via a mysterious middle class tax increase. Similarly, what he does with Medicare is first privatize it, and then stipulate that the private vouchers will grow at the rate of general inflation plus one percent. Under that plan, Medicare spending as a share of GDP shrinks by definition. This also means that every time the engineers in Silicon Valley find out a way to make a cheaper computer, your Medicare benefits go down. And he does something similar to Medicaid, and then he does it again to basically every anti-poverty program out there. The math of this part of his agenda is totally impeccable. What’s deficient is the public policy and this is where Heritage’s bad math kicks in. After all, why would you enact this crazy agenda? Now in the case of Paul Ryan the answer is pretty clear—he’s an Ayn Rand fanatic who believes that any effort, whether public or private, to help the poor is immoral.
Which is why a rather large grain of salt MUST be taken by Ryan's Randian assurances that killing Medicare and Social Security will end up costing seniors less. Is that why KV Pharmaceutical suddenly upped the price of Makena $5,000 when given the exclusive patent rights?
Truly, there's nothing that makes sense of Ryan's Randian claims. The reason Medicare is going bankrupt is because we continually opt to take money away from social programs in order to make up for corporate and upper income tax breaks. This is very much a case where "throwing money at it" *would* solve the problem. But this is part and parcel of the 30 year campaign to eliminate the social safety net, as Jon Perr writes.
But as with my discussion in the Bobblehead thread, this is where I get stuck with Ryan's plan: the consequences. Seniors may be living longer, but they need medical care for those additional years. Under Ryan's plan, the government won't be paying it...but those costs don't go away. Who do you think is paying for it? Seniors don't have that additional income--especially if Ryan gets his way and dismantles Social Security to boot. So who makes up that cost? It's an easy answer: you do. And your children, and your grandchildren. Those costs get passed on to all of us. And that's not cost effective, or economical.
But try telling that to a Randian.