New York City
Contrary to your editorial “A Serious Man” [April 25], those of us over 55 would also be affected by Ryancare. Paul Ryan’s scheme to destroy Medicare is a prescription for intergenerational warfare. Americans under 55 and not eligible for Medicare will become resentful of Medicare beneficiaries. As those of us over 55 die off, the voting bloc for Medicare will become smaller and smaller, Medicare funding will decrease, services will be reduced and fewer doctors will accept Medicare payments. Newt Gingrich will have achieved his goal of having Medicare “wither on the vine.” I am 65. If I live to be 85, I doubt Medicare will be there for me, either.
The Medicare issue seems a smoke screen. What should really have citizens concerned is Paul Ryan’s proposal to lower the highest individual tax rate from 33 to 25 percent. Perhaps we should raise that rate from 33 to 50 percent (Reagan-era rates). Now that would be “serious.”
Paul Ryan’s plan for Medicare in three sentences: (1) eliminate Medicare for those under 55; (2) shift the cost of Medicare to future seniors by issuing vouchers that don’t keep up with healthcare inflation; (3) hope that today’s seniors are stupid/greedy/selfish enough to go along with this. Ryan’s plan follows the standard right-wing playbook—pit one group against another (private vs. public sector workers, nonunion vs. union, rich vs. poor, young vs. old) and privatize everything in sight. It’s a simple strategy—divide and conquer. Congressional Democrats, President Obama, progressive TV and radio talk-show hosts need to be out there with simple charts (à la Ross Perot) to explain this. We don’t have a minute to waste, because Medicare isn’t the only program in jeopardy.
In “Axis of Fundamentalism: Gainesville to Mazar-i-Sharif” [April 25] Patricia J. Williams shows us what can happen when words are infused with unreflective self-righteousness and wielded as weapons in confused and overheated rhetoric. Too often they become metaphors that fundamentalists hate, kill and die by. Psychiatrist Silvano Arieti wrote about aspects of the thinking of adult schizophrenics, also typically found in children 1 to 4, characterized by a primitive form of logic that Arieti called “paleologic.” Misconceptions based on it in the child may confuse him and amuse his parents, while those of the psychotic may be bizarre and idiosyncratic. But paleologic inspired by fundamentalist fervor in otherwise normal adults can be lethal.