Paul Ryan admits that he’s an “end Medicare as we know it” candidate.
But, somehow, we are not supposed to think that he would actually end the popular and successful healthcare program for the elderly, as well as related Medicaid programs for the poor and people with disabilities.
The “as we know it” part provides a sort of cover, at least in the eyes of a media that is more inclined toward stenography than journalism.
Never mind that Ryan, a rabid reader of government-can-do-no-good fanatic Ayn Rand, goes positively wide-eyed when he starts talking about how desperately he wants to downsize government—and shift control of healthcare and retirement programs to the insurance and Wall Street interests that so generously fund his campaigns. We’re not supposed to talk about the long-term crony-capitalist scheme of certain Republicans to do away with government programs that work so that private sector profiteers can come in and create programs that don’t work—except for private sector profiteers.
Never mind that the Republican nominee for vice president has a long history of decrying Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in Randian terms such as “collectivist” and “socialistic.”
Never mind that Ryan has griped that “Social Security right now is a collectivist system. It’s a welfare transfer system.”
Never mind that, as recently as 2010, Ryan dismissed Medicare and Medicaid as part of a “socialist based system” that needs to be replaced.
The red flags are not supposed to go up until someone actually says they want to, you know, “do away with Medicaid and Medicare.”
Never mind that, even now, Ryan complains about how America is being overwhelmed by “takers” (citizens who claim benefits to which they are entitled) and the “welfare state” (Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid).
Only when a candidate starts talking about ending entitlement programs—as in “doing away” with them—can we be serious about the immediate threat those programs actually face.