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January 28, 2015

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Line of Attack: Does the GOP want to kill Medicare, outsource jobs and raise taxes?

Editor’s note: Line of Attack is a weekly feature in which we parse a political attack, looking at the strategy behind it, how the campaign is delivering it and what facts support or refute it. We’ll assign it a rating on the fairness meter: Legit, Eye Roll, Guffaw, Laughable or Outrageous.

Attack: Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan -- oh and Dean Heller too -- plan to end Medicare, outsource your job and increase your taxes so the rich can get richer.

Method of Delivery: It started as a series of web ads running on Nevada-focused sites (including this one). Now, we’re one of 23 states in which members of the AFL-CIO, and AFL-CIO affiliated Super PAC Workers’ Voice are going door-to-door handing out viewers’ guides to the Republican National Convention.

Strategy: Rain on the Republicans’ parade worse than Hurricane Isaac. The conventions are the first burst of the parties’ big finish, like that moment in Stars and Stripes Forever when the flag above the band is supposed to unfurl: If it goes off without a hitch, the audience claps and cheers you all the way home; if it’s botched, everyone leaves unsatisfied. Republicans have centerstage all week, and while the AFL-CIO can’t hijack the GOP show, they can try to influence the at-home audience with a bad pre-performance review.

Fairness Meter: We’ve been hearing this line of attack on a loop for the past year, but let’s parse this now charge by charge.

Ryan’s plan wouldn’t end Medicare. Yet it raises the age of eligibility by two years (from 65 to 67) and changes Medicare from an insurance program to an insurance-subsidy (or voucher) program. That likely leaves seniors with less bargaining power, and hence, less purchasing power, as the subsidy is pegged to the Consumer Price Index, which isn’t rising as fast as the cost of health care. Still, it’s not ending Medicare, so this attack ranks a Guffaw.

On outsourcing: Romney wants the US to adopt a “territorial” system where companies only pay taxes on income made on US soil, instead of the difference between the national 35 percent rate and foreign rates (average: 26 percent) when they bring profits home. Opponents say making foreign income permanently tax-free encourages more outsourcing. But Romney’s plan also drops the US rate to 25 percent, severely lessening the blow vis-a-vis most foreign countries, like China -- but not the Caymans. Eye roll.

Finally, they charge Romney cuts taxes for the rich while raising them on the middle class. The Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year; Democrats want to extend them on income up to $250,000; Romney favors extending them for everybody. But his tax plan doesn’t extend some tax benefits popular with lower- and middle-class filers -- bringing their effective tax rate up. Legit.

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  1. "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan -- oh and Dean Heller too -- plan to end Medicare"

    You forgot the ending of that statement that is in every line from Democrats which states "plan to end Medicare AS WE KNOW IT".

    Simply put, privatizing Medicare (Ryan's voucher plan) would end Medicare as we know it. When the CBO scored Ryan's plan it concluded increased costs would be shifted to seniors to the tune of $6,000 per year. That is the non-partisan CBO's conclusion, not democrat operatives.

  2. Question, will the privatization of Medicare allow insurer's the right to turn down senior's for pre-existing conditions, such as OLD AGE? Yes medicare will end as we know it.
    To wizard. I don't consider Soc. Sec. and medicare as entitlements. I've earned their benefits! Soc. Sec. is good for the next 25 years without changing benefits. After that monthly payments will go down about 20%. If you consider these as entitlements then you've been watching too much faux news.

  3. Enjoyed the article, Karoun.

    One thing that should be added to this snapshot of recent political histrionics by Tea/Republican Party and the Ryan Plan is this truth: For years and years and years and years and years, they have tried to destroy Medicare anyway they can. If they can outright get rid of it, that's good for them. If they can wreck it and marginalize it, so that it will whither away over a period of time, that's good to them too. But this Ryan Plan is the most insiduous, it plans to make it disappear by separating generations of Americans...oh, it don't effect senior citizens that vote effects those younger Americans...the ones that could care less to vote. You ask me, this is the most nefarious attempt I've ever seen by the Tea/Republicans to make an important American institution die off. By planned obsolescence.

    C'mon, voters, both young and old. Wake up. Their goal is still the same, just the method changes with the wind.

    Medicare is here to stay. PERIOD. Make the Tea/Republicans sit down at the table to discuss and negotiate ways to strengthen and make Medicare last. WITHIN the existing system. Rather than trying to replace it with something inferior, guaranteed not only to kill off an integral American plan to help people, but to kill off the very people themselves in future generations through indifference, uncaringness and blatant disregard for the health, safety and very lives of Americans.

  4. @ NVFisherman...

    "This article seems to have been ghost written by some Democratic flunkee."

    Did you even READ the article?
    If you did, your reading comprehension needs some work.

    As to the Rmoney/Ryan Medicare debacle, it's a DOOZY!

    "Ryan Plan Would Crush Seniors Beneath Mounting Medical Costs"

    "Romney/Ryan Medicare plan bad for America's health"

    "Report: Seniors to pay $60,000 more under Romney/Ryan Medicare plan"

  5. When candidates say bluntly and directly - let's end the Department of Education. Let's get rid of teachers.

    Frankly, I don't need to parse that. You had me at hello. I KNOW what you are about.

    I would hope that common sense would prevail but I have to the vote for the President - because no matter how you parse this recent rhetoric - the GOP has gone extremist CRAZYTOWN.

    Run away - don't stick around to parse.

  6. The GOP has tried to eliminate Medicare since it came out. Now they say they want to 'keep' Medicare but will change the operating principals to eliminate affordability and increase profit. This is equivalent to changing the menu at McDonald's to hot dogs and chili-dogs and leaving all else intact.

    Environmental law treated as a financial inconvenience.

    Public education will be taken apart and replaced with schools teaching 3,500 year old religious philosophy that has a strong disdain for reality.

    Romney's energy independence means selling our continental oil abroad with profits going to a very few. These plans, if carried out, will sell the last of our petroleum reserves to international sources, since there is no law that can prevent any private company from selling to the rest of the world (axis of evil countries excepted).

    Romney's energy plans will consume our reserves for the future and leave this country wasted.

  7. With no action, Medicare will die an unnatural death. With the billions, President O. has stolen, the death is much sooner. With changes, AND enforcement of fraud against vendors AND people claiming to be beneficiaries we can save Medicare and preclude Mr. O from merging it with Medicaid so ONLY THE DESTITUTE and career dependents get any benefits.

  8. teamster,

    Do you have any idea of the average life expectancy today? According to the SSA website, men at age 58 today can expect to reach age 83 on average. That is about 8 years more SS benefits than when the program was first started.

    Increasing the retirement ages by 2 years is not unreasonable at all given our longer life expectancies. And I am willing to bet that in the next 10 years they will increase again.

    I just ran the numbers for myself today. If I retire at age 66, 8 years from now, I will receive about $500k between when I retire and when I die at age 83 according to the tables.

    Given that I am 58 now, there is a VERY good chance that there will be more advances in medicine that will push my life expectancy even further out in the next 10 - 20 years. SS *MUST* adapt to this somehow, either higher taxes, or a completely new system for younger people.

  9. Wizard, sorry ot took so long to get back to your so incorrect response. You just repeat the extreme right. SS is an insurance not an entitlement. It began as an insurance to guarantee retirement income for those who couldn't afford it. Whats wrong with Medicare?? We are the only Industrialized country without a national health plan per se. Medicaid (and I never mentioned it) is an entitlement for the indigent. And we have to take care of those who can't take care of themselves. That's what good Christians, Jews, Muslims etc. do. They take care of their fellow man. I suggest you do a little more research and quit listening to the drug addled rush, the air head hannity and those imbeciles at faux news.