Must-Read Op-Eds for August 20, 2012

Updated
 
TRUTH AND LIES ABOUT MEDICARE
EDITORIAL
NEW YORK TIMES

Republican attacks on President Obama’s plans for Medicare are growing more heated and inaccurate by the day. Both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan made statements last week implying that the Affordable Care Act would eviscerate Medicare when in fact the law should shore up the program’s finances. Both men have also twisted themselves into knots to distance themselves from previous positions, so that voters can no longer believe anything they say. …The likelihood that they would stand by that irresponsible pledge after the election is close to zero. And the likelihood that they would be better able than Democrats to preserve Medicare for the future (through a risky voucher system that may not work well for many beneficiaries) is not much better.

AN UNSERIOUS MAN
BY PAUL KRUGMAN
NEW YORK TIMES

Ryanomics is and always has been a con game, although to be fair, it has become even more of a con since Mr. Ryan joined the ticket. … if we add up Mr. Ryan’s specific proposals, we have $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, partially offset by around $1.7 trillion in spending cuts — with the tax cuts, surprise, disproportionately benefiting the top 1 percent, while the spending cuts would primarily come at the expense of low-income families. Over all, the effect would be to increase the deficit by around two and a half trillion dollars.  Yet Mr. Ryan claims to be a deficit hawk. What’s the basis for that claim? FALSE PIETY AND THE MEDICARE DEBATE
BY EJ DIONNE JR
WASHINGTON POST

On the budget, the fear is that because President Obama is attacking Paul Ryan’s fiscal road map and because Mitt Romney is responding by assailing the Medicare savings in Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Congress will be scared away from reducing the government’s health-care costs. In this view, the campaign will poison the well for future budget talks. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is we cannot have honest budget negotiations until we resolve one big question: Will new revenue — yes, higher taxes — be part of a budget deal or not? The election will settle where the country stands on this proposition.

WHY RYAN MIGHT BE RIGHT
BY ROBERT J. SAMUELSON
WASHINGTON POST

Limits must be imposed on the health sector. There are no pleasing ways to do this. Still, the increasing evidence from large-scale experience is that market mechanisms offer the best chance of reconciling Americans’ desire for personal choice with cost control. If there are better ideas, let’s hear them. Otherwise, we shouldn’t reject the obvious merely because it’s unfamiliar. Voucher plans are not right-wing, extremist ideas. They enjoy support in both parties. Ryan would permit continuation of fee-for-service; if it’s more efficient and effective, it would survive. If not, its decline would be no great loss. The Ryan plan’s greatest defect may be that it doesn’t start for a decade. We can’t wait that long.

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Must-Read Op-Eds for August 20, 2012

Updated