“We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit. Frankly it’s the health-care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt…that’s really where the problem lies, fiscally speaking.”
— Paul Ryan, Dec. 6, 2017 on a talk radio show.
Amazing. You have to give Ryan credit for consistency and a kind of brutal Republican honesty. Within weeks of pushing a huge tax cut for corporations and the wealthy, he’s basically saying Republicans plan to pay for that by making cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
Ryan’s “Roadmap for America” laid it all out in 2008: privatize Social Security, transform Medicare into a premium support plan, and block grant Medicaid.
Of course, Ryan is correct about these programs from a “fiscally-speaking” point of view. The three do make up the lion’s share of the federal budget and their current rate of growth is unsustainable. Come 2035 and beyond they would start to gobble up almost the whole federal budget. The three programs will comprise about 50 percent of the $4.1 trillion federal budget in 2018.
And here’s a whooping number for you: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will cost the government $28 trillion through 2027.
But let’s be very clear about what is happening now that could set a dangerous precedent for the future. The Republican-led House and Senate, with the support of the Trump administration, have passed tax reform bills that primarily cut taxes for corporations and people making over $150,000 a year.