Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Rep. Ryan's Roadmap: Can we look at it without Partisan Glasses?

Rep. Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his Roadmap for America this week. As anticipated the reactions have been predictable from the Left from scaring the elderly in believing their Medicare is going away, the rich will get all the breaks, and changes to SSN will keep it from those that are poor or disabled. Let's look at it and see where it really goes. Shortly after the Obama was elected President he commissioned a bipartisan group to tackle the deficit and propose a plan. While I did touch on the results and did not like all the things found within it, why has Obama backed away from it?

But I digress. Here are the high points, per the Roadmap, put forth by Rep. Ryan(http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/UploadedFiles/Roadmap2Final2.pdf):

Health Care

Provides a refundable tax credit – $2,300 for individuals and $5,700 for
families – to purchase coverage in any State, and keep it with them if
they move or change jobs.

Establishes transparency in health care price and quality data, so this
critical information is readily available before an individual needs health
services.

Modernizes Medicaid and strengthens the health care safety net by
reforming high-risk pools, giving States maximum flexibility to tailor Medicaid programs to the specific needs of their populations. Allows
Medicaid recipients to take part in the same variety of options by using
the tax credit to purchase high-quality care.

Medicare

Preserves the existing Medicare program for those 55 or older.

For those currently under 55 – as they become Medicare-eligible –
creates a Medicare payment averaging $11,000 per year when fully
phased in. Adjusts the payment for inflation, and pegs it to income, with
low-income individuals receiving greater support. Provides risk
adjustment, so those with greater medical needs receive a higher
payment.

In addition to the Medicare payment, establishes and fully funds Medical
Savings Accounts [MSAs] for low-income beneficiaries (to cover out-ofpocket costs), while continuing to allow all beneficiaries, regardless of
income, to set up tax-free MSAs.

Makes Medicare permanently solvent, based on Congressional Budget
Office [CBO] estimates and consultation with the Office of the Actuary
of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Social Security

Preserves the existing Social Security program for those 55 or older.

Offers workers under 55 the option of investing over one third of their
current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, similar to
the Thrift Savings Plan available to Federal employees. Includes a
property right so they can pass on these assets to their heirs, and a
guarantee that individuals will not lose a dollar they contribute to their
accounts, even after inflation.

Makes the program permanently solvent, according to the CBO, by
combining a more realistic measure of growth in Social Security’s initial
benefits, with a gradual, modest increase in the retirement age, consistent
with Americans’ improving lifespans.

Tax Reform

Provides taxpayers a choice of how to pay their income taxes – through
existing law, or through a highly simplified income tax system that fits
on a postcard with just two rates and virtually no special tax deductions,
credits, or exclusions (except the health care tax credit).

Simplifies tax rates to 10 percent on income up to $100,000 for joint
filers, and $50,000 for single filers; and 25 percent on taxable income
above these amounts. Also includes a generous standard deduction and
personal exemption (totaling $39,000 for a family of four).

Eliminates the alternative minimum tax [AMT].

Promotes saving by eliminating taxes on interest, capital gains, and
dividends; also eliminates the death tax.

Replaces the corporate income tax – currently the second highest in the
industrialized world – with a border-adjustable business consumption tax
of 8.5 percent. This new rate is roughly half that of the rest of the
industrialized world.

So where in here does Rep. Ryan look to take SSN and Medicare away from the elderly? How are the rich getting rich?