Rep. Ryan's "Roadmap" Mixes & Matches The Worst Policies Of Bush And McCain

February 12, 2010 11:36 am ET

On January 27, 2010, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, the ranking member on the House Budget Committee, released a "Roadmap for America's Future" budget proposal.  Despite Ryan's efforts to frame the plan as fresh and new, a quick glance shows his ideas are simply mixed and matched from the worst policies of President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain.

Rep. Ryan's Roadmap Recycles The Failed Policies Of Bush & McCain


Privatizing Social Security

Rep. Paul Ryan

Sen. John McCain

President George W. Bush

Rep. Ryan's Budget Privatizes Social Security. According to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" budget proposal: "A system of individual accounts would be established in 2012. In that year, workers who are age 55 or younger would be able to participate in voluntary individual accounts, funded with a portion of their payroll taxes. As necessary, the government would make payments to account holders during their retirement to guarantee that their contributions earned a rate of return at least equal to the rate of inflation." [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]

McCain Supported Privatizing Social Security.  According to his campaign website, "John McCain supports supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts." [McCain Campaign Website, accessed 3/28/08]

Bush Supported Privatizing Social Security. While speaking to the American Legislative Exchange Council, President Bush said, "I strongly believe that younger workers ought to be allowed to take some of their own money and put it in a personal savings account, so they can watch their money grow at a rate greater than that which the Government can grow their money, a personal account they call their own, a personal account the Government cannot spend, a personal account they can pass on to whomever they want." [Speech to the American Legislative Exchange Council, 8/3/05; Public Papers of the Presidents]

Cutting Social Security Benefits

Rep. Paul Ryan

Sen. John McCain

President George W. Bush

Rep. Ryan's Budget Cuts Social Security Benefits.  According to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" budget proposal: "Traditional retirement benefits would be reduced below those scheduled under current law for many workers who are age 55 or younger in 2011. People with lower earnings would experience smaller reductions in benefits, and those with higher earnings would experience larger reductions. Current beneficiaries and workers who are age 55 or older in 2010 would experience no change in benefits." [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]

McCain's Campaign Called For Cuts In Social Security Benefits. The Nation reported: "McCain's economic aide, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, poured a little more oil on the fire by explaining that Social Security benefits must be cut to keep the system solvent.  'You can't keep promises made to retirees,' Holz-Eakin said." [The Nation, 3/4/08]

 

Raising Medicare Premiums

Rep. Paul Ryan

Sen. John McCain

President George W. Bush

Rep. Ryan's Budget Raises Medicare Premiums & Cuts Benefits. According to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" budget proposal: "People who are age 65 or older in 2020 and other existing enrollees at that time would continue to be covered by the current program, although some higher-income enrollees would pay higher premiums, and some program payments would be reduced." [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]

McCain Favored Raising Medicare Premiums. As reported by the Washington Post, "married retirees who make more than $160,000 a year would pay increasingly higher costs for the newly established Medicare prescription drug plans... They said the specifics of who would pay more, and how much, would be worked out later. 'You could make this as aggressive as you want to get more savings,' said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain's top policy adviser." [Washington Post, 4/15/08]

 

Raising Age Of Eligibility For Medicare

Rep. Paul Ryan

Sen. John McCain

President George W. Bush

Rep. Ryan's Budget Raises Eligibility Age For Medicare. According to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" budget proposal: "The age of eligibility for Medicare would increase incrementally from 65 (for people born before 1956), as it is under current law, to 69 years and 6 months for people born in 2022 and later." [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]

McCain Voted To Raise The Medicare Eligibility Age From 65 to 67. In 1997, McCain voted in favor of raising the eligibility age for receiving Medicare from 65 to 67 with the change being phased in between 2003 and 2027. The motion passed 62-38. [S 947, Vote #112, 6/24/97]

 

McCain Supported Increasing The Medicare Eligibility Age. In 1997, McCain voted for an increase in the eligibility age of Medicare, creating a home health co-payment, and means testing Medicare part B. McCain voted to drive healthy people from the Medicare system. The motion failed 25-75. [S 947, Vote #115, 6/25/97]

 

Privatizing Medicare

Rep. Paul Ryan

Sen. John McCain

President George W. Bush

Rep. Ryan's Budget Privatizes Medicare. According to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" budget proposal: "Starting in 2021, new enrollees would no longer receive coverage through the current program but, instead, would be given a voucher with which to purchase private health insurance.

  • In 2021, when enrollees would first receive the voucher, the average voucher for 65-year-olds would be worth $5,900 (in 2010 dollars), as specified by your staff.
  • The voucher would be adjusted to reflect the age and health status of enrollees. If all Medicare beneficiaries (including older people with higher average expenditures) were to receive a voucher in 2021, the average voucher amount would be $11,000 (in 2010 dollars)." [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]
 

Bush Favored Privatizing Medicare. According to the American Prospect, "Bush's idea of privatizing Medicare has long been promoted by conservative congressmen and the insurance industry. Seniors would be given a flat voucher, which they could spend either on traditional Medicare or on private Medicare policies run by managed-care companies. The government's contribution to the voucher would be capped, so that seniors who wanted decent coverage would have to dip into their own resources. There are multiple problems with this approach. For one thing, it has been tried and found wanting. Under a waiver provision of the current Medicare program, health insurers already can compete with conventional Medicare by taking your Medicare premium and in exchange offering more generous benefits than standard Medicare provides." [American Prospect, 9/10/00]

Taxing Health Insurance & Offering Inadequate Tax Credits

Rep. Paul Ryan

Sen. John McCain

President George W. Bush

Rep. Ryan's Budget Taxes Health Insurance Benefits & Offers Inadequate Tax Credits. According to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" budget proposal: "In 2011, the current tax exclusion for employment-based health insurance would be replaced by a refundable tax credit for the purchase of health insurance, either through an employer or on an individual basis. The tax credit initially would be set at $2,300 per adult and $1,700 per child, not to exceed $5,700 per tax-filing unit." [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]

 

McCain Proposed Taxing Health Insurance Benefits & Offering Inadequate Tax Credits. While describing the health care plan proposed by John McCain, the Washington Post wrote, "McCain's prescription would seek to lure workers away from their company health plans with a $5,000 family tax credit and a promise that, left to their own devices, they would be able to find cheaper insurance that is more tailored to their health-care needs and not tied to a particular job. Under McCain's plan, $3.6 trillion worth of tax breaks over a decade that would have gone to businesses for coverage of their employees would be redirected to individuals, regardless of whether they are covered by a company plan. [Washington Post, 4/30/08]

 

President Bush Proposed Taxing Health Insurance Benefits & Offering Inadequate Tax Credits. According to the New York Times, "Mr. McCain's health care plan would shift the emphasis from insurance provided by employers to insurance bought by individuals, to foster competition and drive down prices. To do so he is calling for eliminating the tax breaks that currently encourage employers to provide health insurance for their workers, and replacing them with $5,000 tax credits for families to buy their own insurance. His proposal to move away from employer-based coverage was similar to one that President Bush pushed for last year, to little effect. And his call for expanding coverage through market-based competition is in stark contrast to the Democrats' proposals to move toward universal health care coverage, with government subsidies to help lower-income people afford their premiums." [New York Times, 4/30/08]

Freezing Spending

Rep. Paul Ryan

Sen. John McCain

President George W. Bush

Rep. Ryan's Budget Freezes Spending For TEN YEARS. According to the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" budget proposal: "From 2010 through 2019, nondefense discretionary spending would be frozen at 2009 levels in nominal terms. In addition, the Roadmap would rescind all unobligated discretionary funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5) and would reduce the amount of assets that could be purchased under the Troubled Asset Relief Program." [Congressional Budget Office, 1/27/10]

 

McCain Proposed A Freeze Of Discretionary Spending. Speaking at Carnegie Melon University, John McCain said, "As president, I will also order a prompt and thorough review of the budgets of every federal program, department, and agency. While that top to bottom review is underway, we will institute a one-year pause in discretionary spending increases with the necessary exemption of military spending and veterans benefits." [McCain Remarks on the Economy at Carnegie Melon University, 4/15/08]

Bush Proposed A Freeze Of Discretionary Spending. According to the Washington Post, "McCain will also call for 'a pause' in discretionary spending increases to allow for a 'top-down review' of all government programs and agencies except veterans benefits and military spending. That proposal also mirrors the freeze in discretionary spending that Bush has had in place the past several years." [Washington Post, 4/15/08]

 

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