Tuesday, April 05, 2011


I'm looking at Paul Ryan's Wall Street Journal op-ed defending his Medicare-killing budget plan, and I think this is the line that most offends me:

But because government should not force people to reorganize their lives, its reforms will not affect those in or near retirement in any way.

The nerve of this little elitist. My wife and I are in our early fifties -- fairly close to retirement, yet still young enough, under Ryan's plan, to be thrown on the tender mercies of the free market for our health care when we're old -- and I just want to know what he thinks people in our situation do. Does he think we just sit around blissfully ignoring the passing of time until about about, oh, 64 or so, and then make our plans for how we're going to survive retirement in a couple of hours one evening? Does he think we don't worry about this, and strategize for it, years and even decades before retirement is imminent?

Paul Ryan is 41 years old. He's a career politician with 12 years' service in the House and decades more to look forward to -- that is, if he's not named VP, treasury secretary, or Fed chairman by a future Republican president, in which case he'll make even more than he makes now, which is three times the national household median.

His retirement income will almost certainly start with both a generous federal pension and income from a defined-contribution plan -- members of Congress, unlike most workers, get both.

And all that is a drop in the bucket, because, of course, at some point in his life he'll almost certainly become an obscenely paid lobbyist, Fox News commentator, or (most likely) both. He'll get think tank sinecures and he'll be named to corporate boards. He'll pull down single-speech speaking fees that march a teacher's annual salary. In other words -- unlike the vast majority of us -- he knows he'll never be involuntarily unemployed, and he'll always be employed at a very pleasant level of income.

What the hell does he know about having to "reorganize" one's life? His life is already organized very nicely, thank you.


UPDATE: Booman Tribune's Steven D and his wife are also just under 55, though a lot less fortunate in matters of health than my wife and I have been. Read Steven's heartbreaking post to learn what's really going to happen to a lot of people if Ryanomics prevails.

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