Womack confesses ignorance about the Ryan Medicare plan

The Arkansas Democrat Gazette today reported on Steve Womack’s ignorance about the Ryan budget plan. It’s worthwhile reading some excerpts:

Womack challenges Democrats for its Medicare plan

Rep. Steve Womack, criticized Sen. Mark Pryor on Tuesday for “lashing out” at a Republican plan to privatize Medicare. (…) The Republican said Democrats have no plan to save Medicare, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projects to be insolvent as early as 2020. (…)

The Democratic Senator [Mark Pryor] was quoted in Tuesday’s Democrat-Gazette saying if the Ryan plan were passed into law, the elderly would pay for about 68 percent of their health care costs, up from the about 25 percent they currently pay. (…) “It greatly, greatly shifts the burden of paying for your health care to you and takes away the Medicare system,” Pryor said. “Shifting the cost to seniors is not the answer, it’s not the solution.”

“I don’t know where he’s getting those numbers”, Womack said after Tuesday’s Bella Vista town hall-style meeting. “Pryor said he can’t support our plan. Well, where’s his plan?”
Womack said he didn’t know if the numbers cited by Pryor are accurate.

Yep, Womack says we should support his “plan” but he doesn’t even know whether it’s true that it would shift 68% of health care costs on the elderly (in other words, it would ruin and/or deny health care to millions of retired persons, most of whom could never afford to pay for two thirds of their health expenses out of pocket). If he really doesn’t know, he must have lived under a rock for the past couple months because the 68% figure has been widely reported. If Womack really doesn’t know where Pryor got his numbers, he must be ignorant, incompetent, and not doing his job, and a cynical hypocrite on top of all that. The numbers are, of course, the result of an analysis by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), as anybody who has paid any attention to this issue would know.

This of course raises the question whether the journalist (Bill Bowden) knows these facts. He certainly should, and if he doesn’t, he should have asked Pryor where he got his numbers. One would think that it was the journalist’s duty to provide the crucial information (where the numbers came from and how credible they are) to readers. But he doesn’t. Instead, the journalist leaves readers with the impression that this is all say-so and nobody really knows. It’s another sad case of “he said/she said” journalism: Democrat claims 2+2=4, Republican either denies it outright or counters that he has no idea where D got those numbers from, and newspaper titles “Views differ over the result of 2+2”. In this case, just look at the headline the ADG came up with: Instead of “Womack confesses ignorance”, it is “Womack challenges Democrats”.

The article further down attempts a summary of the Ryan budget plan. It states that

“it wouldn’t balance the government’s books until 2040, in part because it also would cut corporate and individual tax rates.”

Ok but can you be a bit more specific? By how much does Ryan propose to cut tax rates, and who would benefit? Ryan is specific about that and so should the newspaper: the top tax rates would be cut from 35% to 25%, massively benefiting the rich and the super-rich.

Does the ADG think its readers can’t handle the truth?


2 thoughts on “Womack confesses ignorance about the Ryan Medicare plan

  1. Twenty five per cent (25%) would be higher than most of the super rich currently pay.
    With most earning from capital gains which is now taxed at the Cheney-rate of 15%
    Ryans new guidelines would be an increase. But as a former tax accountant let me


    • You are right about the 15% loop-hole. However, the Ryan plan does not specify that the 15% loop-hole will be abolished. It really doesn’t specify much at all, except for the 25% top tax rate and the Medicare privatization plan. It is rather odd that a plan that is presented as a “budget balancing” plan includes an explicit commitment to massive tax cuts that will mostly benefit the rich but no explicit commitment whatsoever to any reform that would raise revenue.

      I’m sure you are familiar with Paul Krugman’s many comments exposing the Ryan plan as a fraud. If not, check out http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/

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