MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
You can't be a brainiac, as the villager self-appointed pundits have praised the ambitious but morally bankrupt Paul Ryan, and get your most basic facts wrong. Indeed, Paul Krugman took Ryan to task over the weekend by calling Ryan's "austerity rations for the poor, champagne for the rich" budget a "fraud" with no credible financial assumptions to support its.
Ryan is sort of the Antonin Scalia of the Congress: even some Democrats think he is a "bold" thinker and whip smart, when he is really just a hyper-ambitious con artist who is full of himself. He knows how to package self-promotion so that it obscures both his intellectual limitations and lengthy trail of contradictions (voting to increase the deficit by trillions under Bush, while running against the so-called ruinous impact of the same deficit under Obama – for example).
He's made one of his so-called budget goals the destruction of Medicare as a guaranteed program as we know it. Instead he would, in large part, turn it over to seniors to rely on the profiteer gamblers of Wall Street to "invest" their money (through so-called vouchers) and perhaps, if the 2007 scenario plays out again or just a steep cyclical drop in the stock market, leaving the elderly high and dry without fund to pay for medical care.
Most notably -- as an indication that Paul Ryan's ambition is fueled by dishonesty -- is a 2011 statement he made on videotape on universal coverage and Medicare. Ryan said (and we will put this in italics), "Government-run healthcare doesn’t work. Wherever we’ve seen government-run healthcare, it’s failed."
Let's repeat that, and for commenters who will claim Ryan didn't say that we have him on tape (courtesy of WashingtonStakeout.com): "Wherever we’ve seen government-run healthcare, it’s failed."
This a flat out lie for the consumption of flat earth voters. In fact, there is no nation in the developed world with some form of universal medical coverage that has reversed it. Here is a map from The Atlantic Magazine that shows nations that provide universal coverage in varying forms. Underneath the map is the caption, "The US stands almost entirely alone among developed nations that lack universal health care." Just click here to view.
To repeat, there is not one Western nation (which includes all of Western Europe, Canada and Israel) where voters have voted for candidates who have campaigned on removing universal coverage: not one. Even "The Iron Lady," Margaret Hatcher, couldn't politically push to do away with the UK National Health Service.
So either Paul Ryan is a dolt or a liar. He's too cunning to seem stupid, so we'll have to consider him a conscious prevaricator, citing glaring falsehoods to achieve his personal political goals of moving to higher office; i.e., the vice presidency in this case, were Romney to be elected.
What's even more ironic is that in one of the many pathetic, embarrassing and laughable gaffes of Romney's European pratfall trip, he, in Israel, praised that nation for its cost-effective, results oriented healthcare system. According to David Lazarus in the Los Angeles Times (italics put in by BuzzFlash at Truthout),
Mitt Romney established universal health coverage in Massachusetts with an individual mandate to buy insurance. But he says he'll overturn an identical system at the federal level.
He also has dismissed the idea of a Medicare-for-all insurance system in the United States. Yet the presumptive Republican nominee-to-be is hailing Israel's healthcare system as a model of efficiency and effectiveness.
And what do you know — Israel has something like a Medicare-for-all system.
Romney praised Israel for spending just 8% of its gross domestic product on healthcare while still remaining a "pretty healthy nation."
"We spend 18% of our GDP on healthcare," he said of the U.S. "Ten percentage points more. That gap, that 10% cost, let me compare that with the size of our military. Our military budget is 4%. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways, not just to provide healthcare to more people, but to find ways to finally manage our healthcare costs."
According to Lazarus, "The [Israeli] government provides all citizens with health insurance. Everyone is required to have it."
So not only is Paul Ryan a liar when denying that just about every developed nation in the Western World, and in many nations outside of that group, has successful universal coverage, he is also in direct disagreement with Romney's praise of the Israeli universal healthcare system (which was bizarre to begin with, since Romney is against universal coverage, but his staff's ignorance and the facts caught up with him through some speechwriting error.)
Or as the old cliché states: "If you have the facts on your side, argue the facts. If you have the law on your side, argue the law. If you have neither, confuse the issue."
Universal coverage nations in teal (Courtesy of Campanstan website)