Romney, Ryan and 
Republicans in Tampa

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The Daily Sentinel deserves kudos for publishing conservative columnist David Brooks’ disclosures – “Ryan’s biggest mistake was failing to back Simpson-Bowles” on Sunday, particularly given its related editorial – “Stumbling toward the fiscal cliff” – last week.

Brooks’ explanation of Paul Ryan’s “mistake” is particularly revealing because of what it assiduously evades – Republicans’ ongoing ideologically-driven obstructionism.

Thus, first, President Obama “established a debt commission” (co-chaired by Republican Simpson and Democrat Bowles) after six Republican sponsors in the Senate voted against their own bill (already passed by the House) – because Obama embraced their good idea!

Second, while “the Simpson-Bowles plan would have simplified the tax code and lowered rates”, it also raised revenues by “closing loopholes”.  Brooks obfuscated by omission the fact that anti-tax extremist Grover Norquist decried this proposal as “tax increases” and demanded that all signatories of his oxymoronic “Taxpayer Protection Pledge” (including “Representatives” Scott Tipton and Ryan) reject it.

Third, Ryan voted “no” based on partisan political calculus – not “intellectually coherent reasons”, but incorent ideological ones—claiming as his excuse the commission’s failure to address “the unsustainable growth of Medicare” (which his “budget” would eventually convert from a defined benefit to an undefined contribution plus “voucher” program).

But, contrary to Brooks’ assertion, while the Simpson-Bowles commission declined to “restructure Medicare” as Romney-Ryan would, neither did it “sidestep health care issues generally”.  Rather, it accepted CBO projections that “Obamacare” reduces future deficits (and thus the accumulating debt) and prolongs the actuarial sustainability of Medicare.

Moreover, that plan retained “Obamacare’s” $716 billion in Medicare cost reductions (i.e., “cost savings”, not “benefit cuts”), recommended consideration of a “public option”, and urged increasing the Independent Payment Advisory Board’s authority (which Ryan mischaracterizes as a “rationing board of faceless bureaucrats” – i.e., “Death Panel” – in his stump speech).

So much for intellectual honesty – much less “coherency”.

              Bill Hugenberg
              543 Rim Drive
              Grand Junction, CO 81507

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