Conservatives loathe Paul Krugman, the liberal New York Times columnist and Nobel-winning economist. But surely for them, it must be a badge of honor to be criticized by Krugman in his twice-weekly column.
Krugman's column today, in his typical scathing manner, attacks the hypocrisy of Republicans for accusing Democrats of trying to make cuts to the popular Medicare program, while they themselves try to dismantle the program.
And who is behind these shenanigans? None other than U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Janesville), a rising star in the G.O.P.
Krugman attacks Ryan's Roadmap for America's Future, which Krugman says "represents what the G.O.P. would try to do if it returns to power."
Under Ryan's proposal, Krugman writes, no one under 55 would be covered by Medicare. "Instead, people would receive vouchers and be told to buy their own insurance. And even this new, privatized version of Medicare would erode over time because the value of these vouchers would almost surely lag ever further behind the actual cost of health insurance. By the time Americans now in their 20s or 30s reached the age of eligibility, there wouldn't be much of a Medicare program left."
Krugman explains the approach like this: "Republicans who hate Medicare, tried to slash Medicare in the past, and still aim to dismantle the program over time, have been scoring political points by denouncing proposals for modest cost savings - savings that are substantially smaller than the spending cuts buried in their own proposals."
But maybe Ryan can take comfort for having become a real player on the national political stage. The rest of us will pay the cost.