Cross-posted from Angry Bear
Various congressional representatives held town hall meetings recently, and the news channels and print media were abuzz with the lively give-and-take, including shouting matches. See, e.g., House G.O.P. Members Face Voter Anger Over Budget, New York Times, Apr. 26, 2011; Republicans facing tough questions over Medicare overhaul in Budget Plan, Washington Post, Apr. 22, 2011.
The issue--the House's adoption of the Ryan budget proposal and its clear agenda of overturning New Deal safety nets embodied in the current understanding of Medicaid, Social Security and Medicare.
Those at or near retirement are worried that the Ryan proposal will hurt everybody. The Ryan proposal comes with frequent disclaimers about protecting the already older population and needing to act now to protect our grandchildren, a clear effort to massage the message to appeal to current grandparents. See, e.g., House G.O.P. Members Face Voter Anger Over Budget, New York Times, Apr. 26, 2011 (noting Webster's statement that "not one senior citizen is harmed by this budget" while implying that it is necessary to prevent grandchildren from "looking at a bankrupt country"); Congressional Republicans go home to mixed reveiws, CBS.com, Apr. 26, 2011 (noting North Carolina GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers'claim that "If you're 55 and older, your Medicare and Social Security will not change").
But the Ryan proposal clearly envisions mechanisms that would likely lead to decimation of these programs--either through turning them into limited vouchers (Medicare proposal); turning the funds over to the states to use as they see fit (Medicaid proposal) or limiting benefits (Social Security proposal) in ways that will --probably sooner rather than later-- hurt everybody.
For more analysis on this issue, see the original post at Angry Bear.