Conservative Rep. Paul Ryan’s radical proposal to revamp federal spending — by reducing entitlements, slashing the defense budget and cutting even more taxes — is now being fleshed out in meetings with his fellow proponents of a strictly balanced budget.
These so-called “deficit hawks” are living up to their name, swooping down on helpless victims from above to fill their own bellies, then defecating the remains all over the rest of us.
The Wisconsin Republican proposed earlier this year to end Medicare as we know it. Instead of having the federal government pay doctors directly for health care for the nation’s elderly, Ryan recommended so-called “block grants” given directly to seniors, who would then be responsible for buying their own insurance. He also wants to shave tens of billions from the Defense Department’s budget, which currently totals nearly three-quarters of a trillion dollars annually.
Word has now leaked out that these two initiatives will be linked if Ryan’s proposal is enacted into law. Military surplus from a down-sized armed forces will go directly to Medicare recipients as payments-in-kind. Equipment, vehicles and weapons will be delivered wholesale to retired citizens, who will then be responsible for converting them into the funding necessary to pay for their health care coverage.
“We have these stockpiles of materiel that are the leftovers of plans to wage conventional warfare. And, we have these stockpiles of old people that are the leftovers of a once-great America,” Ryan reportedly told his fellow Republicans. “It only makes sense that we use the one to deal with the other.”
“Obviously, we can’t require our senior citizens to make up a new fighting force to serve in all these asymmetrical wars we have going on,” he added. “The next best thing, then, is to give them our old military technology, and let them figure out how to sell it off.”
An outline of Ryan’s plan obtained by several news sources shows that a “means-tested” system is under consideration that would deliver the highest-value weaponry to the sickest individuals, while healthier seniors would get lesser grants.
“Someone with major medical issues like cancer, debilitating heart disease, or Alzheimer’s might get an old B-52 Stratofortress,” an aide to Ryan told reporters. “People with medical issues in the mid-range of cost — like a hip replacement, for example — could maybe get one of those powered exoskeletons we tested and abandoned a few years back. Then we’d use items like the M9 Flamethrower, the Stinger surface-to-air missile and the M2 Browning machine gun to pay for preventive care, like regular physicals, eyeglasses and dental work.”
Critics immediately questioned the feasibility of the plan, wondering how the infirm would handle the logistics of converting military aircraft, submarines and mothballed battleships into cash.
“Think about it,” said Democratic Congressman Barney Frank. “Your grandmother can’t operate a TV remote or a cell phone, and yet we’re asking her to learn the advanced avionics that would be required simply to get an A-10 Thunderbolt attack plane out of her driveway. It’s just not practical.”
“I, for one, don’t even trust my 96-year-old uncle with solid foods,” added Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “So I’m not at all comfortable with the idea of him carrying a cluster bomb to his gastroenterologist just so he can afford his co-pay.”
“It’s really not all that hard,” countered the Ryan aide. “Vehicles can be sold at virtually any used car lot. Supplies like canteens, parachutes and food rations will bring a nice price at an Army/Navy store. And there are literally thousands of terrorists out there who will offer a great deal on landmines, grenades and automatic weapons.”
The aide noted that some seniors may even want to keep the equipment to help them out around the house or nursing home, and find another way to pay for their health coverage.
“I could see those night-vision goggles being really handy for the old man with an enlarged prostrate who’s getting up a dozen times a night to use the bathroom,” the assistant noted.