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Santorum: Ryan Is ‘Wrong’ Because He Doesn’t Force Current Seniors Into Medicare Privatization Scheme

By Alex Seitz-Wald  

"Santorum: Ryan Is ‘Wrong’ Because He Doesn’t Force Current Seniors Into Medicare Privatization Scheme"

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As Republicans embark on their quest to radically reform social safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security, they’ve gone to great lengths to assure the current generation of seniors they would be exempt from any changes. “[W]e’ve got to protect today’s seniors,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) recently said. The man behind the Republican plan to privatize Medicare, Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), in his report outlining his plan wrote that “[l]etting government break its promises to current seniors…is unacceptable.”

But potential GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum veered off that script yesterday on Sean Hannity’s radio show, criticizing Ryan’s plan as “wrong” for not affecting current seniors:

SANTORUM: My big argument with Paul Ryan is that he doesn’t apply a lot of these programs to the current generation of seniors, or those who are at or near retirement. And I think that presupposes that a lot of those current seniors don’t want to participate in the economic solvency of our country. Don’t want to participate in saving our country. I think that’s wrong. I think most seniors –- certainly those that can afford to –- are more than willing to do their fair share to solve their problem.

Listen here:

Ryan and his Republican colleguges have astutely steered clear of advocating forcing current seniors onto their Medicare and Social Security schemes, recognizing that the idea would be wildly unpopular and likely political suicide. Moreover, Ryan’s plan would have devastating consequences for seniors, current or future, especially those with low income. But Santorum seems okay with this, as he notes that “those who can afford to” would be fine.

‹ The WonkLine: April 15, 2011

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