Tag: hyperbole

Support for the Eternal Federal Welfare State Is Bipartisan

George Will makes a good point in his latest column: Democrats maintain a peculiar “conviction that whatever government programs exist should forever exist because they always have existed.” Will’s observation centers around the shameless Democratic attacks on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposal to reform Medicare and Medicaid.

According to Will, “Ryan’s plan would alter Medicare. But Medicare has existed in its current configuration for only 46 of the nation’s 235 years.” Actually, “current configuration” isn’t quite accurate. For example, Medicare’s prescription drug component added by Republicans, which Ryan voted for, went into effect only five years ago.

Regardless, I agree with Will that so-called “progressives” have a “constricted notion of the possibilities of progress”:

The hysteria and hyperbole about Ryan’s plan arise, in part, from a poverty of today’s liberal imagination, an inability to think beyond the straight-line continuation of programs from the second and third quarters of the last century. It is odd that “progressives,” as liberals now wish to be called, have such a constricted notion of the possibilities of progress.

Yes, Ryan’s plan displays “imagination” and I would add that it took political guts to suggest the reforms knowing that the left would nail him to the cross. However, let’s not forget that Ryan’s plan would also further cement these twin pillars of the federal welfare state. For all the silly accusations that Ryan is proposing to “privatize” Medicare, his plan repeatedly states that his aim is to “save” it:

Letting government break its promises to current seniors and to future generations is unacceptable. The reforms outlined in this budget protect and preserve Medicare for those in and near retirement, while saving and strengthening this critical program so that future generations can count on it to be there when they retire.

I wasn’t born yesterday, so I understand Ryan’s assurance to “those in and near retirement” that Medicare as they know it won’t be touched. However, I can’t square Ryan’s reference at the outset of his plan to the “timeless principles of American government enshrined in the U.S. Constitution – liberty, limited government, and equality under the rule of law” with his intention to strengthen “this critical program so that future generations can count on it be there when they retire.”

Now that Ryan’s plan has taken its inevitable beating from demagoguing Democrats, the GOP appears to be upping the “save Medicare for future generations” rhetoric.

Here’s tea party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) as reported by Politico:

‘I understand the benefits that Medicare brings to America. It should be a part of our country,’ Rubio added. ‘I want Medicare to exist in a way that is unchanged for people that are in Medicare now. I want Medicare to exist when I retire. I want Medicare to exist when my children retire. And I don’t want Medicare to bankrupt itself for our country. And Medicare, as it’s currently structured, will go bankrupt.’

If that’s what Rubio, Ryan, and the rest of the congressional Republicans desire, then thank you for being honest. But please stop wrapping the intention to maintain for eternity a gigantic federal welfare state in the mantle of individual liberty, limited government, and the Constitution.

UTLA Teaches Great Vocab Word: “Hyperbole”

A good vocabulary word–and an important rhetorical device–that kids should learn is “hyperbole.” Indeed, in Los Angeles the teachers union has apparently thought illustrating hyperbole so important that the union has, on its own time, provided a crystal clear example of it. Talking about a proposed 11.75-percent pay cut to control the Los Angeles Unified School District’s red ink flood, United Teachers of Los Angeles elementary vice president Julie Washington declared that she’s afraid  “with a 12 percent pay cut we’ll see homeless teachers…”

That’s a deliberate exaggeration, alright! According to a February Los Angeles Daily News report, the average LAUSD teacher makes $63,000 a year. Even the lowest paid LAUSD teacher makes nearly $46,000. Meanwhile, according to the News, the average household–not single person–income in Los Angeles County is only about $73,000. So right now the household income of two average LAUSD teachers would be $126,000, almost 73 percent higher than the county average. A household of the lowest paid teachers would also substantially beat the county average, hitting $92,000. Presumably, that means that right now L.A. teachers can afford way better than average housing, much less no housing at all.

Would a 12 percent pay cut change that? No way! The average household of teachers would still make almost $111,000, and the lowest-rung teacher household would make nearly $81,000.

So thank you, UTLA: You’re always looking to set up teachable moments, and this time you’ve succeeded with hyperbole!