Will Romney/Ryan end Medicare as we know it? Let’s hope so.

Great news from this weekend, Paul Ryan is Romney’s pick for VP. Great news especially if you want Paul Ryan to personally murder your grandma.

That’s what some people on the left would have you believe anyway. Paul Ryan wants to “end Medicare as we know it.” The way that the campaign is responding to that right now is basically “no we don’t.” That’s probably smart politically, but let me suggest another response. “Yup.”

Medicare, as we know it, is a complete failure.

Medicare, as we know it, can’t pay for itself.

Medicare, as we know it, covers health care costs for people like Bill Gates.

Medicare, as we know it, has over $38 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Medicare, as we know it, is a program that spends five times what it was as a percentage of the economy in 1970. 

Medicare, as we know it, will become insolvent in 2024, five years sooner than previously estimated.

Obviously, this could go on and on.  But, the bottom line is this:

Medicare, as we know it…sucks.

The Romney-Ryan ticket should own Obama’s assertion that his plan “ will ultimately end Medicare as we know it.” Everyone acknowledges that Medicare is in serious trouble.  Whether you think we should go with Ryan’s plan or you’d rather just raise taxes only on Republican millionaires by 445,000%---we need to do something.  Even Barack himself used to think we needed entitlement reform.  

So, why are Democrats adding “as we know it” if they themselves acknowledge it has to be changed?  Because they used to just say Ryan would “end Medicare”--- and even the left leaning media called them out.  It was even called Politifact’s lie of the year for 2011.

Politifact has been an ardent, if unlikely, defender of Ryan’s Medicare plan. They have set the record straight time and time again when big fat lying liars wearing pants on fire who lie say Ryan’s budget plan will end Medicare.

Politifact clarifies each time that “if you are 55 years or older already, your Medicare coverage would not change. And if you are younger, the Ryan plan would leave you with a different Medicare system, but one in which the government still played a big role in your health coverage.”  That’s not exactly an encouraging quote for conservatives, and it understates how much better Ryan’s plan is than the current one, but it does show how badly democrats have been lying.

Let’s pretend for a second we live in an alternate universe where these liars are right and Paul Ryan is just out to murder Medicare. In that world, we really don’t have to worry about Paul Ryan killing Medicare. Medicare, as we know it, is killing itself. 

But the Ryan plan would work. An early indicator:

"For instance, on August 1, three Harvard researchers published a study in theJournal of the American Medical Association (you can find it here, but it requires a subscription) that used data from the Medicare Advantage program (a much more limited experiment in insurer competition in Medicare) to consider how the Wyden-Ryan reform would have worked if it had been in effect in 2009. They found that, “nationally, in 2009, the benchmark plan under the Ryan-Wyden framework (i.e., the second-lowest plan) bid an average of 9% below traditional Medicare costs (traditional Medicare was equivalent to approximately the tenth-lowest bid).”

"In other words, even under the very constrained competition of Medicare Advantage, in which prices are set by Medicare’s bureaucracy, the Ryan-Wyden approach would have reduced per-beneficiary spending by 9 percent in a single year while still providing seniors with the same comprehensive insurance coverage. With real competition through a bidding system, the reductions in the rate of the program’s growth over time could be enormous. And if those savings don’t in fact materialize, we would just end up where we are today — which is where Democrats seem to want to end up anyway."

Yes, I know, the new campaign slogan “Death to Medicare! (As We Know It)” probably won’t catch on anytime soon.  But, Romney/Ryan shouldn’t run away from it.  The current debate is like saying “Asking Glenn Beck to lose weight would end Glenn Beck as we know him.”  Yes, it would.  But, that doesn’t make it bad.  Unless, of course, you run an ice cream company.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.

The Hong Kong protesters flocking to the streets in opposition to the Chinese government have a new symbol to display their defiance: the Stars and Stripes. Upset over the looming threat to their freedom, the American flag symbolizes everything they cherish and are fighting to preserve.

But it seems our president isn't returning the love.

Trump recently doubled down on the United States' indifference to the conflict, after initially commenting that whatever happens is between Hong Kong and China alone. But he's wrong — what happens is crucial in spreading the liberal values that America wants to accompany us on the world stage. After all, "America First" doesn't mean merely focusing on our own domestic problems. It means supporting liberal democracy everywhere.

The protests have been raging on the streets since April, when the government of Hong Kong proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed them to send accused criminals to be tried in mainland China. Of course, when dealing with a communist regime, that's a terrifying prospect — and one that threatens the judicial independence of the city. Thankfully, the protesters succeeded in getting Hong Kong's leaders to suspend the bill from consideration. But everyone knew that the bill was a blatant attempt by the Chinese government to encroach on Hong Kong's autonomy. And now Hong Kong's people are demanding full-on democratic reforms to halt any similar moves in the future.

After a generation under the "one country, two systems" policy, the people of Hong Kong are accustomed to much greater political and economic freedom relative to the rest of China. For the protesters, it's about more than a single bill. Resisting Xi Jinping and the Communist Party means the survival of a liberal democracy within distance of China's totalitarian grasp — a goal that should be shared by the United States. Instead, President Trump has retreated to his administration's flawed "America First" mindset.

This is an ideal opportunity for the United States to assert our strength by supporting democratic values abroad. In his inaugural address, Trump said he wanted "friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world" while "understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their interests first." But at what point is respecting sovereignty enabling dictatorships? American interests are shaped by the principles of our founding: political freedom, free markets, and human rights. Conversely, the interests of China's Communist Party are the exact opposite. When these values come into conflict, as they have in Hong Kong, it's our responsibility to take a stand for freedom — even if those who need it aren't within our country's borders.

Of course, that's not a call for military action. Putting pressure on Hong Kong is a matter of rhetoric and positioning — vital tenets of effective diplomacy. When it comes to heavy-handed world powers, it's an approach that can really work. When the Solidarity movement began organizing against communism in Poland, President Reagan openly condemned the Soviet military's imposition of martial law. His administration's support for the pro-democracy movement helped the Polish people gain liberal reforms from the Soviet regime. Similarly, President Trump doesn't need to be overly cautious about retribution from Xi Jinping and the Chinese government. Open, strong support for democracy in Hong Kong not only advances America's governing principles, but also weakens China's brand of authoritarianism.

After creating a commission to study the role of human rights in U.S. foreign policy, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote last month that the principles of our Constitution are central "not only to Americans," but to the rest of the world. He was right — putting "America First" means being the first advocate for freedom across the globe. Nothing shows the strength of our country more than when, in crucial moments of their own history, other nations find inspiration in our flag.

Let's join the people of Hong Kong in their defiance of tyranny.

Matt Liles is a writer and Young Voices contributor from Austin, Texas.

Summer is ending and fall is in the air. Before you know it, Christmas will be here, a time when much of the world unites to celebrate the love of family, the generosity of the human spirit, and the birth of the Christ-child in Bethlehem.

For one night only at the Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, on December 7th, join internationally-acclaimed radio host and storyteller Glenn Beck as he walks you through tales of Christmas in the way that only he can. There will be laughs, and there might be a few tears. But at the end of the night, you'll leave with a warm feeling in your heart and a smile on your face.

Reconnect to the true spirit of Christmas with Glenn Beck, in a storytelling tour de force that you won't soon forget.

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The general sale period will be Friday, August 16 at 10:00 AM MDT. Stay tuned to for updates. We look forward to sharing in the Christmas spirit with you!