I’ve got a modest proposal: You’re not allowed to demand a “serious conversation” over Medicare unless you can answer these three questions:
1) Mitt Romney says that “unlike the current president who has cut Medicare funding by $700 billion. We will preserve and protect Medicare.” What happens to those cuts in the Ryan budget?
2) What is the growth rate of Medicare under the Ryan budget?
3) What is the growth rate of Medicare under the Obama budget?
The answers to these questions are, in order, “it keeps them,” “GDP+0.5%,” and “GDP+0.5%.”
Let’s be very clear on what that means: Ryan’s budget — which Romney has endorsed — keeps Obama’s cuts to Medicare, and both Ryan and Obama envision the same long-term spending path for Medicare. The difference between the two campaigns is not in how much they cut Medicare, but in how they cut Medicare.