Reaganite Republican readers, I live-blogged the Cain-Gingrich debate tonight. If you didn't see it, I captured some of the main thoughts and am sharing them here with you. I couldn't get everything, and it is a very casual blog, so grammar and spelling were not imperative. I was impressed, loved the format. The dialog covered only entitlements: Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Moderators Ben Streusand from Americans for Prosperity, and Congressman Steven King (R-IA). King will give background on Congressman Paul Ryan's Budget Plans pertaining to the three entitlements. Here it is:
6:55 pm CDT: Julie Turner, President of Texas Patriots Pac is introducing moderators.
Introducing Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich, both from Georgia.
There are two comfy looking highback chairs and table.
7:00 pm, Congressman King saying a Lincoln-Douglas-style debate is a great idea and talking about entitlements should be a worthy debate. King is talking about his one-year-old granddaughter Reagan Ann King and her share of the National Debt today is not quite $48,000.00. By the time she reaches 5th grade, her share of the National Debt will be $88,000.00.
KING: 62.3% of the National Debt is on auto-pilot. No votes, it just renews itself every year. Total spending 37.6% is all that be addressed under discretionary spending. In other words, today, 37.6% is all Congress has power over without making changes.
King turns the debate over to Streusand
STREUSAND: Explain what happens to Medicare and Medicaid if we do nothing, and what happens if we implement the Ryan plan, and do you like Ryan's plan?
GINGRICH: First of all we are stupid if we do nothing. I support a premium support model but not a mandatory premium support model. My argument is, we must come up with solutions that make people want to accept them because they are a better value and meet their needs. The scale of need is so huge, but we must offer a better future. We have to get to a better health system. Pays 70 120B/yr to crooks for Medicare and Medicaid. There is a dentist who files over 900 procedures a day. The SuperCommittee is not looking at this. We have to weed the crooks out of the system.
CAIN: I'm supposed to have one minute to dispute what Newt says, but I agree with him totally, so I'd like three minutes to give some historical perspective. He talks about the history at Godfather Pizza. We were told Medicare would cost $6 Billion. By 1990, it wasn't $12B, $25B $50B. It was $109B - a 900% miss. How many businesses can survive missing a target like that. Longterm projections by the government have never been right.
I like the Ryan plan because he goes to the source, to the people to the doctors to the state. Get it out of Washington D.C. Politicians have overpromised for decades. We are headed off of a cliff and we must stop it.
STREUSAND: I'm suspending the clock. Take as long as you need. What do we do about rising health care cost. Going up 6 10 15% irrespective of the economy. Can we really solve the Medicare problem, until we solve the health care problem.
CAIN: We have the best health care in the world. We have a health care cost problem. To solve it we must use market-driven, patient centered approaches. I've talked to doctors - you cannot micro-manage health care costs out of D.C. At Godfather's we designed a health care plan that met our needs. We need Loser-Pays Laws - a big step toward overall tort reform.
GINGRICH: The mess of the health problems is a doctor, patient, hospital, insurance - you name it, we have caused the mess. Herman and I are the two most radical candidates because we both believe in common sense. We must abolish congressional budget office. They are dishonest. They are putting out a book on end-of-life. They refuse to accept any savings of costs - the costs that families bring to end-of-life, as they make decisions with their families about the end of their loved ones life.
KING: How do you get people off of entitlement rolls - later retirement, etc.
CAIN: If you are of retirement age now or approaching it, nothing will change for you. But if you are younger, the Ryan plan offers different planning. (sorry I'm not getting all of this, but the idea is the money in the Ryan plan is YOUR MONEY and it is built in already in the Ryan plan.
GINGRICH: Newts goes back and says we save Trillions by getting rid of crooks, so why will we penalize anyone without first stopping all corruption. We can do it through technology. He says we can pass a bill in Congress that in 60 days Mastercard, Visa handles all billing processes.
This can kick in next year, 2012. Let's contract out. The current Medicare rule is so restrictive it's unworkable.
7:30 pm CDT: Defined Benefit or Premium Support?
Cain can't explain Defined Benefit Plan and asks Newt to go first, which Newt says is only fair.
GINGRICH: The decision to deny male prostate testing is stupid (he's quoting a doctor). The bureaucratic panel on ObamaCare didn't even have a Urologist on the panel. That is a Defined Benefit plan. We will help people be able to buy insurance, but they should be able to deal with their doctor to make primary decisions. Bureaucracy should not stop innovation.
CAIN: You must have an account with your money in it, and the government makes a deposit. It is your plan. You choose what is best for you. That's the plan I think works best.
To CEO's, get involved and be a part of the solution. Get involved - you can't do it with an expensive lobbyist on down the road (he intimates that he encourages them to get with the Tea Party movement (or the citizens movement).
CAIN asks Gingrich, what are the three things you learned since being in, and leaving Congress.
1st thing: if you don't get up every morning trying to find a customer, please a customer, have a relationship with a customer, you don't have a customer. If you haven't earned your pay today, why do you think we will pay you.
2nd: Looking at a companies equipment and how it has evolved from the 1940's to now. In every part of the private sector, someone is doing something brilliant that could be brought to government. But there is a wall (lobbyists) that keep that from happening.
3rd: Balancing the federal budget must be an act of will. I called in CEO's. Set big goals, with tight deadlines, delegate like crazy and don't let any experts in the room.
CAIN: Strong proponent that bush introduced. Optional personal retirement accounts. Thirty countries have them. The Chilean model - why can't we do that? The answer is, we can but we have to fight the demagoguery. We have to educate the people. 30 years ago Chile's systems was broken. They changed it because they had to. When they gave workers the option in Chile, 90% wanted the option. It was their money with their name on it. Those who were near retirement had the option to keep the original plan. 7.65% paid by employee, 7.65% by the employee, 15.3% in total. Cain said to this we have to have the 9-9-9 plan or change the tax code to make it work. Now employers can deduct what they put into the employees plan, but employees cannot. It has to change. The payroll tax goes away.
GINGRICH: Hannity has asked Herman and I to take an hour with him in this style debate and we will do that and then we can discuss the 9-9-9 plan.
Any candidate not willing to let younger Americans have options
Put in half as much money and get back twice as much
1) Growth - go back to 4.3% unemployment. Don't look at a current static model from SS now. It doesn't work that way. If we get people back to work, SS will be healthier.
2) Honesty: Lyndon Johnson brought SS into general budget in order to hide the deficit. Until then it was a free standing account, until Lyndon Johnson. Totally dishonest when Obama said he might not be able to send out SS checks. There was $2.4 Trillion in the account. Obama was dishonest.
Go to a system where younger Americans choose - we don't abolish the current system for younger Americans. Stay if you want, but you should have the option to a greater return on your money.
GINGRICH: Herman turned around Godfather Pizza. It was a troubled company but an enthusiastic, optimistic leader (Cain) did it.
GINGRICH: SS is a fraud. Yes it's a piece of paper the government owes, but there is $2.4T there. Money does exist and it is a debt the government owes Americans. Take SS out of the budget and figure out how to get to a balanced budget without it. Since 1968 and Lyndon Johnson, we have been lying about the size of the deficit.
CAIN: All SS contributions will go toward SS benefits. it was defeated in the Senate. Let's spend SS money for SS benefits.
KING: Where will the SS money be parked until it has been spent?
GINGRICH: Into US Treasury notes is fine, but it's a real debt that is owed.
Gingrich and Cain repeatedly mention the Chilean model.
CAIN: In the Private Sector, most companies have moved to a defined contribution approach for their employees. The employee's name is on the account and the company makes a contribution. The employee selects from a list - a low risk, a medium risk, a high risk. You can split it between those.
STREUSAND: Medicaid - Ryan plan designs block grants to go to the states. Do we agree that is the best plan or do you have another alternative?
CAIN: Agrees with block grants for the states. Definitely the way to go to cut the bureaucrats out.
GINGRICH: Repeal ObamaCare! I strongly support Ryan's approach of block grants to the states for Medicaid. We must rethink Medicaid. We can't help people in poverty by enabling them to be in poverty. There must be a consequence for abusing the system (AMEN). We must distinguish between the taxpayer being a concerned citizen and the taxpayer being a sucker.
CAIN: A waiter in a restaurant (young black man): give a man a fish he'll eat for a day, teach a man how to fish and he can live a lifetime. I can be supportive of a voucher system but the person must have some skin in the game.
GINGRICH: We should have genuine block grants. If a state wants to use vouchers, let them. Let the state decide. Washington can't fix this. If you are going to live in public housing, maybe you should participate in painting it or fixing it up. (huge applause)
CAIN: Put the responsibility at the state level.
GINGRICH: I believe in health information technology (electronic health care records). (he thinks it's like an ATM). (I HATE THE IDEA OF ELECTRONIC HEALTH CARE RECORDS - MAGGIE). Medicare and Medicade does paper. All the bureaucrats ask how are we going to deal with the paper? So much fraud is because you have a crook using technology, and a bureaucrat using paper! Centralized paper-based bureaucracy stops us from getting to a better future.
CAIN: Talking about voter I.D. and those fighting it because cheating is important to Democrats.
GINGRICH: Need people in government who are courageous. We have technology that shows us the cost of shipping a package and know where it is at any time. One of my proposals, to find everyone here illegally, we send them a package! (laughter)
States should bill the government every year, for the cost of illegals. (people are on their feet applauding)
CAIN: Changing entitlement programs, the model used in WI when Tommy Thompson was there. You could not get benefits unless you proved that you were looking for a job or taking classes to qualify for a job. We need restructure. (Cain is using this as an example for means-testing Medicare and Medicaid).
GINGRICH: Does means-testing encourage people to want to stay on food stamps. We have the most effective food stamp president in our history. Do people want to rise above the point of means testing. We are teaching people to be dependent, to fail, to give up the American dream. No one should get something for nothing unless they have a severe, severe disability. If you are able-bodied and getting something for nothing, WE ARE STUPID.
You could get an Associate's Degree while Obama has sat around waiting for jobs to come along.
Give the state's the primary responsibility for these domestic issues.
CAIN: Newt and I are willing to talk about entitlements. Few are. We must talk about these programs. It all comes back to the best form of help to get people off of Medicaid, and help them get a job. We must grow the economy. That's looking at the whole spectrum, so that people who want to get off of it. The people who choose to be lazy, that's their little "boogie woogie."
KING: What should the cap be on unemployment. We now have 99 weeks.
CAIN: Restructure. If you have 26 wks, you go back and have 13 weeks and after that it's 6 weeks. It will encourage getting out to find a job.
GINGRICH: If you don't sign up for a retraining program, on day one, you get nothing. Day one, get trained as fast as possible, to get a full time job, and then you won't worry about when your weeks will run out.
GINGRICH asking Cain a question, and Gingrich notes they haven't played "gotcha" once.
You've had a great success story. What is the biggest surprise while running for president.
CAIN: The nit-pickiness of the media - the flyspecking of the media. I expect to have to study, but the media is appalling. My biggest surprise. I thought thee are too many people in the media who are down-right dishonest, and doing a disservice to the people (people are standing and applauding.)
CAIN to Gingrich: if you were VP of the US, what would you want the President to assign you to do first? (huge laughter - Newt is almost falling off his chair)
GINGRICH: Well, I've studied my good friend Dick Cheney, and I would not go hunting. (that was the end and it brought huge laughter)
Posted by Maggie @ Maggie's Notebook