Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Paul Ryan knows exactly what he’s doing

with 3 comments

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones makes a very good point:

Ezra Klein writes this today about Paul Ryan’s budget roadmap:

I don’t think Paul Ryan intended to write a budget that concentrated its cuts on the poorest Americans. Similarly, I don’t think Mitt Romney intended to write a budget that concentrated its cuts on the poorest Americans. But there’s a reason their budgets turned out so similar…

Really, let’s just stop right there. Ryan’s budget didn’t spring forth immaculately from the forehead of Zeus. It’s pretty much the same as his 2011 budget. Which in turn is pretty much the same as his 2010 budget. Which in turn is just a nicely formatted version of everything he’s been saying for the past decade.

I’m so tired of Paul Ryan I could scream. Every year we get a slightly different version of the same old thing, and every year we have to waste entire man-years of analysis in order to make the same exact points about it. And the biggest point is that his budget would forceenormous, swinging cuts in virtually every domestic program, especially those for the poor. If this bothers Ryan, he’s had plenty of time to revise his budget roadmap to address it.

But he hasn’t. He knows perfectly well that his budget concentrates its cuts on the poorest Americans. It’s been pointed out hundreds of times, after all. If he found that troublesome he’d change it. Since he hasn’t, the only reasonable conclusion is that this is exactly what he intends. Let’s stop pretending otherwise.

The NY Times had a good editorial on the topic a couple of days ago:

As he rolled out his 2013 budget on Tuesday, Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, correctly said that he and his fellow Republicans were offering the country a choice of two very clear futures. The one he outlined in his plan could hardly be more bleak.

It is one where the rich pay less in taxes than the unfairly low rates they pay now, while programs for the poor — including Medicaid and food stamps — are slashed and thrown to the whims of individual states. Where older Americans no longer have a guarantee that Medicare will pay for their health needs. Where lack of health insurance is rampant, preschool is unaffordable, and environmental and financial regulation are severely weakened.

Mr. Ryan became well known last year as the face of the most extreme budget plan passed by a house of Congress in modern times. His new budget is, if anything, worse, full of bigger, emptier promises. It is largely in agreement with the plans of the Republican presidential candidates.

It vows to balance tax cuts for corporations and the rich by closing loopholes, but never lists the loopholes. It is, however, quite specific about cutting Medicaid by about 45 percent, leaving 19 million people without care, and eliminating plans to provide health insurance for 33 million who lack coverage now.

Worst of all, it undermines a hard-fought agreement Democrats and Republicans made last August to set spending targets for 2013. Under pressure from House conservatives, Mr. Ryan cut nearly $20 billion from spending levels set in the debt-ceiling pact, breaking faith with the Senate and potentially leading to a government shutdown this fall. Much of that reduction is likely to come from programs like Head Start, Pell grants for college students and state aid.

It also tries an end run around an agreement Republicans signed last year to reduce the deficit over 10 years with equal $55 billion annual cuts to military and domestic programs after the Congressional supercommittee failed to agree on a plan. Mr. Ryan wants to increase defense spending and shift all the cuts to domestic programs, which will probably include food stamps, the federal payroll and mortgage guarantees. Very little of Mr. Ryan’s plan will get through the Senate, but it sets a disturbing precedent for future agreements.

Over all, about half of Mr. Ryan’s $5 trillion in cuts over a decade would come from health care. His plan to . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

23 March 2012 at 9:52 am

3 Responses

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  1. I maintain that Ryan’s basic issue is that he has a mindset in which Americans cannot be trusted not to abuse the goodwill and charity of other Americans. You can’t have “free” healthcare because it’ll be “abused.” Not by “us,” mind you. But by “them.” Poor, dark-skinned people who sing different songs, wear different clothes, speak other languages and eat different food. Those people. They are the reason why America cannot have the kind of social welfare state found in Europe–where the population is much more homogeneous (non-coincidentally). Some people are just so concerned with the morality of others actions that the possibility that someone somewhere who can afford their own might be getting a discounted school lunch keeps them up at night in a sweat. The only way to ensure that this does not happen is to not have social safety nets and instead go “every man for himself.”

    This, I think, is modern American conservatism in a nutshell.



    23 March 2012 at 11:44 am

  2. scottfeldstein – The point you make in your comment is one to which I can say a hearty “amen.” It seems to me that many on the political right are not just unconcerned about the poor, but have an active animosity toward them.



    22 May 2012 at 10:18 pm

  3. Well, I don’t think we can know their feelings, but we certainly can figure out what politicians who actually do hate the poor would do, and so far as I can tell, they would do pretty much what the GOP is doing today.



    23 May 2012 at 5:23 am

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