The indefensible Paul Ryan

Whoever taught Young Republicans to say “straw man” deserves a royalty

Lyin Paul RyanGet ready. Paul Ryan — the man who has already proposed a budget that would have led to the largest transfer of wealth from the working class to the rich in American history — is about to propose a new budget featuring massive cuts that will make the austerity that sent Europe back into recession look like the New Deal.

At the House Republican “retreat” last week, members were told that their constant threatening of government shut downs and potential economic catastrophe wasn’t working. It drives independents and Democrats crazy and bums out the base when they have to give in eventually. What’s funny is that they had to be told this — apparently their 26% approval rating wasn’t clear enough.

To get them to go along with actually “governing,” the House GOP was told that Paul Ryan’s new budget would balance the budget in 10 years. Ryan’s last budget didn’t balance the budget for decades even though it included huge hikes in Medicare costs for seniors and a gutting of the Medicaid program, which provides nursing homes and health care for the most vulnerable. This was because Ryan also cut taxes, of course, especially for the wealthy.

Ryan’s new budget may not cut taxes as much but it will have to feature incredibly large cuts to education, health care, job training, national parks, funding for fire fighters and police because you know the one thing he won’t cut: Defense. Simply freezing defense spending would eliminate more than 1/5 of the deficit within 10 years.

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Of course, America is still spending on Defense as if we were fighting the Soviet Union. In the GOP mind, another ground war in the Middle East is a distinct possibility, which is another issue where the GOP is completely dislocated from reality.

In President Obama’s second inaugural, he specifically defended Medicare and Social Security from rhetoric Paul Ryan has explicitly used in the past. Ryan calls that a “straw man”! He claims that he’s never called people on those earned benefits “takers.” New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait explain that he has.

What Ryan has explicitly done is tried to privatize both Medicare and Social Security, a shortcut to destroying them. He backed off those plans a bit when President Obama was able to run against them instead of the vague poll-tested promise to “balance the budget.”

Romney adopted a modified version of Ryan’s plans wholeheartedly to win the primary and then adopted Ryan to please a base that still didn’t love him. Eventually, Romney had to actually hide Ryan, as the congressman from Janesville, Wisconsin who lost his home town and his home state.

The Daily Beast‘s Michael Tomasky compares the GOP turning to Ryan in 2013 to Democrats turning to Michael Dukakis in 1989. And now Paul Ryan is going to reveal the craven abuse of the middle class that would have to take place to balance the budget in the midst of a recession. And, unfortunately for Ryan, no one has forgotten that the recession and the deficit are both largely the results of Republican governance.

President Obama doesn’t need a straw man. He has Paul Ryan.

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  • Truth Over Spin

    The recession and the deficit are the result of Republican governance? No. The recession is due to the credit and housing bubbles. And the deficit is due to the lost revenue as GDP cratered as a result of the recession, and spending increased to try to stimulate demand and create jobs.

    • peter hendon

      Yeah, that whole let’s start 2 unfunded wars, then lower taxes on everyone by Bush, that didn’t have any impact. Also, while we are at it (and both parties have some blame here) let’s further deregulate wall street. Dude please.

      • Truth Over Spin

        Peter – our total deficit in 2007 before the credit and housing crises ensued was less than 200 billion. How could it have ballooned to over a trillion due to the Bush tax cuts and the wars? We had been living under those tax rates and fighting those wars for several years prior to that?

        • larryburke

          The war spending was kept off budget. What was not mentioned above was the 700 billion medicare prescription bill that was completely unfunded, as well as the dramatic increase in funding of the new Homeland Security(civil right stealing) department. Many of these costs do not show up for a few years. Any savings/spending increases from Obamacare will only now start to show, even though the law is over 3 years old.
          Both parties are responsible for massive deficit spending. The GOP just prefers to put more of the spending on the credit card. They have been getting away with spending massively when they are in control and calling for fiscal responsibility when the Dems are in control for decades now.

          • Truth Over Spin

            Larry – War spending was off budget but absolutely included in the deficit figure I cited. A budget is very different from what actually was spent. What happened from 2007 to 2009 that caused the deficit to balloon? It wasn’t the wars or the tax cuts, they were already in place

        • Caias Ward

          Deficit does not equal debt. Please learn what the difference between the two before you post again.

          • Truth Over Spin

            Caias – I know the difference. Where did I err?

          • Caias Ward

            If you know the difference, please explain it here.

          • Truth Over Spin

            One is an annual shortfall in revenues versus spending. And the other is a cumulative impact of such shortfalls or surpluses.

          • Truth Over Spin

            Caias – if you believe I am wrong, please explain it here.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002854082888 Michael Johnson

      It’s true that the current deficit is mostly due to the recession. But it was the GOP that ran up spending between 2001-2007. That meant we entered the recession already with large deficits. The recession caused them to explode.

      • Truth Over Spin

        The deficit in 2007 was less than $200 billion and less than 2% of GDP.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002854082888 Michael Johnson

    When you look at Paul Ryan’s voting record in congress, between 2001-2011, he vote for policies responsible for 85% of the debt incurred over that period. The only major spending bill he voted against was Obama’s Stimulus. He voted FOR the Bush Stimulus, Medicare Part D and TARP.

    http://econopolitics.com/2012/08/15/paul-ryan-fiscal-conservative/

  • kidcat24

    Never in the history of this country have we lowered taxes and started a war. Let alone two wars and lowered taxes twice.

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