Even more Ryan
August 13, 2012 Leave a comment
Nice post from Jon Cohn. Another nice visual display of just what Ryan proposes for our government:
Cohn also points out, that what Romney has already said (lacking specifics, of course) is actually more radical:
And how would these cuts compare to the ones in Ryan’s budget? The Center addressed that, too:
Governor Romney’s cuts would be substantially deeper than those required under the austere House-passed budget plan authored by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). Over the 2014-2022 period, Romney would require cuts in programs other than Social Security and defense of $7 trillion to $10 trillion, compared with a little over $5 trillion under the Ryan budget. By 2022, Romney’s cuts would shrink non-defense discretionary spending — which, over the past 50 years, has averaged 3.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) and has not fallen below 3.2 percent — to between 1.1 percent and 1.6 percent of GDP.
In that sense, I suppose, Romney is telling the truth. He hasn’t endorsed Ryan’s budget. He’s endorsed something even more severe.
Meanwhile, James Surowiecki also has a nice post on the reality versus the “bold, truth-teller” media version that is the Ryan budget:
That may sound a bit strange, since so many stories about Ryan emphasize how serious and wonky he is, and insist that, unlike most politicians, he’s actually willing to talk in detail about the policies he’s advocating. Yet the reality of Ryan’s approach is actually very different. His tax plan, for instance, calls for trillions of dollars in tax cuts (heavily weighted, of course, toward high-income earners), but also claims to be revenue-neutral, since Ryan says that the tax cuts will be offset by eliminating loopholes and tax subsidies. But when it comes to detailing exactly what loopholes and subsidies he wants to get rid of, Ryan clams up—just as Romney has done with his tax plan. This is politically astute, since eliminating the tax benefits that have a substantive budget impact would mean eliminating things voters love, like the mortgage-tax deduction. But it’s a far cry from being honest and tough-minded.
Similarly, while Ryan has been reasonably upfront about his plans for Social Security (which he wants to privatize) and Medicare (which he wants to turn into a defined-contribution, rather than a defined-benefit, plan), he has been both substantively and rhetorically obfuscatory when it comes to the way his budget cuts would, over time, radically shrink the federal government, and effectively make it impossible for the government to do most of what it does today.
On a different note, anybody paying attention knows that Ryan has long claimed the nutty and objectionable ideas of Ayn Rand to be his political lodestar. Now apparently he’s claiming she just wrote some novels he likes. Riiiiight.
Okay, while I’m at it, might as well make this post Ryan-palooza 2.0. Really nice post by Tomasky on how Democrats are going to have to work against the built in media “objectivity” that benefits Ryan’s radicalism:
These conventions work in this case on two levels. The first explicitly involves the journalistic definition of the word “bold.” Proposals are routinely labeled “bold” in journalism in a completely morally neutral way. It wouldn’t surprise me if we went back to American and British newspapers of 1938 and found a headline or two about “Herr Hitler’s Bold Sudetenland Gambit.” “Bold,” in journalism, can mean anything from genuinely courageous to utterly reckless to morally outrageous.
So by this definition, Ryan’s radical and draconian budget is definitely “bold.” This means he was a “bold” pick. This in turn means that Mitt Romney, lately just barely keeping his nose above the water line of “milquetoast,” is now suddenly “bold” himself! Works like a charm.
The second benefit to Ryan has to do with the way the media employ cliches based on long-held perceptions about the two parties and their leading figures. The Republicans are the party that cares about deficits historically. Actually, they’re not in fact remotely that. But that, however preposterously, is their perception and reputation. Ryan from time to time inveighs against deficits, and so he is unveiled to the American people, as The New York Times did over the weekend, as “intent on erasing deficits.”
He also links a fabulous Matt Miller column putting the lie to the idea that Ryan is actually a fiscal conservative in any meaningful sense.