Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

House GOP To Commit Ritual Suicide

With Friends like these, ewwwww...

Well, Zombie Eyed Granny Starver Paul Ryan introduced his latest "big idea".  Basically, yes, it ends Medicare as we know it.

Since PolitiHack said that ending Medicare as we know it is not ending Medicare as we know it, expect this issue to be confused in the political press.

But this budget - which stands no chance of becoming law in 2012 - would end Medicare and replace it with private insurance that will only partially be covered with vouchers.

It also ends Medicaid as a federal program, turning it into block grants to the states.  I'm sure all the women in Texas or Virginia or Idaho are not at all worried about turning over health care to the states.  I mean the states are the laboratories of freakshow religious mandates freedom.

Needless to say, there are NO defense cuts in this budget.

There is instead a MASSIVE amount of tax cutting for the rich.  It would completely end the Alternative Minimum Tax, a flawed way to make sure people like Mitt Romney pay at least SOME taxes.

He cuts the top tax rate from 35% to 25%.  Just marinate in that for a minute.  Basically, you will either pay 10% or 25% rate in income tax.  To help cover the ENORMOUS hole he just blew in fiscal sanity, he would propose ending almost all tax credits and deductions.  

This "budget" is a cruel joke.  It's more triumph of ideology over common sense.  It seeks to "balance the budget" by effectively ending all social spending, while not touching defense spending or taxing the wealthy.

In a sane world, this would be the effective end of the GOP.  First of all, anyone who says they are voting for the GOP because they are more responsible with the budget should be laughed at until their heads explode.  This is a mockery of fiscal discipline.  This is what Ayn Rand would do if she were dictator.  

Let's hope that - for once - the Democratic Party knows a political winner when it bites them in the donkey.

UPDATE: From the Pierce piece linked above:
Paul Ryan doesn't propose a budget like this because he's concerned about The Deficit. It is senseless to talk about this budget in that context, although even some liberal wonks like to give him the benefit of a prodigious doubt on that score. (This blog declines to do so on the basis of its fundamental economic philosophy: Fk The Deficit. People Got No Jobs. People Got No Money.) If he were concerned about The Deficit, he wouldn't have voted to finance two off-the-books wars and the Medicare expansion that the previous administation pushed through. Paul Ryan proposes a budget like this because he believes that the programs he is working to demolish — food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, and on and on — are not legitimate functions of the federal government. He does not believe that the Constitution's requirement that it promote the general welfare means that the government may make the lives of the poor and the sick a litte easier, or that it should embark on programs that help create and maintain a viable middle-class. That's the job of The Market, even though The Market has shown itself, time and time again, to be uninterested in doing anything of the sort. Economic inequality is the inevitable byproduct of the truest kind of freedom. (That 72-year old woman with the 75-year old demented husband? Free as bird!) A society permanently stratified between the very rich and everyone else is precisely what the Founders had in mind. This budget may function as a campaign document and a statement of political purpose, but its source is an ideology that borders on the theological.

Update 2: Ezra Klein goes into the weeds.

Over the next decade, Ryan would spend 30 percent less than the White House on “income security” programs for the poor — that’s everything from food stamps to housing assistance to the earned-income tax credit. (Ryan’s budget would spend $4.8 trillion over this timeframe; the White House’s would spend $6.8 trillion.) Compared with Obama, Ryan would spend 38 percent less on transportation and 24 percent less on veterans. He’d spend 20 percent less on “General science, space, and basic technology.” And, compared with the White House, he’d cut “Education, training, employment, and social services” by a full 44 percent.

And what, pray tell, would that look like?

So how would this lower spending play out? Let’s take transportation as an example. Right now, the United States is facing a number of pressing infrastructure challenges. The National Highway System, first built in the 1950s, is reaching the end of its natural lifespan. Our air-traffic control system is outdated, causing airport delays around the country. About one-quarter of the country’s bridges are either “structurally deficient” or inadequate to today’s traffic needs, according to the GAO.
A variety of non-partisan think tanks and analysts have pegged the cost of fully repairing and upgrading our transportation networks at somewhere between $200 billion and $262 billion per year over the next decade. The White House’s budget envisions spending an average of about $120 billion per year. Ryan’s budget, meanwhile, allocates about $78 billion per year. In his summary, Ryan claims he can meet the country’s needs by cutting back on “imprudent, irresponsible, and downright wasteful spending,” though it’s not clear what waste Ryan has in mind, much less whether it would make up the large gap.
Alternatively, we can look at what specific cuts might ensue in the near future. Third Way, for instance, has tried to estimate the effects of the deficit-deal “trigger” that’s supposed to take effect over the next few years. Those immediate cuts would lead to fewer food inspectors, fewer air-traffic controllers, and so forth. And that would mean more delays and cases of food poisoning, and so forth. And Ryan’s budget, for its part, goes even deeper than the trigger.
So I asked Third Way’s budget expert David Kendall to run a few numbers for Ryan’s budget. For instance, under Ryan’s plan, spending on transportation would be 26.1 percent lower in 2014 than it is today. If that size cut was applied to, say, air-traffic control programs, Kendall notes, “there would be 3,092 more flight cancellations and 68,683 delays annually. At the U.S. average of 49 passengers per flight, that’s enough to strand 151,503 more people at the gate and make 3,365,685 more people late every year.”

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