Now that Republicans have settled for Mitt Romney as their candidate for
Puppet President in the November elections, expect to hear a lot about the Ryan budget. Grover Norquist has issued the edict that that budget is what “they” want, and the general attitude is Romney will do as he’s told.
At CPAC’s annual gathering in February, Norquist had this to say:
“All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.”
How exactly did this guy become the de facto policy dictator for the Republican Party?
Of course his isn’t exactly a unique attitude; George W. Bush’s two terms were nothing more than puppeteering, and “they” want that power back. At the same time, Romney so desperately wants to be President, he’s convinced himself the Republican Party respects him.
And like a good boy, Romney is exalting Paul Ryan and his budget, though I doubt he’s even read it. Very little dissecting of Ryan’s budget has been done thus far ; Conservatives and the media are buying Ryan’s spin, never mind that it’s void of details.
One person who has analysed Ryan’s budget plan is Paul Krugman, and he called it (my emphasis):
“…the most fraudulent budget in American history.”
That’s a hefty statement. He went on to say:
“And when I say fraudulent, I mean just that. The trouble with the budget devised by Paul Ryan…isn’t just its almost inconceivably cruel priorities, the way it slashes taxes for corporations and the rich while drastically cutting food and medical aid to the needy.
Even aside from all that, the Ryan budget purports to reduce the deficit — but the alleged deficit reduction depends on the completely unsupported assertion that trillions of dollars in revenue can be found by closing tax loopholes.”
Remember I said Ryan doesn’t offer up details?
“So which specific loopholes has Mr. Ryan, who issued a 98-page manifesto on behalf of his budget, said he would close?
None. Not one. He has, however, categorically ruled out any move to close the major loophole that benefits the rich, namely the ultra-low tax rates on income from capital. (That’s the loophole that lets Mitt Romney pay only 14 percent of his income in taxes, a lower tax rate than that faced by many middle-class families.)
…has any major political figure ever premised his entire fiscal platform not just on totally implausible spending projections but on claims that he has a secret plan to raise trillions of dollars in revenue, a plan that he refuses to share with the public?”
Meanwhile, Time’s Joe Klein had this to say:
“Every budget is a political document; this one, however, is a campaign document — it is a right-wing fantasy and could not possibly be enacted.”
Dean Baker of the Center For Economic and Policy Research describes the insanity of Ryan’s plan (my emphasis):
“According to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) analysis of Representative Ryan’s budget, which was prepared under his direction, the budget would shrink all non-Social Security and non-health care spending to 3.75 percent of GDP by 2050.
To put this in perspective, the United States currently spends roughly 4 percent of GDP on the military, not including spending on the war in Afghanistan.
Let’s assume that Representative Ryan wants to keep defense spending somewhere between its 3.0 percent of GDP low and the 4.0 percent current level. That leaves somewhere between zero and 0.75 percent of GDP for everything else the federal government does other than Social Security, health care and defense.
In short, if the Romney-Ryan budget is taken seriously, then the vision essentially involves shutting down the federal government. All the federal government will do is literally run a military and pay out money for health care and Social Security. We will have no federal courts, federal law, patents, copyrights or borders since their budget has no money to pay for the institutions needed for enforcement.”
Yet Ryan has got the GOP bigwigs calling him a wonder boy, the conservative media lapping up his spin, and Republican voters mesmerized by his eloquent statements of nothing.
Here are a few legitimate questions posed by Mr. Baker:
- How do they [Ryan and Romney] envision that Pfizer and Merck will make money when there is no patent agency to register their drug patents or courts to enforce them? The same applies to copyrights for Microsoft, Time-Warner and all the other firms that depend on copyright protection.
- What will be U.S. immigration policy when we have no one to enforce borders or even issue passports?
- What will broadcast and telecommunications giants like Comcast and Verizon do to secure their access to the airwaves when there is no Federal Communications Commission to parcel out bandwidth?
- Will there no longer be an interstate highway system, since there will be no federal funds to maintain it?
- Will airports and air traffic control be left to states, since there is no money for the Federal Aviation Commission?
If these questions seem crazy to you, you’re getting the picture of Paul Ryan’s budget. The slashing of government on the scale he suggests should have him being run out of town on a rail, not treated like some kind of hero. His budget is pure Right Wing Lunacy.