Free Pot For Everyone, And Other Budget Fantasies

Many liberals are criticizing Paul Ryan for essentially ignoring last November’s election results, as he released his third very dark, very Randian, budget resolution.

But it’s not that Ryan is acting as if the last national election didn’t happen. It’s that he is acting like he and Mittens actually won the damned election. In what can only be considered flat-out delusion (or that he intends to win a GOP primary in 2016), he offers the country a budget proposal that wouldn’t even become reality if Romney and Ryan had successfully duped a majority of Americans last November.

This monster would: repeal ObamaCare, slash Medicaid and food stamps, kill traditional Medicare, cut Pell grants, create lower tax rates for the rich—yet again. There is apparently no allowance for emergency spending on disasters, or the recognition that our infrastructure is crumbling and we need more not less money to fix it. Tax reform is part of the proposal, but we don’t know what the reforms are. The economic growth assumptions are also shrouded in mystery worthy of the ongoing papal conclave.

Not to mention the blinding hypocrisy of supposedly balancing the budget in ten years by using the $716 billion in Medicare cuts (used to help fund ObamaCare), cuts that Ryan and his fellow Republicans so famously campaigned against in both 2010 and 2012.

And not to mention the breathtaking dishonesty of using the $600 billion in revenue generated by Obama’s insistence on the restoration of the Clinton-era tax rates on high-income earners, which settled the fiscal-cliff nonsense this year.

This is not a serious proposal and Democrats in the Senate, who have now released details of their own budget, should revise their proposal in response to Ryan and the Republicans by including a series of people-pleasing goodies like: free health care, a free college education, forty acres and a Ford for all, a chicken in every pot, and some pot in every pipe.

Democrats can then start budget negotiations from there.

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  1. writer89

     /  March 12, 2013

    I agree; the Dems are STARTING with a compromise proposal (as usual).

    By the way, as has been pointed out by several commentators today (on MSNBC, of course), Ryan is trying to have his cake and eat it, too, by leaving the revenue from Obamacare in his budget, and removing all the benefits from it, including the 30 million new customers that would justify the fees being charged to the insurance companies! It’s not just hypocritical; it’s stupid, even from the Republicans’ point of view. This guy is supposed to be the smart one?


    • Yes, MSNBC hosts and guests have done a good job of point out Ryan’s hypocrisy (even though none of them ever question his “brilliance”). But the problem is that only a few hundred thousand people watch the network during the day, and only about a million at night. The nightly newscasts, watched by many millions, don’t do a good job of pointing it out, and obviously you won’t find any of that stuff on Fox, which has twice the viewership as MSNBC.

      I don’t deny that Ryan is a smart guy, just like the new pope is a smart guy. But smart people are just as subject to biases, ideological or theological, that blind them to reality or divert them from common sense. With Ryan, it is his stubborn Randian, small-government vision, which denies the reality of the 21st century and the need for a rather large government footprint; with the pope, it is his stubborn refusal, among other things, to see that the Church’s policy on birth control hurts the very people to whom he has ostensibly devoted his life–the poor.


  2. RDG,
    Ryan did not present a budget plan; he presented a “political manifesto”. There will be no compromise, grand or otherwise. The deficit debates have always been a MacGuffin used by House Republicans to draw attention away from their agenda: dismantling social safety nets.


    • I like Cassidy’s piece, but there is at least one thing he got wrong. Although Ryan’s budget is a “joke” in terms of the arithmetic and assumptions, it is not a joke in terms of how it represents the dominant faction in the House of Representatives, the faction that is mostly responsible for the dysfunction we see. These guys aren’t kidding, as you suggest. There will be no compromise with Obama, if Obama continues to insist (which he has to do) on increased tax revenues from tax reform. And unless Boehner gets some cover from a “compromise” from Republicans in the Senate, and unless he then grows a pair of testicles and decides that the country’s well-being is more important than his speakership, then the country is in trouble.


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