Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Familiar sound

By Mustang Bobby

As previously noted, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) came out with his budget proposal. Not only is it that same thing he’s proposed before, he didn’t even bother to change the title: it’s still calledPathway to Prosperity. What, Pathway to Prosperity – The Movie was already taken?

The only difference is that this time it craters the economy and nails the middle class in ten years, not forty. And what it lacks in revenue it makes up for in irony: it keeps the tax increases the GOP screamed about in the fiscal cliff deal because, well, that law has passed and it’s a done deal. But then he calls for the repeal of Obamacare (but keeps the tax increases from it) because, well, he doesn’t like the law. Hamana hamana.

Ezra Klein chimes in:

Here is Paul Ryan’s path to a balanced budget in three sentences: He cuts deep into spending on health care for the poor and some combination of education, infrastructure, research, public-safety, and low-income programs. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts remain, but the military is spared, as is Social Security. There’s a vague individual tax reform plan that leaves only two tax brackets — 10 percent and 25 percent — and will require either huge, deficit-busting tax cuts or increasing taxes on poor and middle-class households, as well as a vague corporate tax reform plan that lowers the rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.

But the real point of Ryan’s budget is its ambitious reforms, not its savings. It turns Medicare into a voucher program, turns Medicaid, food stamps, and a host of other programs for the poor into block grants managed by the states, shrinks the federal role on priorities like infrastructure and education to a tiny fraction of its current level, and envisions an entirely new tax code that will do much less to encourage home buying and health insurance.

Ryan’s budget is intended to do nothing less than fundamentally transform the relationship between Americans and their government.

Or, to put it succinctly, “I got mine, screw you.”

That has been the conservative mantra for the last fifty years: if you want to succeed in America, you have to be the one to provide the gumption and the drive, and it’s a sign of poor character if you use something like your race, your gender, or the crappy education you got from an underfunded and crumbling public school system as your excuse for not becoming the next Koch Brother or Donald Trump. None of those guys depended on government hand-outs and tax breaks until they made their first billion.

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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