Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Paul Ryan loves the poor so much he wants to put them out of their misery

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Paul Ryan claims he cares about the poor. He claims he wants to deal with poverty in a serious and meaningful way. But of course he's a combination of Ayn Rand devotee and Christianist ideologue, an anti-government extremist who departs from Rand in adding a cover of religious moralizing, and so what he really wants to give the poor, as he pursues his far-right "free"-market agenda benefitting the rich before all others, is more Jesus and less everything they actually need.

And so it's hardly surprising that in fact he's really not all that interested in tackling poverty beyond rhetoric designed to put a compassionate spin on what is essentially an agenda of brutality, and that's reflected in his "budget":

Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin on Tuesday will lay out a tough, election-year budget that he says will come into balance by 2024, in large part through steep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps and the full repeal of President Obama’s health care law, just as millions begin to see its benefits.

But even with those cuts, Mr. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, is counting on a boost of economic growth to balance the budget, a boost he says will be gained by reducing the deficit. Many economists believe such dramatic spending cuts — especially those affecting the poor — would have the opposite effect, slowing the economy and lowering tax receipts.

Not that Ryan, who speaks for the bulk of his party on fiscal matters, has ever let something like the obviousness of reality get in the way of his ideological pursuits. As Jon Chait explains

The disintegration of Ryan's promise [to tackle poverty] reveals something very deep. It's not that he needs a little more time and a few all-nighters, or some more help getting fellow Republicans in line. His policy vision is fundamentally impossible.

Ryan and his party are committed to the following beliefs:
  1. America faces an impending debt crisis, somewhere, which requires a balanced budget within the next decade;
  2. Social Security and Medicare benefits for current and near-retirees amount to a sacred pact that cannot be violated;
  3. Barack Obama has hollowed out the military, requiring defense spending to rise (as Ryan proposes), or at minimum not to drop;
  4. Taxes can never, ever, ever rise at all, even as part of a trade for other desirable policy changes.
The only possible way to reconcile this combination of policy commitments is to impose staggering cuts to programs for the poor, which Ryan's most recent budget proposal does. Every previous version of the Ryan budget is, basically, a plan to cut benefits for the poor. At least two thirds of the cuts in last year's Ryan plan come from programs for poor people.

Paul Ryan is a Catholic, but essentially, beyond the basic trappings of their faith, he's the opposite of Pope Francis. His God is the "free" market (which is really just the Hobbesian state of nature, a state in which life is nasty, brutish, and short except for those who are strong enough (that is, rich enough) to survive by constructing their own Leviathan of the 1%), his savior is Ayn Rand (along with other fundamentalists like Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman), and the disciples he places alongside her include Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp (who was just a bit more serious about helping the poor than he is). 

And here, as always, he intends to crush the poor, and pretty much the entirety of the 99%, as well as to stop the American economy in its tracks (however much his ideology might tell him otherwise), in order to enrich the already rich, empower the already powerful, and create the right-wing dystopia of his crazed imaginings.

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  • The likes of Ryan are always rambling on about Saint Ronnie. I wonder if these idiots even realize that Reagan more than tripled the deficit.
    Under Carter, America was the biggest creditor nation in the world. After just a few years of Reagan, we became the biggest debtor nation in the world (and we remain so to this day).
    Although he never mentions it on the speaking circuit, the government paid for Ryan to attend college. I've read Ayn Rand, but I missed the part where she advocates the government paying for people to go to college.
    (As ever with these assholes, their philosophy is, "I've got mine, fuck everyone else.")
    Oh, and the government also pays for Ryan's nice, fat salary (as well as the generous pension that he will enjoy---even as he works to slash Social Security for the rest of us).
    What an evil POS.

    By Blogger Marc McDonald, at 5:32 PM  

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