A little exploration into the 2012 GOP Collective Suicide Pact, colloquially know as the Paul Ryan budget proposal.
Somewhere huddled deep inside the White House catacombs are a group of hacks—otherwise known as President Obama’s political advisors—utterly oblivious to the state of American politics. They seem to believe that from gleaning several seasons of The West Wing they can derive a legitimate understanding of how to negotiate with a political party composed of a House Speaker whose closest bipedal ancestor is an oompa loompa, a former House Speaker who dumped his wife while she was recovering from cancer, a batshit crazy congresswoman from Minnesota, a Mormon who once strapped his dog to the roof of a car during a family trip, and a witch from Delaware.
By shuffling their feet and avoiding anything that remotely resembles a bold stance, the Obama Administration has allowed Paul “I hate poor people” Ryan to steal the limelight with a Very Serious and Very Bold economic plan.
Meanwhile, I’m having difficulty discerning which is more infuriating: a) the voodoo economics upon which Ryan’s plan is built; b) the amenable mainstream media legitimizing said plan; or c) congressional Democrats who apparently have derived their negotiating skills from Homer Simpson.
Let’s begin with the GOP’s economic suicide pact, colloquially known as the 2012 Republican budget proposal. I won’t even dwell on the fact that literally all the tax cuts in Ryan’s plan are directed at the wealthy. Forget, even, that this budget will actually increase the deficit over the next ten years.
Just take a step back and consider the big picture: The estimated cost of giving the wealthiest Americans a multi-trillion dollar windfall is just about equal to the proposed cuts in food stamps, Medicaid, and other programs targeted at low-income families. In a society where the top 400 families possess more wealth than the bottom 50%, the Ryan Express seeks to further magnify this vast disparity by scraping crumbs from the poor to subsidize the rich.
It’s hard to miss the laughable claims nestled in this perverted Robin Hood manifesto. First off, Ryan, citing none other than the Heritage Foundation, claims that not only will unemployment fall below 3% within ten years (a level witnessed once, briefly, during the Korean War), but healthcare and social security spending will plummet to 3.5% of GDP.
How will this happen? Why screwing over the poor and elderly, of course. Medicare will be replaced with a voucher program that recklessly caps the amount of money the federal government contributes to the care of its senior population. As Dean Baker notes, seniors will be forced to pay the vast majority of their medical expenses by themselves, and the poor will be hung out to dry with a gutted Medicaid program that shifts nearly all the financial burden to overstretched state payrolls.
The Ryan plan is fraud, plain and simple. Yet by fawning over just how Bold and Serious this “proposal” is, the media is legitimizing a hyper-conservative death sentence that will literally kill off the poor and elderly to underwrite massive tax cuts for the richest of the rich.
Yet the media neglects to report on the flagrant Republican hypocrisy with regard to Medicare. Remember the buildup to the midterm elections? Remember all the terrifying GOP advertisements warning seniors that Obama was going to detonate Medicare? Remember John Boehner exhorting that Obama’s “government takeover of health care would cut seniors’ Medicare benefits by $500 billion”? Remember the much-heralded Pledge to America which warned that the “new health care law’s massive Medicare cuts will fall squarely on the backs of seniors”?
Instead of casually noting how fucking insane the Republican demands are, Obama, in his quest to make every last person in the world love him, has refused to demonstrate anything remotely resembling leadership. Channeling his inner Neville Chamberlain, Obama thoroughly appeased Republicans before they even began holding the United States hostage with a shutdown. After acquiescing to nearly every GOP demand, Democrats declared victory after “saving” Planned Parenthood by agreeing to yet more spending cuts that will further derail an already sputtering economic recovery.
Somewhere, just maybe, Obama has an agenda that hasn’t been tainted by the austerity myth currently being peddled by the Tea Party and their Republican enablers. Sadly, he has wasted literally every opportunity to define the debate, punting instead to a complaisant media and Paul Ryan’s Very Serious, Very Bold prescription for economic suicide.