The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank made mincemeat out of Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s revived austerity budget proposal in the paper’s editorial section yesterday, calling out Ryan’s plans to slash social services and job training while cutting taxes for the rich. It’s amazing to me, simply amazing, that the GOP thinks there is political gain in being seen as eager to hurt the poor, the unemployed and the elderly during a presidential election cycle—there are 45 million Americans receiving food stamps currently—but God bless these doofy dolts and their draconian debt-cutting doggedness, they’re dead set on dousing themselves in political gasoline and playing with matches.
If the Democrats are smart, they’ll just step back, allow the debate to come to a full boil and wait until this nail bomb goes off:
Ryan would cut $770 billion over 10 years from Medicaid and other health programs for the poor, compared with President Obama’s budget. He takes an additional $205 billion from Medicare, $1.6 trillion from the Obama health-care legislation and $1.9 trillion from a category simply labeled “other mandatory.” Pressed to explain this magic asterisk, Ryan allowed that the bulk of those “other mandatory” cuts come from food stamps, welfare, federal employee pensions and support for farmers.
Taken together, Ryan would cut spending on such programs by $5.3 trillion, much of which currently goes to the have-nots. He would then give that money to America’s haves: some $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, compared with current policies, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.
Ryan’s justification was straight out of Dickens. He wants to improve the moral fiber of the poor. There is, he told the audience at the conservative American Enterprise Institute later Tuesday, an “insidious moral tipping point, and I think the president is accelerating this.” Too many Americans, he said, are receiving more from the government than they pay in taxes.
After recalling his family’s immigration from Ireland generations ago, and his belief in the virtue of people who “pull themselves up by the bootstraps,” Ryan warned that a generous safety net “lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency, which drains them of their very will and incentive to make the most of their lives. It’s demeaning.”
How very kind: To protect poor Americans from being demeaned, Ryan is cutting their anti-poverty programs and using the proceeds to give the wealthiest Americans a six-figure tax cut.
If some Americans have to fuckin’ starve to death, this is what it takes to preserve our—and their—freedom!
Ryan’s not joking about this stuff. Amazingly, there are actually people within the Republican who consider Paul Ryan something of an “intellectual”!
Keep thinkin’ that, goofballs. If this guy is the best you’ve got, you’ve got nothing at all.
Ryan’s budget outline omits specifics about how much he would take from programs. Instead, it provided a string of Orwellian euphemisms. The budget “repairs the safety net” by allowing the states to award public assistance to fewer people — “those who need it most.” Financial aid for college would be slashed — er, “put on a sustainable funding path.” And the Ryan plan would give workers “the tools to thrive in the 21st century” — by killing off various job-training programs.
Ryan would cut Medicaid by a third and ship the remnants to state governments to handle. Or, as the congressman described it: “We also propose to strengthen Medicaid by empowering our states.”
Because you have to hurt the poor and sick in order to help them?
The beauty of all of this coming now is that Paul Ryan himself is up for reelection this year and this paints a bright red target on his back. Nothing would be more satisfying than seeing him defeated (except something even more humiliating happening to him, of course) as a referendum on this kind of nonsense once and for all.
Look at this, it’s a trailer—a fucking trailer—for the Ryan plan. Astonishing.