Ryan Hard to Take Seriously

Essays

Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is going to deliver the GOP response to the SOTU, tonight, or at least one response.  The unhinged Michelle Bachmann of MN, who wanted the job but was passed over, will nonetheless give one of her own on the net.  Now stipulating that, between Ryan and Bachmann, this was an easy call, since Bachmann with her bizarre views makes Ryan look positively statesmanlike, Ryan isn’t much of an improvement.  He has garnered a reputation as being a serious budget wonk, despite the fact that the plans presented on behalf of the GOP are all ridiculous to varying degrees and will never likely even be seriously debated in Congress, much less enacted, given that they would likely have a devastating effect on the quality of life of the poor and middle classes.

The RSC proposal, for example, would cap non-defense spending at 2006 levels for the next decade–and that’s a hard cap on the actual number, and would not include adjustments for inflation.  So in the next decade, if this by some twist of fate were to pass, the appropriations for everything non defense in the budget would be the same as they were in 2006.  Now just going back to 2006 numbers from where we are now would be draconian.  Holding that level for ten years, with the addition of perhaps 30 million more people in the population in the mean time, is insanity.  Ryan’s proposal, which would cut spending by $100 billion this year, looks mild by comparison, but even this amount in a sputtering economy seems unimaginable.  The economy is not big enough right now to employ all who need work, so why would government spend less and increase the number of unemployed?  This can’t be the answer to anything.

So why is this guy, the the point man in the GOP for budget issues, being held in such regard as to give the SOTU response?  Is this what they think the American people want ?  I have no earthly idea why this kind of thinking would be given any credence, other than by people who hate government as matter of dogma, but it gives one a sense of the vacuity of ideas on the right at this juncture.

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