FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Paul Ryan’s Vicious Budget

by RALPH NADER

The cruel impoverishment of the debate among the presidential and congressional candidates took a gigantic leap into the pits with Mitt Romney’s selection of 42-year-old Rep. Paul Ryan from the deindustrialized town of Janesville, Wisconsin. Ryan is invariably described by reporters as “an intellectual leader of the conservative movement” and by fellow Republicans as a person “who tells the hard truths” to the American people.

The truth is that what has distinguished this fast-talking, glib, Ayn Rand-smitten, congenial young man is that he has a plan for the federal budget. On Capitol Hill that fact alone makes one a “stand-out” in the field of political narcissists whose mental tank harbors gaseous one-liners and kneejerk slogans.

The Ryan budget plan is a Koch brothers’ dream and the American peoples’ nightmare. It leads with a lie – namely to control deficit spending by continuing it for at least 30 more years before his concoction of big tax cuts for the rich, further increases in the already bloated defense budget, and savage cuts in public services for the people, somehow balance the budget around mid-century.

Ryan’s brain is chock-full of such cognitive dissonance that it would blow a normal person’s mind. He is a practicing Catholic, but since his youth has been a disciple of the militant atheist Ayn Rand who despised altruism and “love thy neighbor” values while edifying extreme selfishness and greed.

His plan for social security is social insecurity. Make people work longer before receiving curtailed benefits, invest trillions of dollars of these funds in the volatile stock market and make sure that rich people only have to pay social security taxes on a fraction of their earned income.

He would open the floodgates on future Medicare to the rapacious health insurance companies through a voucher system whereby the elderly are fed to these sharks with ever-higher co-pays. His “block grant plan alone would lead states to drop between 14 and 27 million people (the poor and those with disabilities) from Medicaid by 2021,” according to the Urban Institute.

As a 16-year-old youngster, Ryan and his family were helped by social security when his father passed away. So why now impose this draconian crunch on these three major programs? Ryan says that this is the only way to preserve social security, Medicare and Medicaid for future generations. Very well, Mr. Ryan, then why have you refused to civilly debate your proposals and their consequences with any of your critics inside and outside the Congress before a national television audience?

I requested that you have this important exchange in three letters (see Nader.org). Finally, your office demurred on the grounds that you were too busy. Are you really too busy to debate your plan which has passed the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and has been generally endorsed by Mitt Romney? Or are you too fearful of trying to defend your numbers and their plutocratic values to the likes of Princeton professor and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman, who has called the Ryan budget “the most fraudulent in American history”?

Cognitive dissonance proliferates. His hometown has been devastated by pull-down trade agreements yet he supports NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. He sees himself as a fiscal hawk while being an armchair warrior and military hawk (he wants to stay and win in Afghanistan). He offers “to restore the dreams and greatness of America” but opposes both public works projects to repair America and environmental health standards so Americans can breathe, drink, eat and work more safely.

He proposes deep cuts in widespread hunger alleviating food stamps. He opposes the minimum wage while he fights to eliminate or reduce taxes on capital gains and other taxes on the already undertaxed very-wealthy who have poured money into his and other Republicans’  campaign kitties.

He professes to be against crony capitalism, but he voted for the giant Wall Street bailouts and other bailouts and giveaways that define what real conservatives find so offensive.

An outraged David A. Stockman, President Reagan’s first director of the Office of Management and Budget, dismisses Ryan’s conservative credentials. He said that Calvin Coolidge, Herbert C. Hoover, Senator Robert A. Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and even Gerald A. Ford  “would have had no use for the neoconservative imperialism…”

“In short,” wrote Stockman in The New York Times, “Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices…. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan have no plan to take on Wall Street, the Fed, the military-industrial complex, social insurance or the nation’s fiscal calamity and no plan to revive capitalist prosperity – just empty sermons.”

So Mr. Ryan is a closet corporatist who won’t even urge cracking down on the hundreds of billions of dollars that companies defraud the federal government every year, including documented fraud on Medicare, Medicaid and the Defense Department.

If the Democrats can’t use the Ryan budget as their ticket to victory this November in Congress and the White House, then they are truly the terminally decaying party of caution, cash and cowardliness.

In reality, the Ryan budget, thrown right in the face of the American people, is the ultimate test of what’s left of the Democrats besides their donkey.

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

 

Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! 

More articles by:
May 25, 2016
Eric Draitser
Obama in Hiroshima: A Case Study in Hypocrisy
Ryan Mallett-Outtrim
Does Venezuela’s Crisis Prove Socialism Doesn’t Work?
Dan Arel
The Socialist Revolution Beyond Sanders and the Democratic Party
Marc Estrin
Cocky-Doody Politics and World Affairs
Sam Husseini
Layers of Islamophobia: Do Liberals Care That Hillary Returned “Muslim Money”?
Susan Babbitt
Invisible in Life, Invisible in Death: How Information Becomes Useless
Mel Gurtov
Hillary’s Cowgirl Diplomacy?
Kathy Kelly
Hammering for Peace
Dick Reavis
The Impeachment of Donald Trump
Wahid Azal
Behind the Politics of a Current Brouhaha in Iran: an Ex-President Ayatollah’s Daughter and the Baha’is
Jesse Jackson
Obama Must Recommit to Eliminating Nuclear Arms
Colin Todhunter
From the Green Revolution to GMOs: Living in the Shadow of Global Agribusiness
Binoy Kampmark
Turkey as Terror: the Role of Ankara in the Brexit Referendum
Dave Lindorff
72-Year-Old Fringe Left Candidate Wins Presidency in Austrian Run-Off Election
May 24, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
The Financial Invasion of Greece
Jonathan Cook
Religious Zealots Ready for Takeover of Israeli Army
Ted Rall
Why I Am #NeverHillary
Mari Jo Buhle – Paul Buhle
Television Meets History
Robert Hunziker
Troika Heat-Seeking Missile Destroys Greece
Judy Gumbo
May Day Road Trip: 1968 – 2016
Colin Todhunter
Cheerleader for US Aggression, Pushing the World to the Nuclear Brink
Jeremy Brecher
This is What Insurgency Looks Like
Jonathan Latham
Unsafe at Any Dose: Chemical Safety Failures from DDT to Glyphosate to BPA
Binoy Kampmark
Suing Russia: Litigating over MH17
Dave Lindorff
Europe, the US and the Politics of Pissing and Being Pissed
Matt Peppe
Cashing In at the Race Track While Facing Charges of “Abusive” Lending Practices
Gilbert Mercier
If Bernie Sanders Is Real, He Will Run as an Independent
Peter Bohmer
A Year Later! The Struggle for Justice Continues!
Dave Welsh
Police Chief Fired in Victory for the Frisco 500
May 23, 2016
Conn Hallinan
European Union: a House Divided
Paul Buhle
Labor’s Sell-Out and the Sanders Campaign
Uri Avnery
Israeli Weimar: It Can Happen Here
John Stauber
Why Bernie was Busted From the Beginning
James Bovard
Obama’s Biggest Corruption Charade
Joseph Mangano – Janette D. Sherman
Indian Point Nuclear Plant: It Doesn’t Take a Meltdown to Harm Local Residents
Desiree Hellegers
“Energy Without Injury”: From Redwood Summer to Break Free via Occupy Wall Street
Lawrence Davidson
The Unraveling of Zionism?
Patrick Cockburn
Why Visa Waivers are Dangerous for Turks
Robert Koehler
Rethinking Criminal Justice
Lawrence Wittner
The Return of Democratic Socialism
Ha-Joon Chang
What Britain Forgot: Making Things Matters
John V. Walsh
Only Donald Trump Raises Five “Fundamental and Urgent” Foreign Policy Questions: Stephen F. Cohen Bemoans MSM’s Dismissal of Trump’s Queries
Andrew Stewart
The Occupation of the American Mind: a Film That Palestinians Deserve
Nyla Ali Khan
The Vulnerable Repositories of Honor in Kashmir
Weekend Edition
May 20, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
Hillary Clinton and Political Violence
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail