FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Paul Ryan’s Valuable Service

by DEAN BAKER

I want to join those in commending Representative Paul Ryan, but for a slightly different reason. Representative Ryan has provided a valuable service to the country by tossing out a piece of warmed-over dreck that calls for a massive upward redistribution from the nation’s workers to the rich. This is clear to anyone who reads it.

For example, the 73-page outline makes no reference to the recession caused by the collapse of the housing bubble. Is it possible that Representative Ryan has not noticed all the people in his district in Wisconsin and elsewhere who have lost their jobs or did he just choose not to mention the recession for political reasons? Certainly anyone who was really concerned about deficits would note that the large deficits of 2008 forward were caused by this collapse.

Ryan also proposes major cuts to Medicaid that will likely make it far more difficult for Medicaid recipients to get care. Then he promises that his plan will remove the stigma Medicaid beneficiaries face (page 41). This may be true in the sense that under the Ryan plan fewer Medicaid beneficiaries are likely to get care, so they won’t have to worry about any stigma associated with their treatment.

Ryan also touts the great success of the welfare reform passed in 1996 (page 41). He apparently has not noticed the large rise in child poverty rates in this recession as well as the limited response of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families spending to the large rise in unemployment due to the recession.

Ryan cuts the baseline $7.8 trillion in defense spending projected for the next decade by just 1.0 percent. Apparently the Congressman believes in a strong safety net for defense contractors.

Ryan replaces Medicare with a voucher program for those under age 55. (My brother wants to know what happens to people who turn age 55 this year.) He apparently didn’t notice that the private health care system has not been successful in controlling costs for the non-Medicare population.

And best of all, Representative Ryan proposes some help for the really needy. He wants to lower the top tax rate from the 39.6 percent in current law (after 2012) to 25 percent. This will means millions of dollars a year in additional spending money for Wall Street bankers, CEOs of major corporations and other major campaign contributors.

The reason why this is so useful is that there is nothing in the Ryan plan that has not been circulated in policy circles for decades. Almost everything in the plan has been tried and failed. The plan ignores obvious economic realities, such as the bubble-induced recession that has left 25 million people unemployed or underemployed. It doesn’t lay a glove on the rich and powerful, while threatening to undermine the limited economic security enjoyed by tens of millions of middle class families.

Yet many pundits will applaud the plan as brave, innovative and creative. In making these pronouncements these pundits will immediately reveal themselves as worthless hacks who either lack the ability or desire to do their own thinking. Their endorsement of the Ryan plan will be like a scarlet letter permanently marking them as someone who has no place in a serious policy discussion. For this reason we owe Mr. Ryan a real debt of gratitude.

DEAN BAKER is the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR). He is the author of Plunder and Blunder: The Rise and Fall of the Bubble Economy and False Profits: Recoverying From the Bubble Economy.

This article originally appeared on TMPCafé.

 

 

 

More articles by:

Dean Baker is a macroeconomist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, DC. He previously worked as a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute and an assistant professor at Bucknell University.

February 22, 2018
T.J. Coles
How the US Bullies North Korea, 1945-Present
Ipek S. Burnett
Rethinking Freedom in the Era of Mass Shootings
Manuel E. Yepe
Fire and Fury: More Than a Publishing Hit
Patrick Bobilin
Caught in a Trap: Being a Latino Democrat is Being in an Abusive Relationship
Laurel Krause
From Kent State to Parkland High: Will America Ever Learn?
Terry Simons
Congress and the AR-15: One NRA Stooge Too Many
George Wuerthner
Border Wall Delusions
Manuel García, Jr.
The Anthropocene’s Birthday, or the Birth-Year of Human-Accelerated Climate Change
Thomas Knapp
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Russiagate
February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail