FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Paul Ryan’s Valuable Service

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.

Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
A Major Win for Trump’s War Cabinet
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
Martha Rosenberg
Once Again a Slaughterhouse Raid Turns Up Abuses
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgiveness
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
David Yearsley
King Arthur in Berlin
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail