Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Paul Ryan’s Vicious Budget

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.

 

More articles by:

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

May 21, 2018
Ron Jacobs
Gina Haspell: She’s Certainly Qualified for the Job
Uri Avnery
The Day of Shame
Amitai Ben-Abba
Israel’s New Ideology of Genocide
Patrick Cockburn
Israel is at the Height of Its Power, But the Palestinians are Still There
Frank Stricker
Can We Finally Stop Worrying About Unemployment?
Binoy Kampmark
Royal Wedding Madness
Roy Morrison
Middle East War Clouds Gather
Edward Curtin
Gina Haspel and Pinocchio From Rome
Juana Carrasco Martin
The United States is a Country Addicted to Violence
Dean Baker
Wealth Inequality: It’s Not Clear What It Means
Robert Dodge
At the Brink of Nuclear War, Who Will Lead?
Vern Loomis
If I’m Lying, I’m Dying
Valerie Reynoso
How LBJ initiated the Military Coup in the Dominican Republic
Weekend Edition
May 18, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Donald, Vlad, and Bibi
Robert Fisk
How Long Will We Pretend Palestinians Aren’t People?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Wild at Heart: Keeping Up With Margie Kidder
Roger Harris
Venezuela on the Eve of Presidential Elections: The US Empire Isn’t Sitting by Idly
Michael Slager
Criminalizing Victims: the Fate of Honduran Refugees 
John Laforge
Don’t Call It an Explosion: Gaseous Ignition Events with Radioactive Waste
Carlo Filice
The First “Fake News” Story (or, What the Serpent Would Have Said)
Dave Lindorff
Israel Crosses a Line as IDF Snipers Murder Unarmed Protesters in the Ghetto of Gaza
Gary Leupp
The McCain Cult
Robert Fantina
What’s Wrong With the United States?
Jill Richardson
The Lesson I Learned Growing Up Jewish
David Orenstein
A Call to Secular Humanist Resistance
W. T. Whitney
The U.S. Role in Removing a Revolutionary and in Restoring War to Colombia
Rev. William Alberts
The Danger of Praying Truth to Power
Alan Macleod
A Primer on the Venezuelan Elections
John W. Whitehead
The Age of Petty Tyrannies
Franklin Lamb
Have Recent Events Sounded the Death Knell for Iran’s Regional Project?
Brian Saady
How the “Cocaine Mitch” Saga Deflected the Spotlight on Corruption
David Swanson
Tim Kaine’s War Scam Hits a Speed Bump
Norah Vawter
Pipeline Outrage is a Human Issue, Not a Political Issue
Mel Gurtov
Who’s to Blame If the US-North Korea Summit Isn’t Held?
Patrick Bobilin
When Outrage is Capital
Jessicah Pierre
The Moral Revolution America Needs
Binoy Kampmark
Big Dead Place: Remembering Antarctica
John Carroll Md
What Does It Mean to be a Physician Advocate in Haiti?
George Ochenski
Saving Sage Grouse: Another Collaborative Failure
Sam Husseini
To the US Government, Israel is, Again, Totally Off The Hook
Brian Wakamo
Sick of Shady Banks? Get a Loan from the Post Office!
Colin Todhunter
Dangerous Liaison: Industrial Agriculture and the Reductionist Mindset
Ralph Nader
Trump: Making America Dread Again
George Capaccio
Bloody Monday, Every Day of the Week
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Swing Status, Be Gone
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail