Sunday, August 12, 2012

Ryan nom means actual debate

In April, I predicted that Paul Ryan wouldn't be the VP nominee because
Romney has dedicated his campaign to being a blank, generic candidate who won't take a firm stand on anything. Paul Ryan is the personification of a controversial, explicit policy. Therefore, Romney will not choose him as his running mate, because it he did, he couldn't "etch a sketch" his way out of supporting/defending it.
So imagine my surprise when Ryan was named the nominee.  Romney could have chosen anyone he wanted, and he chose the author of a controversial budget (discussed here and here) that has essentially become official Republican dogma.  Despite Romney's protestations to the contrary, by nominating Ryan he has endorsed Ryan's budget.

Instead of having an election about whether or not people think Obama's doing a bad job, the race will now become a contest of two clear visions of the role of government.  Ryan's budget is nothing less than a destruction of the New Deal and Great Society.  It's likely what Romney & Co. were going to do anyway, but with Ryan on the ticket they have to be more explicit about it.  That's good for everyone, as voters will have more info on which to base their decision.

I can't imagine they're going to like what they see.  Romney got in hot water when his tax plan (cutting rates by 20% and fiddling with deductions to make everyone's share similar) was shown to be impossible.  Ryan's plan, which drops the tax rate even further (from 35% to 25%, instead of 28% in Romney's plan), would necessarily result in an even larger shift of the burden away from the rich.

But if any Republican is capable of defending Ryan's view of the role of government, it's Ryan, so I'm looking forward to the rest of the race.

3 comments:

NWest said...

The Daily Beast had a good quote about Ryan:

"The worst that can happen to Paul Ryan is that the ticket wins. Then Ryan -- who has won a loyal following as the principled budget cutter -- will have to line up behind Romney budgets. This is kind of like putting Eddie Van Halen in REO Speedwagon. Yes it makes REO Speedwagon rock a lot harder, but it totally ruins Van Halen."

Ryan's a budget "cutter" only in the sense of Washington budget "cutting", which starts with automatic increases in the "baseline", and anything below that counts as a "cut". In a zero-based budget world, this man is almost as much a spender as the rest of them. Paul Ryan's budget - $3600 billion spending, $2400 billion income. Obama's budget - $3800 billion spending, $2600 billion income.

Where's the difference again??? Where is a balanced budget, even over, say, 10 years?? If clinton and the 1994 Republicans could do it, why can't we??

TableTopJoe said...

For what it's worth, Clinton and the 1994 Republicans were taxing a booming economy. Obama and the 2010 Republicans are taxing a crippled economy.

If you ask me, and I know you don't NWest, the true question for recent times was what to do with the budget "surplus" of 2000. As they say at the beginning of one of our generation's finest movies, "Where's the Money Lebowski? Where's the f&$king money $hi+head????"

The defining question now is, considering this nation is richer than it's ever been in terms of GDP/capita, why can't we afford things that we've always been able to afford in the past? Where's the money?

You like to talk about balancing the budget tomorrow, but I'd like to know what you'd cut. Specifically.

I hear constantly from Republicans who want to balance the budget yesterday, but they're unwilling to specify meaningful cuts they'd make. To add insult to injury, the last time they were trusted with the purse strings, what happened?

Many would say that "That was then, and I'm talking about now." Nonetheless, credibility means a lot. Why would one possibly trust Republicans to balance the budget if given power, instead of instituting a new round of tax cuts for the wealthy (excuse me, "job creators"), starting a war with Iran (or some other country) and creating another unfunded entitlement for the elderly (their voters).

NWest said...

Pretty simple, basically the CATO plan:

http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/balanced-budget-plan

- Virtually all of the Dept. of Agriculture. Farmers these days aren't struggling to make a living; they're running multi-million dollar enterprises. Food stamps should be phased out and handed over to states and localities, since they have a better idea of the needs of local communities anyway.

- At least 1/2 of the Defense budget. Europe can defend itself. We killed Bin Laden, time to get out of Afganistan.

- Entire dept of education. We taught kids before one ever existed, we can do so again.

- Entire dept of energy, save the nuclear waste & inspection programs.

- Medicare, block grants. Lots more on this as well.

- Social Security. If you have more than $500k in assets, you don't get it. Raise retirement age. Allow people to opt-out, pay in 1/2 as much (to keep system somewhat solvent).

- Interior - charge admission to Nat'l parks, end water subsidies, transfer federal lands to states, end Native American subsidies.

- Labor - transfer UI to states. End davis-bacon and all prevailing wage laws.

- Transport - Highways transferred to states. End all wasteful urban rail subsidies. Privatize air traffic control, end airport subsidies. Privatize Amtrak. Freight rail is booming, if amtrak can't be run profitably it should be ended.

- Homeland Security. Much like defense. At least 1/2 budget cut, preferable 3/4. End the TSA. Reduce CIA/NSA spending, we don't need them spying on us.