Budget “Seriousness,” Defined
As I write this, the countdown to government shutdown proceeds apace, with Republicans performing rhetorical double Luntzes to try to pin blame on Democrats. Amidst that pathetic kabuki we have what passes for “seriousness” in the budget proposal of one Paul Ryan, congressman from Wisconsin and chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Ryan’s plan, cynically titled the “Path to Prosperity,” would give $125,000 tax break to everyone who earns a million per year, with much, much more due to those who skim off more . . . like this cow flop who made an estimated $32 million last year. “I love you,” Glenn Beck told Ryan, in introduction, on his radio show Tuesday. And why wouldn’t he? Ryan is proposing to give Beck $4 million in annual tax relief. (Beck, of course, may make quite a bit less next year as Fox canceled his TV gig, but he’ll still “earn” millions touting conspiracy theories and oozing anti-Semitism.)
According to Beck, unions = “communists, socialists, and revolutionaries.” I don’t think even ol’ Joe McCarthy ever got his head that far up his own rectum.
But Glenn Beck and Paul Ryan were made for each other. What is shocking is how much respectful attention Ryan—and his spooge blot of a proposal—have gotten from non-troglodytes. He’s been on NPR, and they didn’t laugh him off the air. According to the Associated Press, even the president gives the man his props:
“”I’ve read it. I can tell you what’s in it,” Obama said. The plan, the president added, was “a serious proposal,” and Ryan “a sincere guy.”
Notwithstanding Obama’s habitual reluctance to speak truth to morons, Ryan’s numbers are absurdly unserious, as this analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities demonstrates.
And the seven-term congressman is, himself, a grinning huckster in the used-car salesman/televangelist tradition. Best summation of Ryan as a person is by “the collective” at (that Politburo-directed pamphlet) Esquire:
Look at him when he talks about dismantling the hard-won protections of the shrinking middle class. He is so positively lubricious about it that his teeth seem to be sweating. Pain (not his) purifies the nation. Pain (not his) makes us free. This is what Paul Ryan dreams of when he dreams of a free people.
Ryan is yet another disciple of Ayn Rand, whose upside-down and backward conception of human value and morality also animated the life work of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. Like Greenspan, Ryan is also a simpering hypocrite, having lived off the public dole through high school and college. Now he’s fashioned himself a Galtian superman, heroically turning back time and halting trains—not to fight crime, but to inflict suffering on the most vulnerable.
That this guy is given any credibility or respect at all, from anyone, signals either
a) credulity, bordering on mental retardation; or
b) cowardly surrender to naked douchebaggery.
Some of this is utterly predictable. The New York Times’ David Brooks: “His proposal will set the standard of seriousness for anybody who wants to play in this discussion.”
The WaPo’s Ezra Klein: “His budget puts Republicans at risk by yoking them to a plan to privatize Medicare, slash Medicaid and cut taxes on the wealthy.”
Well, yes. It might be politically risky. But saying anything less than “Ryan’s plan means an ass-rape in the oubliette for the vast majority of innocent Americans while heaping additional riches on billionaires for no logical reason and is, therefore, beyond the bounds of polite debate,” gives it unwarranted credibility. Esquire:
The emerging default position within the Beltway seems to be that Ryan’s budget is just crazy enough to make the recommendations of the president’s Deficit Commission, which themselves were bad enough to be laughed out of the court of public opinion not six months ago, seem like a reasonable alternative.
Advancing crazy demands in order to cast a kinder light on more reasonable demands was among the most effective tactics employed by leftists in the post-war struggle for civil rights, women’s rights, and a host of social insurance programs that buoyed three generations of America’s middle class. By advancing ever more unreasonable, asinine demands backed by the full force of Heritage, Cato, and the various Koch-funded think tanks, the nation’s Asshole Class have already gutted most of that in favor of tax breaks for the super-rich and corporations.
But they’re not done yet. They want more.
Welcome to the Banana States of America, where Freedom Reigns™. Here’s your mosquito net. That’ll be $500. Payment to be made in cash—gold coins only, thank you. And what are you gonna do about it?