A roundup of rational responses to Ryan’s ridiculously ruinous budget

Fortunately for all of us, the Ryan budget is really just a show-piece that will never actually become law.  It was created to show that ridiculous republicans are serious about the deficit–in fact it shows no such thing (personally I’m not worried about the deficit, but that’s another topic for another time).  What the Ryan budget does show is where Rep. Ryan and his fellow republicans stand with regards the vital work that the government does.  And where they stand is that they don’t give a rat’s ass about the poor, the old, or the sick.

President Barack Obama in his remarks at the Associated Press luncheon on Apr. 3, 2012

Instead of moderating their views even slightly, the Republicans running Congress right now have doubled down, and proposed a budget so far to the right it makes the Contract with America look like the New Deal. (Laughter.) In fact, that renowned liberal, Newt Gingrich, first called the original version of the budget “radical” and said it would contribute to “right-wing social engineering.” This is coming from Newt Gingrich.


This congressional Republican budget is something different altogether.  It is a Trojan Horse.  Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.  It is thinly veiled social Darwinism.  It is antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everybody who’s willing to work for it; a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class.  And by gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last  — education and training, research and development, our infrastructure — it is a prescription for decline.   (Emphasis added.)

I must insert here that I am very thankful to the Occupy movement for moving the public’s attention away from a false deficit crisis and to the real-deal issue of the effect of widening social and financial inequality in our society.

Paul Krugman in his column Pink Slime Economics in the New York Times Apr. 1, 2012

…on Thursday Republicans in the House of Representatives passed what was surely the most fraudulent budget in American history.

And when I say fraudulent, I mean just that. The trouble with the budget devised by Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, isn’t just its almost inconceivably cruel priorities, the way it slashes taxes for corporations and the rich while drastically cutting food and medical aid to the needy. Even aside from all that, the Ryan budget purports to reduce the deficit — but the alleged deficit reduction depends on the completely unsupported assertion that trillions of dollars in revenue can be found by closing tax loopholes.


So what are we to make of this proposal? Mr. Gleckman calls it a “mystery meat budget,” but he’s being unfair to mystery meat. The truth is that the filler modern food manufacturers add to their products may be disgusting — think pink slime — but it nonetheless has nutritional value. Mr. Ryan’s empty promises don’t. You should think of those promises, instead, as a kind of throwback to the 19th century, when unregulated corporations bulked out their bread with plaster of paris and flavored their beer with sulfuric acid.

Come to think of it, that’s precisely the policy era Mr. Ryan and his colleagues are trying to bring back. (Emphasis added.)

Again, the point is the same as the President’s, this budget uses the false pretense of deficit reduction in order to push draconian cuts on the social programs that support so many of our people.  The hope on the part of the republicans seems to be that after their constituency is mollified by hearing the terms “deficit reduction” and “tax cuts,” they won’t pay too much attention to the details.

James Surowiecki in Call that a Budget? on the Financial Page in the New Yorker, Apr. 9, 2012

Ryan, the Budget Committee chairman, said that Congress had a “moral obligation” to get the country’s finances under control, and that the vote was a necessary response to a looming “debt-driven crisis.” What he didn’t mention was that it was also a vote to gut the federal government.

Because Ryan presents himself as a reasonable technocrat who’s just making the tough choices that other politicians shirk, that may sound like an exaggeration. But the simple truth is that his plan is not an evenhanded attempt to solve America’s long-term budget problems. It’s a profoundly radical document, its proposals skewed by ideological biases.


Ryan doesn’t exactly hide his hostility to government, but he’s adept at downplaying the impact that his proposed cuts would have on people’s lives. Thus the part of the plan titled “Repairing the Social Safety Net” in fact calls for huge cuts in spending on Medicaid, food stamps, Pell grants, and so on—all of which will unquestionably damage the social safety net and make life harder for millions of Americans. This is about as disingenuous as calling a company’s downsizing initiative “Boosting Our Labor Force.” Reforming the welfare state is a reasonable goal. But when Ryan explains that he’s doing things like cutting Medicaid in order to help “the less fortunate get back on their feet” one hears echoes of Judge Smails, in “Caddyshack,” explaining that he sentenced young criminals to death because “I felt I owed it to them.”


The U.S. does need to get its finances in order. It just doesn’t need to repeal the twentieth century to do so. (Emphasis added.)

On the issue of Ryan’s subterfuge in presenting himself as just a reasonable (and handsome!) man making tough choices, check out this video teaser that he put out to build excitement before presenting his budget:

The great thing about this budget is that it is on its face cruel and ridiculous–and still 228 House republicans voted for it, signalling that they don’t care about fiscal sanity or real people.  Special kudos to the ten republicans that had the good sense to vote no and not align themselves with such a miserable piece of legislation.


One Comment on “A roundup of rational responses to Ryan’s ridiculously ruinous budget”

  1. Adam says:

    Great post. Thanks for putting that all together. Of course all those rational responses are right out of “Selected Quotations of Chairman Mao”.

    I wonder where all these deficit-cutters were several years ago when this country was riding a wave of deficit and debt fueled prosperity.

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