Ryan Proposal Neither Brave Nor Serious
by Jason Williams, Fri Apr 08, 2011 at 06:57:54 PM EDT
The infallable James Fallows with a concise fillet of Rep. Paul Ryan's budget:
1) A plan to deal with budget problems that says virtually nothing about military spending is neither brave nor serious. That would be enough to disqualify it from the "serious" bracket, but there's more.
2) A plan that proposes to eliminate tax loopholes and deductions, but doesn't say what any of those are, is neither brave nor serious. It is, instead canny -- or cynical, take your pick. The reality is that many of these deductions, notably for home-mortgage interest payments, are popular and therefore risky to talk about eliminating.
3) A plan that exempts from future Medicare cuts anyone born before 1957 -- about a quarter of the population, which includes me -- is neither brave nor serious. See "canny or cynical: take your pick" above.
I could go on, but I'll just say that Ryan's plan utterly avoids the challenge of "bending the curve" of medical costs, which "serious" people have struggled with for years. Instead it relies on two nostrums: (a) The myth that letting people comparison shop for health-insurance policies will hold costs down, despite exactly zero evidence from the real world that this has worked; and (b) The idea that decreeing lower spending for older people will hold down overall cost growth, rather than just apportioning it on economic grounds and denying it, "death panel" style, to people who run out of money.
Nowhere but in David Brooks mushy mind is this a "brave and serious" plan.
Attacks on women, latinos, public broadcasting, and the elderly in the shutdown debate aren't outlier policy in the GOP paradaigm, they are the new norm. The "gaps" in Ryan's proposal aren't oversights, they're a necessary part of pushing the agenda.
They really have no solutions.