Although his own budget plan met with an unenthusiastic reaction, Paul Ryan remains with us
. After all, he's the chair of the House Budget Committee.
"Our plan lets Washington spend only what it takes in," he said. "This is how every family tries to live, in good times and in bad. Your government should do the same."
Yes, he went for that
cliche. Ronald Reagan used it all the time in 1979 and 1980. Then he got into office and ran up a deficit worse than all previous deficits combined.
The BULLSHIT ALERT sirens should blare any time a Republican spouts this line. In truth, most households in this country owe a horrifying amount of money. Hence the power of the GOP's favorite cliche: It appeals to the unspoken guilt felt by householders who feel overwhelmed by their personal debts. I believe that shrinks refer to this psychological phenomenon as projection
Let's get back to Ryan, whose talent for double-speech has become genuinely profound:
Ryan took aim at President Obama and Senate Democrats, saying the tax increases in a proposal from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) only "fuel more spending."
"We know where this path leads—straight into a debt crisis, and along the way, fewer jobs, fewer opportunities, and less security," Ryan said, painting a desperate image of rising interest rates and inflating debt payments.
No, a higher tax rate for the wealthy leads to higher taxes for the wealthy. More revenue should help achieve the stated goal of Washington spending only what it takes in.
Higher taxes on the rich do not "fuel more spending." Y'know what does
fuel more spending? War.
Take the wars Bush started: That was a couple of trillion bucks right there. And now the neo-cons hope to engineer another war in Iran, a hideously expensive idea that doesn't seem to bother Ryan at all. (If Ryan were a proper Libertarian, he'd be as anti-war as he is anti-entitlements.)
During his VP debate with Biden, Ryan defended the idea of lowering taxes to balance the budget. Remember the petulant tone in his voice when he said "It's been done twice"? His reference went to JFK and Reagan.
Ryan refuses to remind his audience of a fact mentioned earlier: Ronald Reagan ran up massive deficits. Reagan did not create a balanced budget -- quite the opposite.
Most people don't know that JFK's tax plan also increased the debt. What's more, such was Kennedy's intent. He had inherited more-or-less balanced books, and thus felt that he had some room for experimentation.
(Here's another fun fact: In the early 1960s, much of the business community opposed
the idea of lowering the top tax rate, on the grounds that such a move might upset the economic equilibrium. Different times...!)
So our present budget battle isn't really about the deficit. It's about other things. That's why Republicans fixate on the national debt only at those times when no Republican inhabits the Oval Office. That's why Ryan keeps pushing ideas designed to make the debt worse.
Here are the three goals Republicans really
1. Lower taxes on the wealthy.
2. Robbing entitlements through privatization.
3. Making sure Obama does not have a single good year.