Saturday, March 16, 2013

Ryan and the three goals

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 want:

1. Lower taxes on the wealthy.
2. Robbing entitlements through privatization.
3. Making sure Obama does not have a single good year.
What is left to privatise in the US?
Has anybody ever seen Paul Ryan and Rand Paul in the same room?

The top pate was 91% when JFK took an axe to taxes. Not sure what it was under Reagan but higher than it is now. Something about the law of diminishing returns (pun intended).

Thing is, lowering rates was offset by the amount of well paying middle-class manufacturing jobs here in the Big PX. Wall Street was just getting started add "share-holder value" to industrial investments. Now with everybody working at low paying Mcjobs upper rate cuts drastically reduce government income.

The republican argument against Social Security during the Reagan years was that you paid in way more than you took out at retirement. They used the lower life expectancy of black males in their arguments about how unfair it was. Now the argument is that retired folks live longer and take out way more than they contribute, ain't medical science wonderful?

As for war with Iran, China's junk-yard dog Kim Jong whatever has other plans. Republicans and Obama should be satisfied with that no matter where the war their cronies make money selling weapons.

I like the idea about Obama not having a good time, make him struggle. After all he wanted the White House that badly he had to have him minions cheat to get there.

What's different this time, Joe, is the press has actually called Ryan out on his redux BS. Republicans will argue that the plan is a 'serious' stab at reducing the deficit, the GOPs crisis du jour. What they do not want to reveal is that the deficit is coming down or that their mantra about SS and Medicare sustainability is a cover for a voucher program and a Wall St. raid on what's left of the general public's safety net. The long-term debt is something to keep in consideration but the main thing at the moment is the job deficit and healthcare costs. We cannot afford another half trillion dollars in defense spending or this suicidal endless war mentality. When it comes to social security and medicare, the majority of the American public has already rendered their vote: they do not favor privatization because they know the programs will be gutted to favor the money grubbers.

Ryan and other Republicans love referencing Reagan, except when it comes to those deficits and the fact he raised taxes, something like 8 times. The truth of the matter is that Reagan wouldn't be able to get a cup of coffee in the present configuration of the Republican Party. He'd be labeled 'too liberal' for their tastes. Instead, we have the usual roundup of crazies at CPAC, spouting the same nonsense.

Maybe this is what you get when you're invested so heavily in magical thinking. These people don't seem to know that they lost the election last year.

That's one powerful metaphor they've got-- that family budget thing. (I'm wondering lately if it's the single most important weapon they've got.)

And it's hard to explain away, especially to to low information (or processing power) voters, even though it is so very stupid.

Derisive responses might be worth a try: My dad can't tax the rich! Or print money! Or sell bonds!

But a better countermeasure might be to start using the pie metaphor. A lot. To wit, "For more than thirty years Republicans have talked us into giving a bigger and bigger share of the pie to the rich with the goal of more pie for all. How is that working out for us?"

Obama won't do it. But more of the rest of us can.

And slogans, we need slogans. I'm partial to "Tax Us Like It's 1965!"
There is a simple response to the family budget BS.

A family cannot issue currency in the same denomination its debts are owed.

The US government can(Which is not to say that such things can be down consequence free).
The family budget metaphor needs to be used, but used in a better fashion, because right now we have an asswipe Daddy Knows Best model in which the Daddy buys as many guns and warplanes and speed boats as Daddy wants while Mom isn't "allowed" to get a new furnace and the kids' new shoes are sneered at as "entitlements."

I want all *our* money going to new roads, bridges, schools and saving our cities, and wiring up our rural areas. Zero going to loading up on Depends for those peeing their pants over north Korea.

The reason Republicans obsess over inflation is that inflation helps those who owe money and hurts those who lend money. In other words, inflation is good for the poor, bad for the rich.

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