I should probably just shut up about Paul Ryan, because I believe there’s a federal statute requiring pundits to marvel at his “seriousness” and “courage.” I think there’s also a constitutional mandate enshrining him as a “deficit hawk,” even though he voted for the Bush tax cuts, the Bush military and security spending binge, the Medicare prescription drug benefit, the bank bailout and the auto bailout, and against the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan. So I think for now I’ll just repost my screed about the Ryan plan from April 2011, suggesting that fuzzy math in the service of Tea Party ideology is not all that brave.
I don’t blame Ryan for trying to put a positive spin on his plan, rather than acknowledging that it would abolish Medicare and replace it with subsidies that won’t keep up with health inflation. People like Medicare. And I can understand why he’d open a budget negotiation with fantasy numbers that depend on 2.8% unemployment in 2021 and “dynamic scoring” that can’t pass a laugh test, rather than real numbers that would require much tougher choices. It’s smart politics. I just don’t understand how it became the political equivalent of the bayonet charge at Fredericksburg.
There’s more, and it’s worth a read. Grunwald has obviously been driven as mad as I have by the Beltway media’s infatuation with the allegedly courageous Paul Ryan. After all, what’s so courageous about consistently voting to increase spending for eight years, and then following it up with a plan that cuts taxes on the rich, slashes spending on the poor, and doesn’t even have the guts to get its arithmetic right? That doesn’t make Ryan brave, it just makes him a modern-day Republican.