The Talented Mr. Ryan

I liked it better when our liars and sociopaths were content with just robbing, screwing, and killing a few people:

Here’s the basic outline of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget in one sentence: Ryan’s budget funds trillions of dollars in tax cuts, defense spending and deficit reduction by cutting deeply into health-care programs and income supports for the poor.

It’s a Randian wet dream:

Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin chairs the House Budget Committee and is also a follower of the philosophy of Ayn Rand. As he put it, ” I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand” which is why he requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged. Normally we don’t think of Republican members of congress as super-concerned with the poor, and we especially don’t think of Republican members of congress who are also committed Randians to be super-concerned with the poor. And, indeed, Ryan’s priorities as revealed in both last year’s version of his budget proposal and this year’s new one are to keep taxes low and military spending high. Obviously to do that you need to ax programs aimed at benefitting poor people.

***

But please God almighty can we avoid referring to this as a measure that “strengthens the safety net” by empowering states to “tailor assistance to their specific populations”? Ryan doesn’t like taxing the wealthy to give resources to the poor and disabled, so he proposes to give fewer resources to the poor and disabled.

Here’s another rundown of the Ryan “plan”:

* Ryan proposes major tax reform, with lower corporate and personal rates balanced out by repealing various tax deductions. The problem? Just like last year, he doesn’t tell anyone which deductions he’s going to eliminate. That’s not a budget proposal. That’s an aspiration. It’s very, very, easy to say you want tax reform. It’s very, very, difficult to do.

His budget would cut tax rates on all federal income taxpayers, especially the wealthy, and the danger is that he would pass the rate reductions without offsetting them by repealing deductions. All this means is a huge tax cut (mostly for the rich) and enormous deficits.

* Ryan is selling the fact that he’s reduced the number of tax brackets as “simplification.” But, as Matt Yglesias says, one has nothing to do with the other. Simplification comes from removing deductions, credits, and loopholes, which amounts to taking money away from people. That’s why it’s hard!

* The cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care programs — including repealing health care reform — are the bulk of the “savings” in Ryan’s budget. Without some sort of mechanism to control medical costs, all these cuts do is shift the burden from the government to individuals.

* The real tell in Ryan’s budget is that in the long run, he projects that all discretionary spending (and automatic spending outside of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security) be reduced to 3.75 percent of GDP by 2050. Why does that matter? Because that category includes military spending, which as CBO reminds us has never dropped below 3 percent* of GDP since World War II. Since Ryan doesn’t want to cut the military, that would leave less than one percent of GDP — to fund the entire rest of the government.

Paul Ryan wants to cut taxes for the rich, jack up defense spending so we can fight more unnecessary wars, and then throw the poor, the elderly, and those in need of healthcare out into the street. It’s just that simple- no matter what he says, those are his clear priorities. It’s right there in his plan. He’s a sociopath, and what’s worse, he won’t be standing over the corpse of Medicare crying as he finishes strangling it. He’s giddy to throw everyone overboard.

I’m terrified to even check Sullivan’s views on this- has he started in with his “it’s a serious plan” bullshit again?

76 replies
  1. 1
    dmsilev says:

    Paul Ryan wants to cut taxes for the trick, jack up defense spending so we can fight more unnecessary wars, and then throw the poor, the elderly, and those in need of healthcare out into the street. It’s just that simple- no matter what he says, those are his clear priorities. He’s a sociopath, and what’s worse, he won’t be standing over the corpse of Medicare crying as he finishes strangling it

    Gunning for a Moore *and* 4 Pinocchios from Politifact? Stop hogging all the awards.

  2. 2
    Cap'n Swag says:

    I really can’t put into words how deranged this plan is. It’s flat-out horrifying. Luckily for Ayn Ryan, I’m sure POLITICO and the usual suspects will be out in force to applaud him for all these bold, serious measures.

  3. 3
    redshirt says:

    Such a responsible, adult plan of fiscal sobriety. And that Paul Ryan – what a dreamboat!

    Cue Tweety getting all breathless.

  4. 4
    Yutsano says:

    Paul Ryan wants to cut taxes for the trick

    This is either a great typo or devastatingly accurate.

  5. 5
    jl says:

    @dmsilev:

    Phhhh. Cole is a trimmer. He pulls his punches.

    Ryan is proposing to kill old people is my take.

    Where is my award?

    Edit: If people can stand the periodic goofy TPM Obama concern troll headlines, that blog just promised to call the Ryan ‘kill old people’ plan for what it is, and take names on who is for it and who is agin’ it on an ongoing basis. I hope they follow through.

  6. 6
    Linnaeus says:

    If Ayn Rand’s philosophy is such an inspiration for Ryan, why won’t he just say, “Government doesn’t need to do anything for the poor”? It would be more honest that what he’s doing now.

    Oh, wait…

  7. 7
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Radical tax reform, that is Obama’s ticket to reelection, says Mr Self important proud Tory, of course he is going to pimp the Ryan Plan on his blog. I wouldn’t expect anything less.

  8. 8
    Chris says:

    He’s a sociopath, and what’s worse, he won’t be standing over the corpse of Medicare crying as he finishes strangling it

    A lot of his constituents will. But not to worry: they’ll find a way to blame “these people,” e.g. everyone but themselves, and use that to talk themselves into voting in even more enthusiastic welfare-cutters.

  9. 9
    El Cid says:

    __

    Paul Ryan wants to cut taxes for the rich, jack up defense spending so we can fight more unnecessary wars, and then throw the poor, the elderly, and those in need of healthcare out into the street.

    Yes, but for true conservatives, that’s how you ‘help’ the needy, you make sure they’re not being enslaved by gubmit.

  10. 10
    kindness says:

    Don’t fret John. Even the Serious Sully is a dickhead on occasion.

  11. 11
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @redshirt: Eyes of baby blue and a plan to kill you…

  12. 12
    Cap'n Swag says:

    Just checked Sully; he’s yet to shower Ryan with praise.

  13. 13
    jl says:

    @Linnaeus:

    “If Ayn Rand’s philosophy is such an inspiration for Ryan”

    why does he show his hypocritical face in a Christian church? Or any church or temple of any kind?

    A hypocritical show for his marks?

  14. 14
    Schlemizel says:

    For sure Sully will be . . . oh lets say massaging to keep this G rated . . . this soulless pillaging of the national treasury for the benefit of the 1%. He will call it reasonable and serious and all those things the Beltway Bozos want to hear.

    If the worst should happen, disaster on a stick, and this rapine measure is passed a year or two later, Sully will stand at the smoking crater that once was America and suggest that nobody could have seen this coming and perhaps he was naive to assume the hard work would be done. He will then write a dung heap suggesting that the only solution will be more tax cuts.

  15. 15
    pragmatism says:

    Mr. Pierce is on top of this, like usual. Love the title: Paul Ryan’s budget is a Cowardly Political Joke. Also, too, love “zombie-eyed, granny-starving, trickle-down Randian snake-oil salesman”

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/p.....il-7480175

  16. 16
    redshirt says:

    @jl: Dissonance is built into the source code. It’s genius, really.

  17. 17
    Ash Can says:

    Ronald Reagan would be so proud of this guy.

  18. 18
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    Parasites who persistently avoid either purpose or reason perish, as they should. -Alan Greenspan, during his Rand period.

    Any inconsistencies with Paul Ryan’s Catholicism are easily explained by the fact that Jesus, born too soon, never had a chance to read Atlas Shrugged.

  19. 19
    PeakVT says:

    has he started in with his “it’s a serious plan” bullshit again?

    He’s still busy wanking.

  20. 20
    SenyorDave says:

    The other thing to look for when Ryan releases details (if he actually does) is what his assumptions are. In ine version I saw last year he had unemployment stabilizing below 4% over a period of years. One problem – that has never actaully occurred in US history. Its all a shell game.

    Let’s be clear about who Ryan is. He is an amoral prick who would willingly cause the deaths of many people.

  21. 21
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Less yapping, more action.

    Stop Paul Ryan

    h/t Digby

  22. 22
    danielx says:

    @El Cid:

    Besides, the poor can join the services (as grunt infantry, of course) and then they can get paid and get health care too. It’s totally win-win!

  23. 23
    hitchhiker says:

    When I was sixteen I thought Ayn Rand was brilliant.

    Then when I was seventeen I noticed that in her novels none of the adults have children. There’s lots of sex, but no babies, which is odd given that she was writing before birth control. Also in her universe there are no elderly people. Also no one is disabled. Also no one randomly gets cancer, MS, or even the flu.

    If Ms. Rand is the inspiration for this new budget, it’s not a bit surprising that it seems to be a budget for a universe in which everyone is between 18 and 65, healthy, and capable of doing manual labor if they only wanted to.

    Paul Ryan is living in a novel that stars himself as the protagonist. Good effing grief.

  24. 24
    beergoggles says:

    then throw the poor, the elderly, and those in need of healthcare out into the street

    How else could they recruit the cannon fodder for their wars?

  25. 25
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    I liked it better when our liars and sociopaths were content with just robbing, screwing, and killing a few people

    Turns out that when Staff Sgt. Robert Bales failed out of the banksters murder club, he decided that the “killing a few people” route was just going to have to suffice.

  26. 26
    catclub says:

    1. 75 year olds with dementia will get to go toe to toe with private insurance companies for coverage – and battle them every payment of the way.

    2. Where the hell will those private insurance companies even appear, that will be insuring 85 year olds with multiple ailments – and yet cost less than present day Medicare?

    3. Tax receipts will be 19% of GDP, but all methods of obtaining tax receipts will be cut by 30% — from level which do not NOW obtain 19% of GDP in tax receipts.

    It is all imaginary unicorns with flying monkeys coming out their butts.

  27. 27
    danielx says:

    @hitchhiker:

    There’s a lot of that living in your own novel/movie thing going around with wingnuts. RedState Strike Force!

    Also, too – Wolverines!

  28. 28
    Svensker says:

    @Linnaeus:

    If Ayn Rand’s philosophy is such an inspiration for Ryan, why won’t he just say, “Government doesn’t need to do anything for the poor”?

    The part he seems to have forgotten is that Rand didn’t have any use for the military, either. She was a sociopath, but not a militaristic one.

  29. 29
    rlrr says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.http://kfmonkey.blogspot.com/2.....009-7.html

  30. 30
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Eyes of baby blue and a plan to kill you…

    Naive Driver: Hey, let’s stop and pick this guy up. He’s got a case of Bud Government Lite!
    Axe Murderer in the backseat: Yeah, and a chainsaw!

  31. 31
    Culture of Truth says:

    Two quick reactions

    1) The ideology came first (Ayn Rand). The budget follows after
    2) Would Ryan “strengthens the national defense” by empowering states to “tailor defense spending to their specific populations”?

  32. 32
    Cat Lady says:

    Well, the whole Ryan dog and pony show was trotted out on Morning Ho for its roll out. Shorter Ryan – we’re the only ones looking out for the long term health of Medicare, which decoded means we must destroy it to save it.

    Then the admnistration guy said Ryan’s plan will create a death spiral as only sick people will stay in Medicare increasing the cost, at which point Joe Scar sneered at the catch-phrase “death spiral” (“expect to hear that term a lot!”), because Republicans would never demagogue something like Death Panels.

  33. 33
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity: The story on Bales as con man who joined the army to escape his victims of course broke the same day David Brooks wrote a paen to him as a good man. Perfect.

  34. 34
    eemom says:

    @Svensker:

    She was also a rabid atheist and pro-abortion, though one never hears those facts mentioned by her republitard idolators. Funny that.

  35. 35
    Wannabe Speechwriter says:

    I just responded to Paul Ryan’s budget-by giving money to the guy challenging him, Rob Zerban-

    https://robzerban.ngpvanhost.com/crmapi/contribute

    Why don’t you guys start an Act Blue page for him? What better way to respond to Paul Ryan’s cuts to the unemployed by making him unemployed?

  36. 36
    LGRooney says:

    he requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged

    I’m sure, however, he doesn’t require them to understand it (or even better, compare it to both reality and other forms of fictionalized philosophies).

  37. 37
    Quincy says:

    If Rob Zerban were to somehow unseat Ryan, I think that would be the single best thing that could happen this election cycle outside of Obama’s reelection. That might just be enough to convince the rest of the crazies that screwing with Medicare is a career-ender, and scare them off the subject for a while. I think the DCCC should put everything it’s got into that race if it looks at all winnable.

  38. 38
    chopper says:

    so it’s back to cutting Medicare and taxes for the rich. i’m sure if the dems point that out politifact will have a coronary.

  39. 39
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Wannabe Speechwriter:

    Why don’t you guys start an Act Blue page for him? What better way to respond to Paul Ryan’s cuts to the unemployed by making him unemployed?

    Operation Saving private Ryan

  40. 40
    pragmatism says:

    @LGRooney: meanwhile Justice Thomas requires staffers to read the Fountainhead. But they can’t ask questions about it during oral argument. OK, they can but have only done so once.

  41. 41
    maurinsky says:

    My sister and I decided that if everyone read The World According to Garp instead of anything by Ayn Rand, the world would be a more compassionate and generous place. It worked for both of us.

  42. 42
    Provider_UNE says:

    1. 75 year olds with dementia will get to go toe to toe with private insurance companies for coverage – and battle them every payment of the way.

    That’s just the kind of fight they like, a fair one.

    /snark
    .

  43. 43
    Poopyman says:

    To be fair, the whole plan looked a lot better in the original crayon.

    @danielx: Took the words right out of my fingertips.

  44. 44
    me says:

    @Quincy: Zerban’s a good, smart guy, I’ve known him for a while, but beating Ryan is a tall order especially after the redistricting that added a chunk of Waukesha county to his district. The lawsuit probably won’t affect it much either. That said, Zerban’s a much better candidate then the last several ones plus Ryan’s made himself a lighting rod.

  45. 45
    Quincy says:

    If a Democratic pol were to admit that the writings of Karl Marx had influenced his or her views in any way, his or her career would be over. Yet Republican budget point men, Fed Chairs and Supreme Court justices openly praise Ayn Rand as a prominent influence on how they perform their duties and they aren’t laughed out of politics. There is something profoundly wrong with our country.

  46. 46
    Wannabe Speechwriter says:

    @me: I have no doubt it will be hard. I know the odds are against him. However, even if he looses, what does it say to other Republicans if their Democratic opponents raise a ton of money off of Republican support for privatizing Medicare? If Zerban gets a ton of cash and starts to close the gap, you may just well see a lot of Republicans running for the hills on Ryan’s plan…

  47. 47
    catclub says:

    @Cat Lady: “create a death spiral as only sick people will stay in Medicare increasing the cost, at which point Joe Scar sneered at the catch-phrase “death spiral” ”

    If they imposed MUST COVER rules in such a seniors insurance pool, as are in the PPACA, no one could afford to even offer coverage. If not, then the only ones who will be able to get into the affordable plans will be the extremely healthy.
    What other kind of 75-85 year old would be insurable at Medicare reimbursement rates?

  48. 48
    Elizabelle says:

    NYTimes website: one sentence summation on front page:

    The Republicans believe that worries over the deficit will outweigh affection for Medicare and other programs.

    Maybe the Villagers will buy this. Don’t know who else would.

  49. 49
    Yutsano says:

    @Elizabelle:

    The Republicans believe that worries over the deficit will outweigh affection for Medicare and other programs.

    Please name which Republicans NYT. And stop being cagey about it.

  50. 50
    Nicole says:

    I’d be curious to hear Ryan’s thoughts on Ayn Rand’s support for open immigration (having been an illegal immigrant herself) and any of her statements on abortion, including:

    “Abortion is a moral right—which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?”

    I would guess the number of Randites in government who have actually read anything of hers besides The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged is roughly equal to the number of Christianists in government who have actually read the entire Bible.

    (Not defending Rand’s body of work, but she was a bit more complicated than “fuck the poor.” Whereas Ryan is not more complicated.)

  51. 51
    Librarian says:

    he requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged

    I’m sure, however, he doesn’t require them to understand it (or even better, compare it to both reality and other forms of fictionalized philosophies).

    Otto West: Apes don’t read philosophy.
    Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don’t understand it.

  52. 52
    Calouste says:

    @Quincy:

    And Marx was actually a thinker. Rand is known as just a novelist (she has apparently written non-fiction, that no one ever mentions).

  53. 53
    catclub says:

    @Elizabelle: In column A: you get adequate healthcare and some number (the deficit) gets larger.

    In column B: you do not get adequate healthcare and some number gets larger at a slightly lower rate.

    I’m thinking a lot of senior citizens might go for column A.

  54. 54
    Mike in NC says:

    Ah, Ryan’s just trying to remind Newt, Ricky, and Willard that he’d be a dreamboat running mate.

  55. 55
    RossinDetroit says:

    @pragmatism:

    Indeed. In fact, Pierce has had righteous sparks of indignation and glory flying off of him all day. It’s wonderful to read but I wouldn’t want to be in the room with him when he gets like this.

  56. 56
    Elizabelle says:

    @catclub:

    They can’t stand the idea of a safety net, or that people sometimes need it.

    I still think we’re approaching peak wingularity, because their assertions are baseless, and they’re reeking of flop sweat.

  57. 57
    JGabriel says:

    John Cole @ Top:

    I’m terrified to even check Sullivan’s views on this — has he started in with his “it’s a serious plan” bullshit again?

    You’re asking us? We read you so we don’t have to read Sully!

    .

  58. 58
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @SenyorDave:

    The other thing to look for when Ryan releases details (if he actually does) is what his assumptions are. In ine version I saw last year he had unemployment stabilizing below 4% over a period of years. One problem – that has never actaully occurred in US history. Its all a shell game.

    Yeah, that was pretty amazing. i can’t wait to see what the Heritage Foundation makes up for him this time!

  59. 59
    Nicole says:

    @Calouste:

    And Marx was actually a thinker. Rand is known as just a novelist (she has apparently written non-fiction, that no one ever mentions).

    Of course they don’t. Because that’s where she went on (at great and boring length) about her opposition to militarism, discrimination based on race, and anything related to Ronald Reagan. And again, abortion. Here’s another quote from her on that:

    “Observe that by ascribing rights to the unborn, i.e., the nonliving, the anti-abortionists obliterate the rights of the living: the right of young people to set the course of their own lives. The task of raising a child is a tremendous, lifelong responsibility, which no one should undertake unwittingly or unwillingly. Procreation is not a duty: human beings are not stock-farm animals. For conscientious persons, an unwanted pregnancy is a disaster; to oppose its termination is to advocate sacrifice, not for the sake of anyone’s benefit, but for the sake of misery qua misery, for the sake of forbidding happiness and fulfillment to living human beings.”

  60. 60
    PurpleGirl says:

    @maurinsky: I think reading any book by John Irving will improve one’s compassion rating.

  61. 61
    Elizabelle says:

    From NYTimes article:

    “We are here to offer Americans the chance to choose which future they want,” Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, said, positing a choice between “a path to renew prosperity” and “the president’s path of debt and decline.”

    A starved beast is a healthy beast.

    Up is down.

    We can slash our way to prosperity. Our serfs will own their prosperity!

  62. 62
    JGabriel says:

    @Yutsano:

    @NYT via Elizabelle:

    The Republicans believe that worries over the deficit will outweigh affection for Medicare and other programs.

    Please name which Republicans NYT. And stop being cagey about it.

    I’m sure the majority of Republicans really do believe that. These are people who hate Medicare and Medicaid, who despise improvements to health care access with a dark and evil unholy passion, after all.

    .

  63. 63
    pragmatism says:

    i can sense the ryan fluffing coming over at sully’s. put up a post saying that 85% of the ABA members surveyed predict that USSC will not overturn obamacare then put out the post about how serious and brave and heroic and responsible ryan’s budget is.

  64. 64
    PurpleGirl says:

    @JGabriel: But they use both programs, claiming that I paid in and I want to get my money’s worth.

  65. 65
    Thymezone says:

    Your take on the “plan” is right on, John. Nothing more really needs to be added. It’s a scam, on the same scale as George Bush’s Privatized Social Security. Flim flamoozle, from the get go.

  66. 66
    Metavirus says:

    I am so fed up with rethugs going wet in the pants over Ayn Rand. Need I say it again? Rand was a rabid antitheist – which is pretty much anathema to anyone in Republican politics today. http://www.librarygrape.com/20.....igion.html

    You simply cannot subscribe to Rand’s musings on capitalism and rationalism without also signing up to the fervent rejection of the irrational and religious. They are inextricably linked.

  67. 67
    TK-421 says:

    Has it already been noted in the comments here that the DNC and various Dems are sending out lots of emails fundraising against Republicans because of Paul Ryan, but not fundraising for the Dem candidate running directly against Paul Ryan? Has anyone thought to ask that question of Party leadership?

    I wonder why Dems want us to be so scared of Paul Ryan, but apparently haven’t given much thought to actually getting rid of Paul Ryan.

  68. 68
    Thymezone says:

    @TK-421:

    Ryan has one of the safest seats in the House.

  69. 69
    Quincy says:

    @Calouste:

    Agreed. It wasn’t my intention to imply they are at all equivalent. That’s the most disturbing part. It’s not that left-wing extremists are shunned while right-wing extremists are embraced, it’s that left wing intellectuals are considered beyond the pale while right-wing pseudo-intellectual amoral hacks are the basis for one party’s economic platform and all CNBC programming.

  70. 70
    mdblanche says:

    @Yutsano: General Custer, Lord Cardigan, J. Bruce Ismay…

  71. 71
    Thoughtcrime says:

    No one knows what it’s like
    To be the bad man
    To be the sad man
    Behind blue eyes

    No one knows what it’s like
    To be hated
    To be fated
    To telling only lies

  72. 72
    Tickraw says:

    Go easy on poor Andrew, I think he’s recovering from Goldberg going Hebrew Hammer on him today.

    “Andrew, however, seems impervious to the influence of new information.”

    HAMMERTIME!

  73. 73
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    @Quincy:

    Here, have a ‘this’.

    When Chomsky gets his 9-12 weekday morning show on MSNBC or Current TV, followed by The bell hooks Political Resistance Theatre Hour!, I’ll stop laughing at claims of liberal bias, or even of ‘balance’.

  74. 74
    TK-421 says:

    @Thymezone:

    Ryan has one of the safest seats in the House.

    President Obama won WI-01 in 2008. He got 52% of the vote there. Why is a district that favors President Obama, in your opinion, “one of the safest seats” for a guy like Paul Ryan?

  75. 75
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @maurinsky:

    My sister and I decided that if everyone read The World According to Garp instead of anything by Ayn Rand, the world would be a more compassionate and generous place. It worked for both of us.

    Who is John Garp?

  76. 76

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