As readers of this blog know all too well, the debt ceiling “cuts” just passed are, for the most part, much less than meets the eye, particularly in the immediate future. But, of course, the debt isn’t the issue and never was.*
No. Not even in a little bit.
Rather, all of the last month or so was a set up for this:
Thousands of Tea Party movement activists are expected to descend this month on town hall meetings across key battleground states as part of an intensifying campaign ahead of the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
Their priority is a plan to slash Medicare costs proposed by House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, which could gain momentum now that a debt-limit deal between President Barack Obama and Congress has made potential Medicare cuts a centerpiece of the deficit debate.
A new congressional committee charged with finding $1.5 trillion in spending cuts by November 23 is expected to focus on Medicare, and the program would see automatic cuts if the committee failed to reach agreement, or if Congress did not approve its recommendations by December 23. Market values of companies that depend on Medicare spending fell more than 10 percent in a sell-off on Wall Street after the agreement.
“The August town halls are going to be, potentially, a referendum on Democrats who don’t care and Republicans who’ve dared to offer real policy solutions, particularly on things like entitlements,” said Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, the small-government advocacy group organizing the initiative.
Freedom (sic) Works is, of course, this grass-roots organization.
Which means that one can readily translate the phrase, “real policy solutions” as “transfer payments from most of America to the richest few.”
But of course, these are the serious people in this discussion. Just ask them:
“The Ryan plan is the only one out there so far, and what we need is an adult conversation with all politicians talking about the real issues,” [said Kibbe]
Yeah: like those adult conversations that attended the discussion of health care last time around.
Also, note the big lie at the heart of this claim: (a) that the Ryan is a “policy solution” despite the fact that it neither saves any real money on either the budget nor in health care spending society-wide (as opposed to federal spending on health care); (b) that it is the only plan out there; and (c) that it has anything to do with fiscal prudence.
Not exactly, as Jon Chait writes at the link above: