It's nice to see Paul Ryan (R-WI) on his, "Let Me Remind You Why You Didn't Elect Me" Tour, as he's trotted out his budget proposals that American voters rejected four months ago.
Most entertaining is how his budget includes a foundation of eliminating the Affordable Health Care Act, something that even Fox News host Chris Wallace said to him, "That's not going to happen," since it would require the Democratic majority in the Senate to cut it, and then President Obama not vetoing it. But this cut -- which will never happen -- is included as a $1.8 trillion savings over the next decade by Mr. Ryan on his "balance" sheet. In much the same way, I suppose, that "Fox News" is "fair and balanced."
And on top of that, Rep. Ryan's budget includes $700 billion cut from Medicare, a savings mandated by that same Health Care Act which he himself blasted the president for proposing during the campaign.
(It also seems a squirrelly bit of CPA bookkeeping legerdemain by claiming savings both for cutting the entire Affordable Health Care Act, as well as savings for cuts from within that same Act. Perhaps it should be known as "ledgerdemain.")
Mr. Ryan also includes $600 billion in tax revenue increases that the president already achieved -- against Republican howling. But now that it's passed, well, sure, it looks swell having all that revenue when you're trying to balance a budget. One wonders where that $600 would have come from if Republicans had gotten their way and blocked the tax increase for the wealthiest Americans.
Less swell for those who aren't the wealthiest Americans are additional Medicare cuts of $129 billion over 10 years with a voucher-like program for those pesky seniors. And $962 billion cut to programs that benefit the pesky poor, among them food stamps. This is known as the Republican-equivalent of Marie Antoinette, "Let them eat air"
When pressed about how these are the very programs that help take the Republican ticket that Mr. Ryan was on to crushing defeat in November, he responded, "The election didn't go our way. Believe me, I know what that feels like. That means we surrender our principles? That means we stop believing what we believe in?"
Well, no, of course it doesn't mean you surrender your principles. But it does mean you might want to surrender some of your specific proposals that voters hate, so that you have a chance of getting public support for those actual principles of yours. Principles based on the far right Ayn Rand, who your principles denied being a follower of, despite saying so on tape at an Ayn Rand society lecture.
And you might want to stop believing that you can create your own reality, which is the mantra of the far right. Reality also has a way of always coming to the surface. And in the end, believing in something that is "not going to happen," doesn't make you noble or a martyr -- it makes you the poster boy for your opponents.
Mitt Romney did his part behind closed doors, and got videotaped in the process. For reasons only known to himself, and Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan gracefully did it directly to the cameras. And put it between binders.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
Feedspot Badge of Honor