PAUL RYAN’S HORROR STORY
In 1980 the first ‘Friday the 13th’ movie was released and audiences were horrified as Jason dutifully slashed his way through the teenage population of Crystal Lake. In 1980 Ronald Reagan was elected President with the promise that he could slash taxes to jump start the economy and thereby cut the deficit. He was wrong. (Future President G. H. W. Bush expanded on the horror theme by famously characterizing Reagan’s plan as “voodoo economics” – a name that would become almost impossibly apt).
In the movies Jason will not stay dead and neither will “Reaganomics” – you cannot kill a zombie. President G.W. Bush tried “voodoo economics” in 2001 and again it exploded the deficit. In 2010 the Bush tax cuts were extended for 2 years and still the deficits grew.
Now making the Bush tax cuts permanent is not a sufficient goal. Paul Ryan has revealed the Republican budget plan for 2013. In it the top tax rate is cut to 25% on both individuals and corporations. To repeat a mistake could be considered stupid. To repeat it again and again, to benefit a small number of people should be considered __________(you fill in the blank).
Note: Coincidence or something more? After the release of the original Friday the 13th, 8 sequels were released during the Reagan and G.H.W. Bush administrations, the last in 1993, coinciding with the first year of Clinton’s incumbency. No more were released until 3 additional during G. W. Bush’s two terms. None have been released during Obama’s tenure. Hmmmm.
THE RYAN BUDGET PLAN EXPLAINED
The Ryan budget plan is very simple. It is designed to balance the budget – by 2040. So we know right away that it isn’t a balanced budget plan. The rich have their taxes cut, the middle class and poor have their medicare benefits cut. Federal spending will be slashed. The Pentagon budget will increase. Any questions?
THE POLITICS OF RYAN’S BUDGET PLAN
Has Ryan read the mood of his party correctly? It is hard to believe so. You can convince Tea Partiers that slashing government is good for the economy and them, especially when you suggest that the things being slashed are Planned Parenthood; National Endowment for the Arts; National Endowment for the Humanities; Amtrak and programs for the poor. Patriotism will allow you to slip in Pentagon increases. But when the Democrats point out that it is Medicare that is under the gun Republicans are going to have a bigger sell.
When you add in cuts to middle class programs at the same time as tax cuts for the rich, the sell becomes impossible. Reagan promised nothing but sunshine; Bush Jr. even added a prescription drug plan for seniors; Ryan’s plan is cake for a few and cod liver oil for the majority.
The Republican candidates ran away from his 2012 budget (Newt called it “social engineering”). Don’t expect any of them to regard this plan more favorably.
LYING WITH NUMBERS
Thomas Sowell is a conservative commentator. To promote the idea that conservatism is a panacea for blacks in America he wrote in a recent Townhall.com piece that a NY Times in 1992 trumpeted: “White-Black Disparity in Income Narrowed in 80′s, Census Shows.”. He suggests that the Reagan years weren’t therefore “the ”decade of greed,” the era of “neglect” of the poor and minorities, if not “covert racism”?”
He goes on to point out that 1n 1988 (the last year of the Reagan administration) that the median net worth of whites was 10 times that of blacks, but by 2009 (the first year of the Obama administration) it had risen to 19 times. His implication is that somehow conservative white Reagan was better for blacks economically than liberal black Obama.
But even Sowell’s own facts don’t support his argument. In the 20 years between Reagan and Obama the President was a Republican in 12 of them. Economic statistics in the first year of a President’s term belong to his predecessor; in this case 8 years of G. W. Bush and his ‘compassionate conservatism”.
ROMNEY MAKES STUFF UP
Mitt Romney threw out a claim yesterday: “And the government would have banned Thomas Edison’s light bulb. Oh yeah, Obama’s regulators actually did just that.” Is he correct?
A little history: In 2007 Congress passed “The Energy Independence and Security Act” – which requires that light bulbs meet efficiency standards – with overwhelming bipartisan support. Then President Bush signed it willingly. It didn’t ban any light bulb and President Obama had nothing to do with it. The light bulb manufacturers have already moved on, discontinuing the least efficient bulbs.
However, when the Republican primary season opened, the light bulb standards, like every other ‘green’ measure, were subject to derision and held up as an example of government overreach by the Obama administration.
Romney, yet again, has adopted yet another Conservative myth – months after the issue had real resonance.