Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Romney campaign is inept. Who announces their selection of a running mate late on a Friday night after most of the nation's newspapers have already gone to print? The answer is "nobody." A campaign does a well orchestrated roll out of its VP selection. This is an act of desperation to change the subject after a very bad summer for Romney.
It also exposes a very weak candidate who is not his own man. The Wall Street Journal, Weekly Standard, National Review and a host of right-wing pundits and bloviators all instructed Romney this week that he must choose the GOP's alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand acolyte, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Conservatives are going back to the model of Dick Cheney as the shadow president and George W. Bush as his wooden boy puppet. Paul Ryan is whom they want for shadow president, and Willard "Mittens" Romney will be his wooden boy puppet. Norquist: Romney Will Do As Told—David Frum:
[Conservatives] have reconciled themselves to a Romney candidacy because they see Romney as essentially a weak and passive president who will concede leadership to congressional conservatives:
All we have to do is replace Obama. ... We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don't need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. ... We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don't need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate.
The requirement for president?
Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.
Acknowledging his role as wooden boy puppet, Mittens Romney made a telling gaffe this morning by introducing Paul Ryan as "the next president of the United States." Romney will do as told.
So the GOP's alleged boy genius and Ayn Rand acolyte, Rep. Paul Ryan, has been forced upon Romney as his VP pick. Already the loathsome D.C. media villagers and Beltway bloviators who view themselves as the "very serious people" are describing Paul Ryan as a "very serious person" and a "policy wonk." Ryan is neither. Paul Krugman labeled Paul Ryan The Flimflam Man - NYTimes.com:
One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: as long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he’s hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic.
Which brings me to the innovative thinker du jour: Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
Mr. Ryan has become the Republican Party’s poster child for new ideas thanks to his “Roadmap for America’s Future,” a plan for a major overhaul of federal spending and taxes. News media coverage has been overwhelmingly favorable; on Monday, The Washington Post put a glowing profile of Mr. Ryan on its front page, portraying him as the G.O.P.’s fiscal conscience. He’s often described with phrases like “intellectually audacious.”
But it’s the audacity of dopes. Mr. Ryan isn’t offering fresh food for thought; he’s serving up leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flimflam sauce.
Mr. Ryan’s plan calls for steep cuts in both spending and taxes. He’d have you believe that the combined effect would be much lower budget deficits, and, according to that Washington Post report, he speaks about deficits “in apocalyptic terms.” And The Post also tells us that his plan would, indeed, sharply reduce the flow of red ink: “The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that Rep. Paul Ryan’s plan would cut the budget deficit in half by 2020.”
But the budget office has done no such thing. At Mr. Ryan’s request, it produced an estimate of the budget effects of his proposed spending cuts — period. It didn’t address the revenue losses from his tax cuts.
The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has, however, stepped into the breach. Its numbers indicate that the Ryan plan would reduce revenue by almost $4 trillion over the next decade. If you add these revenue losses to the numbers The Post cites, you get a much larger deficit in 2020, roughly $1.3 trillion.
And that’s about the same as the budget office’s estimate of the 2020 deficit under the Obama administration’s plans. That is, Mr. Ryan may speak about the deficit in apocalyptic terms, but even if you believe that his proposed spending cuts are feasible — which you shouldn’t — the Roadmap wouldn’t reduce the deficit. All it would do is cut benefits for the middle class while slashing taxes on the rich.
And I do mean slash. The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan’s total tax cuts. That’s not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population.
Finally, let’s talk about those spending cuts. In its first decade, most of the alleged savings in the Ryan plan come from assuming zero dollar growth in domestic discretionary spending, which includes everything from energy policy to education to the court system. This would amount to a 25 percent cut once you adjust for inflation and population growth. How would such a severe cut be achieved? What specific programs would be slashed? Mr. Ryan doesn’t say.
After 2020, the main alleged saving would come from sharp cuts in Medicare, achieved by dismantling Medicare as we know it, and instead giving seniors vouchers and telling them to buy their own insurance. Does this sound familiar? It should. It’s the same plan Newt Gingrich tried to sell in 1995.
[The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities echoed the Tax Policy Center findings. The GOP's Roadmap, the Center posited, “would result in a massive transfer of resources from the broad majority of Americans to the nation’s wealthiest individuals.”
The Ryan gameplan, this Center pointed out, “would cut in half the taxes of the richest 1 percent of Americans.” Average families, by contrast, would find themselves facing a future with considerably less retirement and health security.
[T]he Center analysis explained, the Roadmap would “end traditional Medicare and most of Medicaid." In their place: vouchers whose values “would erode over time” and buy “fewer health care services.” ]
And we already know, from experience with the Medicare Advantage program, that a voucher system would have higher, not lower, costs than our current system. The only way the Ryan plan could save money would be by making those vouchers too small to pay for adequate coverage. Wealthy older Americans would be able to supplement their vouchers, and get the care they need; everyone else would be out in the cold.
In practice, that probably wouldn’t happen: older Americans would be outraged — and they vote. But this means that the supposed budget savings from the Ryan plan are a sham.
So why have so many in Washington, especially in the news media, been taken in by this flimflam? It’s not just inability to do the math, although that’s part of it. There’s also the unwillingness of self-styled centrists to face up to the realities of the modern Republican Party; they want to pretend, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence, that there are still people in the G.O.P. making sense. And last but not least, there’s deference to power — the G.O.P. is a resurgent political force, so one mustn’t point out that its intellectual heroes have no clothes.
But they don’t. The Ryan plan is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future.
Paul Krugman has called the Ryan GOP budget Ludicrous and Cruel - NYTimes.com:
Specifically, the Ryan proposal trumpets the results of an economic projection from the Heritage Foundation, which claims that the plan’s tax cuts would set off a gigantic boom. Indeed, the foundation initially predicted that the G.O.P. plan would bring the unemployment rate down to 2.8 percent — a number we haven’t achieved since the Korean War. After widespread jeering, the unemployment projection vanished from the Heritage Foundation’s Web site, but voodoo still permeates the rest of the analysis.
In particular, the original voodoo proposition — the claim that lower taxes mean higher revenue — is still very much there. The Heritage Foundation projection has large tax cuts actually increasing revenue by almost $600 billion over the next 10 years.
The faith based supply-side "trickle down" GOP voodoo economics has been entirely disproved and discredited, and yet Tea-Publicans continue to cling to their belief in unicorns. More Paul Krugman: Paul Ryan's Multiple Unicorns - NYTimes.com:
A more sober assessment from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office tells a different story. It finds that a large part of the supposed savings from spending cuts would go, not to reduce the deficit, but to pay for tax cuts. In fact, the budget office finds that over the next decade the plan would lead to bigger deficits and more debt than current law.
And about those spending cuts... It turns out that Mr. Ryan and his colleagues are assuming drastic cuts in nonhealth spending without explaining how that is supposed to happen.
How drastic? According to the budget office, which analyzed the plan using assumptions dictated by House Republicans, the proposal calls for spending on items other than Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — but including defense — to fall from 12 percent of G.D.P. last year to 6 percent of G.D.P. in 2022, and just 3.5 percent of G.D.P. in the long run.
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And then there’s the much-ballyhooed proposal to abolish Medicare and replace it with vouchers that can be used to buy private health insurance.
The point here is that privatizing Medicare does nothing, in itself, to limit health-care costs. In fact, it almost surely raises them by adding a layer of middlemen. Yet the House plan assumes that we can cut health-care spending as a percentage of G.D.P. despite an aging population and rising health care costs.
The only way that can happen is if those vouchers are worth much less than the cost of health insurance. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2030 the value of a voucher would cover only a third of the cost of a private insurance policy equivalent to Medicare as we know it. So the plan would deprive many and probably most seniors of adequate health care.
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In short, this plan isn’t remotely serious; on the contrary, it’s ludicrous.
And it’s also cruel.
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So the pundits who praised this proposal when it was released were punked. The G.O.P. budget plan isn’t a good-faith effort to put America’s fiscal house in order; it’s voodoo economics, with an extra dose of fantasy, and a large helping of mean-spiritedness.
The professor has support from conservative economists who agree with his harsh assessment of Rep. Paul Ryan's Roadmap to America's Ruin. Conservative Economists Criticize 'Off The Deep End' Republican Budget | TPMDC.
And Jonathan Bernstein wrote, Paul Ryan's budget is not serious:
Paul Ryan’s budget for fiscal year 2013 has now been released. It isn’t that different, in basic concept, from last year’s version. It’s a public relations document, not a real, detailed budget. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s a perfectly legitimate strategy in an election-year with divided-government.
But there’s nothing “serious” about this document.
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The bottom line is that this is less of a budget or a blueprint than it is a partisan document designed to score partisan talking points in an election year. Of course, what Ryan believes are good talking points for Republicans — slashing spending, claims of lower deficits — may also provide Democrats with plenty of ammunition against House Republicans and Mitt Romney. But in budgetary terms, there’s no reason to take this thing seriously, or to give Ryan any points for courage.
Ezra Klein's initial take on the Ryan GOP Budget was equally dismissive of the seriousness of the Ryan budget proposal.
And Paul Ryan has been under a steady hail of criticism from Catholic groups over his budget. The U.S. Conference of Bishops denounced his spending plan in the spring, arguing that it “fails to meet” the moral principles of the Catholic Church.