I was struck by the title of Ed Kilgore’s budget rant in the Washington Monthly where the headline demonized Paul Ryan’s budget plan. “Paul Ryan’s Extremist, Inhumane Budget Plan.” Of course, what would you expect from an author whose credentials include being a “managing editor for The Democratic Strategist, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, and a Special Correspondent for The New Republic.” Which only goes to prove, dishonest critics product nothing, or even worse, chaos and misunderstanding in their attempt to earn style points for their “side.” As if the budget did not affect all Americans and was not the product of the demented agenda-driven minds of hyperpartisan hack politicians.
Let us keep a few things in mind …
- Budgets are produced by politicians who need to curry favor with the special interests who fund their campaigns.
- Budgets are produced by politicians who are expected to bring a certain amount of bacon (pork) back to their home districts or state.
- Budgets are produced by dishonest politicians and scored by honest people given false and misleading assumptions by the politicians.
- Budgets are an exercise in sifting water because it is the actual funding legislation that controls spending.
- Budgets are bogus because they purport to control the rate of spending, not reduce the dollar expenditures themselves. Giving rise to budgets with significant cuts, but an increase in real dollar spending.
- Budgets lack accountability because most programs contain unauditable distributions of funding which is not tracked by those creating the budgets.
- Budgets that are created to be balanced are a fiction as no government has proven capable of accurate forecasts greater than ten minutes. Too many variables, too many fingers in the pie, too much corruption.
- Budgets are created by politicians knowing that the budget’s time frame and the public’s weak memory will absolve them of all responsibility for their poor decision-making and outright failure to curb fraud, waste and abuse.
- Budgets based on previous baselines are ineffective as government agencies spend like drunken sailors (no offense to drunken sailors who stop when they run out of money) to insure all of their budgeted money is spent so the next budget will be even bigger.
- There are black areas in the budget for national defense and intelligence as well as deliberate slush funds for special purposes. The public cannot see the real extent of the budget but must rely on corrupt politicians.
The American people do not even have a clue to the real debt of the United States and what the government is paying to the Federal Reserve and other financial institutions are artificial debt is created within the system. Nor do they see a balance sheet listing contingent liabilities such as the likely cost of unfunded or underfunded pension liabilities, the wind-down of the Federal Reserve’s stimulus program or the overhang of financial derivatives which comprise the largest shell game in the world.
So let’s see what a hyper-partisan democrat hack has to say …
Paul Ryan's Extremist, Inhumane Budget Plan
The focus is on redistribution of resources with no real net impact of debts-and-deficits.
So Paul Ryan’s latest budget proposal is out today, and there are no particular surprises to those familiar with earlier iterations. Yes, Ryan was forced by Tea Party pressure to produce a document projecting a balanced budget within ten years, but the task of coming up with those savings was cushioned by his ability to incorporate the new revenues from the “fiscal cliff” deal and the appropriation of Obama “Medicare cuts” he and Mitt Romney attacked regularly during the 2012 presidential campaign. Plus Ryan has not lost his talent for assuming and estimating his way out of any arithmetical challenge to his budgeting.
OK, I agree that there are special interests at work such as the Tea Party, a group that believes in smaller government, wiser spending and politicians who honor their oath of office. To mention the budgeting for the “fiscal cliff” deal and Medicare deals is both disingenuous and dishonest because no one really knows what is in enabling legislation which has not been written or what the Secretary of Health and Human Services might do with her unprecedented administrative rulemaking powers.
From a big picture point of view, the new budget’s very similar to prior iterations. It still hammers low-income programs (and defense discretionary spending generally) and lets the Pentagon state. It still has fuzzy-math treatment of revenues, with ill-defined “tax reform” measures paying for rate “simplification,” which probably means high-end tax rate cuts. It still leaves Social Security alone (almost certainly to Ryan’s private chagrin); still voucherizes Medicare for those under 55; still turns Medicaid and SNAP into block grants with radically reduced federal funding.
Any budget which reduces the power of Congress to allocate funds and shift the responsibility to the states is viewed as suspect by the democrats. As in any budget discussion, the opposition demonizes the party, the author, and the plan … but seems to pursue much of the same craziness by the time the actual budget hits the floor of Congress for reconciliation behind closed doors – where the pork is added and both parties screw the taxpayer.
There’s nothing new, either, about Ryan’s central bait-and-switch tactic: shriek about debt and its threat to the economy, but focus on redistribution of resources with no real net impact of debts-and-deficits. Ezra Klein, who is kinder to Ryan than most progressive analysts, really nails him on this front. After quoting a turgid paragraph from Ryan’s budget document about the terrible economy and the burdens it’s placed on families, Ezra has this to say:Ryan’s budget isn’t about most of these challenges. It won’t create jobs this year, and will likely cost jobs in the years to come by putting the economy on a steep austerity ramp. There’s no housing policy for the millions of families in foreclosure and no way to read Ryan’s budget without assuming massive cuts to student-loans programs. That may mean fewer families watching student loans pile up, but only because they didn’t get any in the first place.
As for medical costs, fully 59 percent of Ryan’s savings come from new cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare or other health-care programs — and that omits the $800 billion in Medicare cuts he keeps from Obamacare. So there will be less health-care bureaucracy, sure, but also less health care. The nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that cuts on the order of what Ryan is proposing will mean around 35 million people lose their health-care coverage.
How many people notice that budgets do not create jobs unless they are government jobs or infrastructure build-outs that demand time and money sapping union contracts? And while the Kaiser Foundation may be non-partisan, you can bet your last dollar, it is pro-insurance industry and pro-higher “gatekeeper” rake-offs. Why should the government subsidize those homeowners with underwater loans while the rest of us get nothing in return? The government has proven it can’t manage the housing market (FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.). Time to stress individual responsibility over collectivism and socialism.
The real shocker is Ryan isn’t proposing these things to reduce deficits and debt, either. He considers them good and important ends in themselves:Ryan’s budget is, at its core, a set of very distinct, very ideological, and, over the course of Ryan’s career, very consistent ideas about how to reform the relationship between the federal government and its citizens. Ryan was pushing these ideas in the late-’90s and early-2000s, too, when deficits were far less of a threat. The only item he’s dropped is Social Security privatization — but it was, remember, in the 2010 iteration of his budget….The problem is that these ideas are not, on their own, popular. In fact, they’re deeply unpopular, and considered quite radical. That’s why Newt Gingrich rejected Ryan’s initial budget as “right-wing social engineering” — it is, in a very serious sense, an effort to use policy reform re-engineer the relationship individuals have with their governments, their communities, and their families. But presented on their own, Ryan’s plans scare people.What Ryan has found is that the way they’ll get a hearing is if they’re presented as necessary, prudent measures to forestall an even more dramatic debt crisis.
So any debate over the Ryan budget ought to be about his actual proposals and real aims, not the packaging. The reality is that he’d be promoting the same policies even if the federal budget were in balance. His plan would just have more tax cuts. Let’s don’t let the wrangling over deficit numbers obscure that simple fact.
The last line is the most telling … it’s not about reducing the size of government, curbing waste, fraud, and abuse – it is about the democrats being allowed to raise taxes to bailout underwater democrat-governed cities and continue the union gravy train. You can see the discouraging results of thowing more and more money and education while a greater percentage of children turn into functional illiterates.
Bottom line …
If politicians were not so corrupt and actually exerted the oversight they purport to exert, the savings in “waste, fraud and abuse” they claim will fund a significant portion of the programs would have already been removed from the system. The truth is that they do not demand an adequate number of skilled investigators nor do they want to know the truth and become responsible for the fraud.
It’s like the liar-in-chief, Barack Obama, closing the White House Tour to save $3 million and spending $20+ million on his various vacations. With government, any budget is bound to be created using the BOHICA model. Bend Over Here It Comes Again!
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS