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Red stick figures
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan may have scheduled the official unveiling of the GOP's "new" balanced budget plan for 10:30 AM ET on Tuesday morning, but it's an unveiling without suspense. Here's what it amounts to: a bunch of bling around a plan to end Medicare as it exists today by turning it into a voucher program. In other words, at its core, this "new" Ryan plan is the same Ryan plan of 2011.

But while Ryan's plan is still at heart a proposal to eviscerate Medicare, he does have some new bling. For example, this plan claims to balance the budget by 2023. In an op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal, Ryan worked feverishly to dispel the notion that a balanced budget represents austerity, a sign that he's entering this process in a defensive crouch. Ryan spent more time talking about tax reform, welfare reform, and the Keystone XL pipeline than he did about his plan to turn Medicare into a voucher plan, an indication that even Ryan knows that if his Medicare plan is the main thing people take away from this budget unveiling, he and Republicans are in a big mess.

But while Democrats will certainly—and rightfully—pound Ryan for his Medicare vision and for the steep cuts in other programs that his plan would make necessary, there's one big question that will likely not get the attention it deserves: Why, with the deficit having fallen by nearly half since 2009, are we spending more time debating fiscal policy than jobs policy? We're making faster progress on the deficit than on growing the economy and adding jobs. With interest rates as low as they are, and the jobless rate as high as it is, this deficit obsession is stupid, destructive, and exactly the wrong thing for D.C. to be focused on.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Republicans? (10+ / 0-)

    Seems to me they've got Democrats right where they want them.  They just keep marching towards the cliff with Democrats running hard to catch up.  I figure the plan is to make a sharp left turn just before the edge and watch the Democrats run over the cliff.

    •  Hear, hear! Actually, this is just another well (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      planned and well coordinated 'Kabuki' episode.

      [Video Credit:  TYT, The Young Turks, YouTube, 4:53]  

      And here's a translation of the conversation between Clinton and Ryan, below.

      May 25, 2011

      Bill Clinton's Private Words to Paul Ryan Caught on Tape

      The day after the stunning upset in the special congressional election in upstate New York, Rep. Paul Ryan is a man under fire.

      But ABC News was behind the scenes with the Wisconsin Congressman and GOP Budget Committee Chairman when he got some words of encouragement none other than former President Bill Clinton.

      "So anyway, I told them before you got here, I said I'm glad we won this race in New York," Clinton told Ryan, when the two met backstage at a forum on the national debt held by the Pete Peterson Foundation. But he added, "I hope Democrats don't use this as an excuse to do nothing."

      Ryan told Clinton he fears that now nothing will get done in Washington.

      "My guess is it's going to sink into paralysis is what's going to happen. And you know the math. It's just, I mean, we knew we were putting ourselves out there. You gotta start this. You gotta get out there. You gotta get this thing moving," Ryan said.

      Clinton told Ryan that if he ever wanted to talk about it, he should "give me a call." Ryan said he would.

      Just keep this reality in mind as you watch the 'dog and pony' show of 'dueling budgets.'

      It's all been very carefully orchestrated.  Both parties are working together to frighten you, and make you 'grateful' when they only impose draconian cuts to Medicare (and Social Security), as opposed to 'block granting' Medicare.

      Kabuki Theater at its finest.



      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson


      by musiccitymollie on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 09:03:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Scientists discuss Ryan Budget (15+ / 0-)

    I want 1 less Tiny Coffin, Why Don't You? Support The President's Gun Violence Plan.

    by JML9999 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:32:03 AM PDT

  •  we're all anti-keynesians now (4+ / 0-)


  •  Yes Please (12+ / 0-)

    Can we stop with all this deficit and austerity cruft and talk about jobs and prosperity please.

    Also, can we now shove the "Grand Bargain" in the trash and start discussing some progressive ideas?

    I've had enough of all this foolishness. NEXT!

    You have your right to your opinion, I will grant you that, but do not denigrate my right to mine!

    by MrQA on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:36:19 AM PDT

  •  Sincere thanks, however, (5+ / 0-)

    to Eddie Munster for reminding everyone about the patent absurdity of even considering voting for a Republican.

    They're not a serious party anymore. -Kos

    by thenekkidtruth on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:38:59 AM PDT

  •  Ryan and the rest of his ilk are totally and (9+ / 0-)

    completely tone deaf and no grasp of reality, as and such hopefully the next time a vote comes up for him the people will dismiss his current assignment in Congress as well as him.. They learned NOTHING from the election. Imbeciles.

  •  That Paul Ryan sure is an (5+ / 0-)

    ornery little rascal, ain't he?

    He don't seem especially insightful neither.  

    Says he likes Rage Against the Machine and Ayn Rand.  Where does that leave somebody if they like both those things?

  •  Shhhh. Just between us Kossacks . . . (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, hulibow, orlbucfan, drmah, shoeless

    is it possible Ryan is an Obama operative and our president really IS playing 11-dimensional chess?  

    You couldn't pay to have someone act as consistently nutty as Jug-ears does.

    I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever. ~Thomas Jefferson

    by bobdevo on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:40:31 AM PDT

    •  With Ryan it's more Pavolvian......'Fetch Paul.. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobdevo, shoeless


    •  Who is nutty? (2+ / 0-)

      He says strengthen Medicare, then Obama says strengthen Medicare, repeat over and over and over and over until the American people are brainwashed into accepting any cut just to get them to STFU.  

      Both parties are selling the same agenda.  What's different?  ALL I hear from the White House, the press secretary, the leadership, the surrogates, the pundits is the same sick song about "reforming entitlements".  

      Why do you expect Americans to reject Ryan's approach when all they hear from Obama is how he just can't wait to cut as much as he possibly can from Social Security and Medicare?  

      Obama wants to cut the Social Security benefits and increase the Medicare premium.  Well how long is it before the net amount is nothing but a voucher?

      Show me people who are standing up for these programs not in letters only circulated to the base but out loud, on TV, in prime time, with their hair on fire.

  •  Paul Ryan appears to have decided that he'd rather (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    not be a Congressman anymore.  Why else would he be committing political suicide?  I hope he takes a few of his Republican pals with him.  2014 cannot come soon enough.  Paul will land some nice position with a lobbying firm or, more likely, a Koch-funded think-tank.  

    •  Oh come on (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tracker, Roadbed Guy, zaka1, shoeless, antooo

      He'll be voted in next election because his constituents are a bunch of morons. We're stuck with him.

      Last time he released his budget, I remember feeling such a feeling of dread and fear. This time, I know his budge will go nowhere. The American people have enough sense to push back on this cruel nonsense and never let it see the light of day.

      What a complete waste of human flesh Paul Ryan is. Completely hapless. I literally hate this guy. He's like evil personified. How happy can he be knowing he wants to hurt people, even kill them by withholding medical care and food.

      I'm sick of it all.

      •  Ok, I'm a Pollyanna (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        drmah, CuriousBoston, miracle11

        But I don't think that even those who've supported him in the past will see this as effective representation.  It's illogical on its face.  

        But, maybe you're right; morons be morons.

        •  Ignorant. Our job to inform them. None of us walks (0+ / 0-)

          on water, or is a relative of FSM. Sigh.

          2012-2016 President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senator Warren. For a LIFETIME, federal judges. Get the filibuster changed. Steamroll.

          by CuriousBoston on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 08:53:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, Paul Ryan isn't going anywhere. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        harris stein

        He is in a safe red distrct, but can't even run for statewide office, because he couldn't even carry Wisconsin when running as VP. His only chance for advancement is to move up in the House Republican leadership, so he keeps doing his little song and dance for them, knowing it doesn't matter to anyone else.

        Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

        by shoeless on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:09:59 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, sad to say (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          You're correct. Even sadder is the fact that Ryan really believes in what he's doing. This is a sign of a narcissistic sociopath. Lives in a bubble, thinks he knows what is best for everyone but him.

          Reality will rear its ugly head in 2014 even if he is reelected. Right now the count is 232 republicans to 200 democrats with 3 seats vacant. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to do the math if the current count is maintained or if the democrats gain even just a few seats or gain 1 or 2 seats in the senate.

          Ryan says this is an offer. No. It's nothing but a scam. He will insist that the repeal of health care reform, tearing apart the safety net, and Keystone pipeline are issues that the republicans won't comprimise on.

          Knowledge is Power. Ignorance is not bliss, it is suffering.

          by harris stein on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:58:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Hey, I'm in his district. (0+ / 0-)

        And I don't resemble that 'constituency'.

        It is actually a swingy district, but Ryan has managed to cultivate an aura as a good family man an a leading 'thinker' in his party, (which isn't that high a threshold).
        There is a lot of hot air, or perhaps just empty space, in his teflon balloon persona, but amazingly it still floats.
        Local papers don't seem to eager to poke holes in that image either.

        Oh, bother.

  •  Ryan...'We're not going to refight the past'..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rigcath, drmah, shoeless

    so....are you declaring defeat?

  •  It's if Ryan is providing cover for Obama's cuts (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell, zaka1, musiccitymollie

    making the latter's extremist Grand Bargain seem more reasonable.

    "I am confident that we're going to be able to leave the Gulf Coast in better shape than it was before." Barack Obama

    by quagmiremonkey on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:49:16 AM PDT

  •  If Murray's Budget isn't used as an opportunity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rigcath, quagmiremonkey

    to fight this fight,

    Why, with the deficit having fallen by nearly half since 2009, are we spending more time debating fiscal policy than jobs policy? We're making faster progress on the deficit than on growing the economy and adding jobs. With interest rates as low as they are, and the jobless rate as high as it is, this deficit obsession is stupid, destructive, and exactly the wrong thing for D.C. to be focused on.
    Democrats have zero hope.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:54:32 AM PDT

    •  The reality is that the two parties are presenting (0+ / 0-)

      different portions of the Bowles-Simpson proposal entitled "The Moment Of Truth."

      If you'll read this, you'll recognize much of Patty Murray's budget.

      It'll be chock-full of the so-called 'balance' that the Bowles-Simpson's recommendations call for, when it proposes draconian cuts to our social insurance programs. :-)


      "If a dog won’t come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.” -- Woodrow Wilson


      by musiccitymollie on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 09:23:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  republican ongoing attempts to repeal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Roe v Wade

    Voting Rights Act

    What are the stats?

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 07:59:34 AM PDT

  •  I thought Ryan and the GOP concedes that their (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    budget is based on the appeal of the ACA.  Since this is very unlikely to happen, it means any GOP discussion of the budget is a sham until they finally admit the ACA is here to stay

    •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

      It assumes a total repeal of Obamacare (which will never happen), but also includes the Medicare savings that Obamacare provides...Ryan is trying to have his cake and eat it too.

      •  This is not a serious budget (0+ / 0-)

        Its one fiction piled on top of another.......

        Ryan is not a serious leader; that was proven in the 2012 campaign.

        "Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."

        by oregonj on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 08:18:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dead on Arrival (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    miracle11, drmah

    This is not a serious budget.  Why treat it as such?  It may be good for holding House members accountable in the next election, but Ryan has put another budget that is dead on arrival.

    "Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist."

    by oregonj on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 08:09:02 AM PDT

  •  The document is summed up by the magic asterisk (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rigcath, CuriousBoston

    Because it includes ZERO dollars in new revenue, all of the "balancing" is done by cutting spending and assuming that the mythical floodgates of the private sector will open to give everybody a job that pays enough to expand the tax base. Oh, and lower corporate taxes while you're at it.

    The only way that this document balances the budget by 2023 is by assuming a far greater rate of economic growth than is even possible, let alone likely.

    And remember those Medicare cuts from Obamacare that were the worst thing ever? Apparently they aren't bad enough to warrant being taken out by Ryan. Those cuts are still there. But Obamacare is assumed to be repealed. So either Ryan is full of shit or he really is proposing adding money back to Medicare for the express purpose of cutting it out again. This is your budget committee, America.

  •  The whole point (0+ / 0-)

    that Ryan doesn't realize is that many of us that are either elderly, disabled, or even poor, do pay taxes.  We pay state taxes for our license plates, we pay state taxes to our local governments, we pay taxes on our phone and utility bills, we paid property taxes to support our schools, road, etc.  We support businesses, schools, etc.  It comes full circle by all of us contributing to a system and if you cut more and more to where there is no longer financial support even at the local levels eventually it will destroy the people on the top.  Which means congress and senate will have to cut their benefits and salaries as well because we will no longer be able to support them, the banks, and all the other wealthy getting tax breaks, loop holes, blah, blah.

    Paul Ryan is the most dangerous kind of politician, he is using his power in the most abusive way a person can use power.  And honestly, he is not psychological fit to be in office, period.  He is truly mentally angry about something and he truly seems to think any imperfect person has no right to live in America.  But, his insanity (and I do think there is something there) is manifested in taking it out on the poor, middle class, elderly, disabled, you name it, but there is something wrong with him and the Republicans in general.

    I have seen people not take responsibility for their actions, but somewhere, somehow, the Republicans will have to deal with the fact that they created this mess over the last thirty years and somewhere, somehow, the American people can no longer support their greed and insane policies.  You can create a perfect human race, it doesn't exist, and even God couldn't do it.  We are human, that's life, they need to deal with that.

    "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolution­ary act. " George Orwell

    by zaka1 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 08:22:05 AM PDT

  •  How many Voters actually Understand (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that the Deficit has been reduced by 47 Percent?

    That is the Real Problem.

    There are a LOT of folks out there that don't have a
    Fucking Clue about what is REALLY going On.

    The President needs to start sending that Message
    to the Ignorant Electorate as Often as Possible.

    On Giving Advice: Smart People Don't Need It and Stupid People Don't Listen

    by Brian76239 on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 08:22:15 AM PDT

  •  PaulAynRand Syndrome (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Major Characteristics include:
    1)Severe short-term memory deficits. Inability to recall the drubbing this plan took as recently as November 2011.
    2)Delusions of grandeur and power
    3)Selfish behavior and inability to ask wealthy masters to contribute their fair share
    4)Inability to accept personal defeat and failure
    5)Inability to learn from past experiences
    6)Inability to compromise with other adults
    7)Propensity toward disguised and blatant lying
    8)Troubled conscience and the inability to recognize that his grand plans might be cruel

    Many Tea Party cohorts share similar traits.

  •  Thanks for this diary and, especially, the link to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, CuriousBoston

    Paul Ryan's latest manifesto for the 1%. I've just taken a few minutes to compare it to his last pile of crap. It appears to be much the same, and where it's not the same, it's worse. (A fair bit of new badmouthing PBO and Dems has been added).

    Obviously, Mr. Ryan doesn't believe that elections have consequences.

  •  Paul Ryan has attention deficit disorder.nt (0+ / 0-)

    Just when you thought there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, the Republicans go and prove you're wrong.

    by shoeless on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 09:55:06 AM PDT

  •  Paul Ryan's Unicorn and Fairies Budget (0+ / 0-)

    Really?  Is this dude serious?  A "balanced budget" based on wishful thinking, unicorns, and crazy-assed hopes for the End of Obama as we know it.  

    This is their most serious thinker?  I used to think it was Romney who sank the Repub ticket in 2012, now I think Paul Ryan was the Palin PX90 retread who tanked their leaky little boat of pseudo "makers".

    "Out of Many, One Nation." This is the great promise of the United States of America -9.75 -6.87

    by Uncle Moji on Tue Mar 12, 2013 at 10:01:01 AM PDT

  •  how could anyone possibly claim that (0+ / 0-)

    privatizing Medicare through a voucher program is going to reduce costs and balance the budget? It is already well known that the administrative costs of the privatized Medicare Advantage plans are 6% vs 1% for traditional Medicare, costs which include both the IRS (revenue) costs and the FBI (fraud prevention) costs. In addition, the government pays a premium of 10-15% more for the privatized plans. This is part of the reason Obamacare seeks to eliminate these plans (and where a large part of the $500 billion in savings for Medicare comes from).
    The only way the voucher program could possibly reduce costs is by reducing benefits, there is no other way to do the math.

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