|Whatever his goal—replace retiring Ways and Means Chair David Camp (R-Mich.), become speaker of the House, or run for president in 2016 — [Paul] Ryan wants to be considered politically brave and fiscally responsible. Recently he’s even been talking about poverty. But his new “Path to Prosperity” budget blueprint for fiscal year 2015, released on Tuesday, is mostly a rehash of his old ideas. And like every Ryan budget, it’s full of right-wing hobbyhorses that would do untold damage to the environment.
Here are the five main ways Ryan’s plan would increase pollution, accelerate global warming, despoil public lands, and stymie Americans’efforts to get out of their cars.
• Kneecapping environmental regulation. The Path to Prosperity calls for enacting bills to roll back environmental regulatory authority, especially the EPA’s planned regulations of CO2 from coal-fired power plants. The bill’s actual text devotes two of its 100 pages to whining about how President Obama hasn’t been very nice to coal companies. “Unfairly targeting the coal industry with costly and unachievable regulations will increase energy prices, disproportionately disadvantaging energy-intensive industries like manufacturing and construction, and will make life more difficult for millions of low-income and middle class families already struggling to pay their bills,” Ryan asserts. He makes no mention, naturally, of the health effects of coal-burning and extraction on low-income families, nor of the jobs created by renewable energy industries, nor of the climate crisis.
• Defunding environmental programs. Ryan would drastically cut domestic discretionary spending overall. That would affect environmental spending everywhere from the EPA to national parks and other Interior Department programs. Anything addressing climate change seems to especially irritate Ryan. As The Hill notes, “The blueprint hits spending for ‘government-wide climate-change-related activities,’ mainly through cuts to federal agencies’ funds for overseas climate-change initiatives. It also targets the administration’s clean technology and strategic climate funds, established in 2010, which provide foreign assistance to boost energy-efficient projects aimed at mitigating climate change.” The Wilderness Society complains that Ryan would also cut spending for parks, public lands, and other conservation programs.
• Reducing investment in transportation and infrastructure. [...]
• Shoveling money into the pockets of Big Oil. Even as Ryan calls for a simplified tax code, he would keep market-distorting tax breaks for oil companies. The Center for American Progress writes, “His budget would … protect $45 billion in tax subsidies over 10 years to oil companies, the top five of which are already reaping $93 billion in profits from 2013 alone.” [...]
While Ryan’s budget will never pass a Democratic Senate or be signed by a Democratic president, House Republicans have voted overwhelmingly to pass his budgets in the past. It is therefore a sign of what Republicans would do if they controlled the Senate and White House. […]
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2009—Story punches reporters in face; goes unnoticed:
Zionist-controlled government. Was about to be military policing. The fact that there was about to be a gun ban.
Not a single one of these reporters says, "Hey, wait a minute. What?!?"
Guy says, "Zionist-controlled government," and the reporter's follow-up? "Did he have a lot of guns?"
Second reporter was even worse! He believed there was a Zionist-controlled government. That there would be military policing. That there would be a gun ban.
Follow-up: So there was never anything that made you think there could be a situation like this?
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