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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Paul Ryan’s Self-Serving Budget Plan

I don’t really like to visit the same post twice, but a Steve Benen piece I quoted earlier asks a damned good question: why does Paul Ryan feel the need to balance the budget in ten years?

Ryan’s budget prioritizes balanced budgets for no apparent reason: The point behind the new GOP plan is to balance the budget within 10 years. Why? No one has any idea, and most credible economists believe such efforts might even do severe damage to the economy. Ryan’s op-ed said his rushed efforts to eliminate the deficit that Republicans built up during the Bush/Cheney era will help thanks to low interest rates — but as Ryan should know, interest rates are already extremely low.

And, it pays to point out, those low interest rates aren’t exactly helping. Ryan either pretends not to know or legitimately does not know that interest rates represent the creation of wealth in its most common form. So low interest rates may be good for a short term economic boost, but in the long term they’re actually not all that great. Doubt me? Look at the awesome and rollicking economy today’s low interest rates have brought us.

Which makes another observation by Benen seem like an obvious answer:

Ryan’s budget is needlessly confrontational : There’s simply no way Senate Democrats would ever endorse such a far-right budget plan, so there’s no real point to Ryan’s vanity exercise. It will put House Republicans on record in support of a fairly radical vision — which the American mainstream will find outrageous — but to no practical end.

From a PR standpoint to rally the base, it serves an excellent purpose. People never seem to notice that the Republican base makes heroes out of those who throw the most victim cards around (Sarah Palin, anyone?). Having the entire Democratic Party pointing out how ridiculous and terrible your plan is isn’t a bug, it’s a feature. If Ryan’s trying to carve out a larger role in his party, this is exactly how you’d do it — put out a uselessly austere proposal with no chance in hell of ever becoming law, then welcome the criticism heaped upon said plan by the left and the “biased” media. If the public hates it, who cares? It’s about getting Rush Limbaugh to say nice things about you.

This isn’t an alternative to anything, this is picking a fight for the sake of picking a fight.

[photo via Gage Skidmore]

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