Thursday, April 7, 2011

Marching Orders

Blogmaster Matt has been on a tear against Paul Ryan's ridiculous budget blueprint – as well he should be. The plan is a farce. It calls for higher taxes on the middle class, even lower taxes on the rich than under the Bush years, eliminating Medicare and replacing it with an underfunded voucher program, and changing Medicaid into a block grant to the states – who would then be unable to increase funding during economic downturns, when it's needed the most.

It does all this without making a serious dent in the long term budget deficit, and without taking a serious effort to address defense spending. And it also claims that it can reduce unemployment to 4% by 2015 and 2.8% by 2021. It makes these laughable claims by ignoring CBO numbers and projecting instead based on magic pony numbers from the Heritage Foundation. Yglesias started his pummeling on Tuesday morning by reproducing the Heritage chart above, which made similarly wild claims about the paradise that would ensue if Bush the Lessor's tax giveaway scheme were enacted back in Ought One. This embarrassed the think tank enough that they scrubbed their website and offered slightly less optimistic numbers for the Ryan plan.

This reminds many folks of the fight over privatizing Social Security in 2005, in which the Democrats' (successful) response was to refuse to negotiate in any way and let the Republicans unspool enough rope to hang themselves. And as MattY notes:

Here’s the thing—the Social Security fight was a huge success! And not just a success for progressives, it was a success for the progressive blogosphere. I sometimes get sad about the fate of the new media revolution, but this is a time that once again harkens back to the new media’s strengths. There’s an ability to be speedy, an unwillingness to play these VSP games, and an ability to connect wonkier writers with more activist oriented ones, with expert analysis.

So that's why I'm passing this along to the twelve of you who read this blog. The more you know about this joke of a budget plan, the better you can shoot down your wingnut relatives and co-workers when they pretend to believe it could work. Wonky center-rightist David Brooks says it "will set the standard of seriousness for anybody who wants to play in this discussion. It will become the 2012 Republican platform, no matter who is the nominee." Okay then, let's play! Here's what Matt has so far:

Paul Ryan’s Tax Plan Based On Discredited Heritage Foundation Analysis That Forecast Bush Boom was the opening salvo.
Paul Ryan Slams Medicaid’s Middle Class Beneficiaries As The New Welfare Queens examines who benefits from that program.
Cuts vs Efficiency looks at GOP hypocrisy on Medicare spending cuts.
Adults Don’t Cut Taxes On The Rich In Their Deficit Reduction Plans mocks the idea that this is some sort of "adult conversation"
Paul Ryan’s Plan Counts On Reducing Unemployment To Below “Full Employment” Level — By Magic! reminds us of what the Federal Reserve does every time unemployment reaches 5%.
Why Would Introducing a New Layer Of Rent-Seeking Interests Reduce Health Care Spending? looks at how inefficient a voucher system would be compared to the existing Medicare structure.
Here We Go Again is the post quoted above on the Social Security fight.
Paul Ryan’s Magical Jobs Plan takes another poke at the Heritage Foundation.
59% of Americans Say Medicaid Is Important To Their Family pushes back at anti-Medicaid zealots.
Paul Ryan’s Budget Proposal Would Increase Public Debt Relative To Extending Current Law demolishes any claim to fiscal conservatism on the part of Ryan and his supporters.
David Leonhardt Speaks Out Against Generational Theft In Paul Ryan’s Budget and Beltway CW explain why seniors should be nervous even if their Medicare isn't taken away yet.
The Budget Ball Is Now In Barack Obama’s Court suggests the outlines of the battle to come.
Paul Ryan’s Nutty Point Forecast applies some statistical analysis to this nonsense.
Nancy Pelosi Vows To Party Like It’s 2005 With Paul Ryan’s Draconian Medicare-Ending Budget Proposal reminds us of who the biggest hero was in our 2005 victory.
Isabel Sawhill on Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan: Voodoo Economics Back in Full Gear points out that not every center-rightist considers Ryan's plan the standard of seriousness.
And New Heritage Model of Paul Ryan’s New Budget Still Doesn’t Make Very Much Sense takes yet another poke at the Heritage Foundation.

Yglesias hasn't put his "Paul Ryan" tag on every one of these, but the ones that do have that tag stretch back many months before this Tuesday. He has been on it.

This is a fight worth having, and so winnable that it could actually be fun for a change. So holler out to your friends and neighbors, saddle up and join the posse. Grab one of those links and FWD it along. Let's embarrass this monstrous, ludicrous excuse for a budget plan right out of existence.

First Scott Walker and now this. One thing you can count on with the Republicans - – they always overplay their hand.

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