Paul Ryan’s ‘budget’

Paul Ryan has this year’s budget out. I’m too lazy to look at the full thing (which is fine, because he doesn’t actually give details) because it’s not worth it (I talk about the last one here and the 2011 one here), so let me just past Ezra Klein’s statement:

Here is Paul Ryan’s path to a balanced budget in three sentences: He cuts deep into spending on health care for the poor and some combination of education, infrastructure, research, public-safety, and low-income programs. The Affordable Care Act’s Medicare cuts remain, but the military is spared, as is Social Security. There’s a vague individual tax reform plan that leaves only two tax brackets — 10 percent and 25 percent — and will require either huge, deficit-busting tax cuts or increasing taxes on poor and middle-class households, as well as a vague corporate tax reform plan that lowers the rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.

But the real point of Ryan’s budget is its ambitious reforms, not its savings. It turns Medicare into a voucher program, turns Medicaid, food stamps, and a host of other programs for the poor into block grants managed by the states, shrinks the federal role on priorities like infrastructure and education to a tiny fraction of its current level, and envisions an entirely new tax code that will do much less to encourage home buying and health insurance.

Oh what the hell, let’s look at his intro:

The United States faces many challenges. This year, unemployment will hover around 8 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office.1 Economic growth will remain tepid. The national debt recently eclipsed the size of our economy. Millions of families are stuck in foreclosure. Student loans are piling up. Gas prices are at historic highs. And soon, families will struggle with a new health-care bureaucracy, while medical costs further erode their paychecks.

So, he has designed a budget that will increase unemployment and stifle growth, do nothing to help families in foreclosure or students with their tuition bills, and will drop most healthcare onto individuals where it’s more expensive.

By living beyond our means, we’re stealing from the next generation. By promising a higher standard of living today, the federal government is guaranteeing a lower standard of living tomorrow.

Students who graduate in times of recession have been found to have depressed income for their entire lifetime. His budget will worsen unemployment so it will steal from their future earnings.

Unless we change course, we will have a debt crisis. Pressed for cash, the government will take the easy way out: It will crank up the printing presses. The final stage of this intergenerational theft will be the debasement of our currency. Government will cheat us of our just rewards. Our finances will collapse. The economy will stall. The safety net will unravel. And the most vulnerable will suffer.

Think about this, he was saying basically the same thing in 2008–inflation was going to go out of control because of the debasement of the currency. You would think being so very wrong would make him change his mind, but it obviously didn’t.

And we balance the budget for an important reason: An unbalanced budget is a sign of overreach. When government does too much, it doesn’t do anything well. So our budget makes room for community—for the vast middle ground between government and the person. It recognizes that people do not find happiness in grim isolation or by government fiat. They find it through friendship— through free, vibrant exchange with the people around them. They find it through achievement. They find it in their families and neighborhoods, their places of worship and youth groups. They find it in a healthy mix of self-fulfillment and belonging.

Ok, I’ve got nothing. Is he saying that his budget will make it so we all have more friends? It will build community? By cutting the safety net? Maybe we’ll also all get kittens.

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