Young scribe seeking room at the top: On Tuesday, Paul Ryan released his latest budget proposal.
In response, Ezra Klein offered the clearest portrait of a young man on the make since Jack Clayton’s Room at the Top. Unfortunately, his portrait is a portrait of self, not a portrait of Ryan.
Truly, this is astounding:
KLEIN (3/21/12): I don't think Paul Ryan intended to write a budget that concentrated its cuts on the poorest Americans. Similarly, I don't think Mitt Romney intended to write a budget that concentrated its cuts on the poorest Americans. But there's a reason their budgets turned out so similar: The Republican Party has settled on four overlapping fiscal commitments that leave them with few other choices.This isn’t the first time Klein has rushed to vouch for Ryan’s soul. When Ryan released his previous crazy plan in 2011, Klein vouched for his good intentions at his blog, then in a column in the hard-copy Post.
The Republican plans we've seen share a few basic premises. First, taxes are too high, and must be cut. Second, defense spending is too low, and should be raised. Third, major changes to entitlement programs should be passed now, but they shouldn't affect the current generation of retirees. That would all be fine, except for the fourth premise, which is that short-term deficits are a serious threat to the country and they need to be swiftly cut.
The first three budget premises means that taxes and defense will contribute more to the deficit, and Medicare and Social Security aren't available for quick savings. That leaves programs for the poor as the only major programs available to bear cuts. But now cuts to those programs have to pay for the deficit reduction, the increased defense spending, and the tax cuts. That means the cuts to those programs have to be really, really, really deep. The authors have no other choice.
See THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/6/11. Then, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/14/11, with a link to the previous day’s HOWLER.
Why does Klein vouch for Ryan in these deeply ridiculous ways? In the end, we can’t exactly tell you—but that passage from yesterday’s blog post is almost impossibly daft. It’s true, of course:
If you insist on 1) lowering taxes, 2) spending more on the military and 3) making “major changes” to Social Security and Medicare, then you will have to write a budget that concentrates (gigantic) cuts on the poorest Americans.
As Klein puts it, you will "have no other choice." Any good courtier would know.
But who or what made Ryan insist on those three requirements? What made him stick to those requirements once he saw where they lead? And by the way:
Given the fact that taxes are at historical lows, what makes Ryan think that taxes have to be lowered, especially on the highest earners? That requirement makes no apparent sense. What makes Ryan adopt it?
Ezra Klein is very bright. His blog post is impossibly daft. Just a guess:
Klein wants to find even more room at the top. By the way, he’ll soon be guest hosting for Rachel again, reading the ridiculous monologues her staff has written for him.
Your career liberal world is full of these self-dealing players. The content of our modern politics has been massively shaped by their games. By the things they insist on saying, by the things they won't mention.
Your career liberal world is full of these folk. But your powerful lizard brain keeps saying this can’t be so.
One-word film review: We watched Room at the Top just this week. Our one-word film review: