Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Mad Tea Party Ride: A Republi-CON 'Obamacare 720', and Other Budget Dishonesty

UPDATE VII:  According to the Tax Policy Center, Ryan-Republi-con budget gap is just $5.7 trillion (vice $6.7 trillion as stated below). 

"By comparison, every itemized deduction in the federal tax code adds up to less than $2 trillion, and that’s with higher rates than Ryan has (which means that deductions are more valuable, and eliminating them raises more revenue). Ryan has set up a rather imposing task for himself."

Read the Washington Post, The price tag on Paul Ryan’s tax reform: $5.7 trillion

No wonder the winner of the 2008 the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Paul Krugman, an economist and professor of economics and international affairs at Princeton University, and an op-ed columnist for The New York Times, calls Ryan a flimflammier.

FYI, flimflammery is nonsense; humbug; a deception; a swindle.

One reason I call 'em Republi-cons

UPDATE VI:  "Way back in 2010, when everybody in Washington seemed determined to anoint Representative Paul Ryan as the ultimate Serious, Honest Conservative, I pronounced him a flimflam man. Even then, his proposals were obviously fraudulent: huge cuts in aid to the poor, but even bigger tax cuts for the rich, with all the assertions of fiscal responsibility resting on claims that he would raise trillions of dollars by closing tax loopholes (which he refused to specify) and cutting discretionary spending (in ways he refused to specify).

Since then, his budgets have gotten even flimflammier. For example, at this point, Mr. Ryan is claiming that he can slash the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, yet somehow raise 19.1 percent of G.D.P. in revenues — a number we haven’t come close to seeing since the dot-com bubble burst a dozen years ago.

The good news is that Mr. Ryan’s thoroughly unconvincing policy-wonk act seems, finally, to have worn out its welcome. In 2011, his budget was initially treated with worshipful respect, which faded only slightly as critics pointed out the document’s many absurdities. This time around, quite a few pundits and reporters have greeted his release with the derision it deserves."

Read The New York Times, After the Flimflam, which also discusses "the proposal from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, titled 'Back to Work,' which calls for substantial new spending now, temporarily widening the deficit, offset by major deficit reduction later in the next decade, largely though not entirely through higher taxes on the wealthy, corporations and pollution.

I’ve seen some people describe the caucus proposal as a 'Ryan plan of the left,' but that’s unfair. There are no Ryan-style magic asterisks, trillion-dollar savings that are assumed to come from unspecified sources; this is an honest proposal. And 'Back to Work' rests on solid macroeconomic analysis, not the fantasy 'expansionary austerity' economics — the claim that slashing spending in a depressed economy somehow promotes job growth rather than deepening the depression — that Mr. Ryan continues to espouse despite the doctrine’s total failure in Europe. 

UPDATE V:  "Republican leaders can’t even begin to acknowledge that Obama has offered them a real compromise, because they can’t sell their base on the idea that the President is being flexible, let alone get them to seriously entertain accepting any compromise with him, because the base sees total victory over Obama as the only acceptable outcome.

In essence, a variety of political constraints prevent Republican leaders from acknowledging the reality of the situation. That makes any reality-based dialog impossible. The press has largely failed to reckon with this basic disconnect . . .

In his meeting with Republican Senators, Obama reportedly presented them with a choice: They can accept a deal that includes Chained CPI for Social Security and means testing of Medicare in exchange for new revenues, or end up with no entitlement reform. Republicans continue to respond by claiming the President is being inflexible — by pretending he hasn’t offered them what he has offered — while refusing to say what could induce them to compromise. "

Read the Washington Post, The GOP’s self-defeating strategy in fiscal fight.

UPDATE IV:  "Magical (adj): "delightful in such a way as to be removed from everyday life." [Synonyms: fake, absurd, couldn't-hardly-happen-even-if-Republicans-controlled-both-houses-and-the-presidency]" 

Read The Atlantic, The 2 Most Magical Numbers in Paul Ryan's Magical Budget

One of those magic numbers is $6.7 trillion, as in the unexplained "$6.7 trillion hole in federal revenues" created by the Ryan-Republi-con budget.

UPDATE III:  "Ronald Reagan ran the federal government at 22 percent of gross domestic product when the country’s population was much younger and health care consumed about 11 percent of GDP. . .

Now Paul Ryan says we can run the federal government at 19 percent of GDP as the massive baby-boom generation retires and when health costs (largely for seniors) have already soared to 18 percent of GDP.

Sorry, but Ryan is either deeply confused or doing his best to snooker us"

Read the Washington Post, Paul Ryan is no Ronald Reagan

UPDATE II:  "Ryan’s budget boils down to, 'trust me,' or at least, 'trust the House Republican Conference.' Without the details on tax reform, there’s no way for us to verify that the tax and spending sides of the budget really add up. Without knowing whether he’s got a credible plan for controlling Medicare costs if premium-support fails to deliver the savings he hopes to see, the long-term projections are, similarly, unreliable. Without knowing where the Section 920 spending cuts are coming from, it’s hard to believe they’re real. Ryan often criticizes the Democrats for dodging the 'tough choices,' but there are plenty of tough choices that he too is dodging."

Read the Washington Post, Five huge things we still don’t know about Paul Ryan’s budget

UPDATE:  "Paul Ryan and the Republicans have run a national election campaign (the 2012 presidential election) in which the main theme was bashing the Democrats … for a policy which Republicans support — and indeed are making a key part of the most important policy blueprint that they will roll out this year.

This is no garden-variety flip-flop. It’s a fundamental decision to govern one way and campaign the exact opposite way. . .

I really can’t think of any comparably dishonest episode in recent American political history. To base not one but two campaigns on attacking the other party for a policy which, between elections, they support…it’s well beyond chutzpah. Oh, and that’s without even beginning to reckon with the fact that the House GOP’s larger Medicare plans call for much bigger long-term cuts than Obamacare made."

Read the Washington Post, What do you do when one party is this dishonest?   

They were against them, before they were for them (twice), before they were against them, but now for them.

"Ryan and Republican leaders started off opposing the ACA’s Medicare cuts, then turned around and twice passed budgets that kept them, then campaigned against those cuts in the 2012 election, and are now embracing them again."

Read TalkingPointsMemo, Paul Ryan Reverses Himself Yet Again On Medicare Cuts.

Are you dizzy yet?