DC’s Strange Love Affair with Paul Ryan

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Jamelle Bouie explains why Republicans ought to be delighted with Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future”:

Under the Ryan plan, taxes for the richest 1 percent of Americans would fall by half, on top of making the Bush tax cuts permanent….Households with incomes of more than $1 million would receive an average annual tax cut of $502,000, and the richest one-tenth of 1 percent of Americans would receive an average tax cut of $1.7 million a year. To offset these tax cuts, the Ryan plan would place a consumption tax on most goods and services.

These taxes would overwhelmingly affect working and middle-class Americans. According to Citizens for Tax Justice, the Ryan plan would increase taxes by an average of $2,000 on everyone with an income under $100,000.

This is an underappreciated aspect of Ryan’s plan. Another underappreciated aspect, and one that’s fast becoming a pet peeve of mine, is that there’s nothing “smart” or “brave” about it. For some reason, practically everyone talks about how Ryan is the only Republican in Congress who’s willing to put his money where his mouth is and tell us exactly what he’d cut out of the federal budget. But he doesn’t. His plan merely caps various kinds of spending: there’s a cap on Medicare, a cap on Social Security, and a cap on domestic spending. Reduced to its policy essence, that’s it.

This is the fourth grade version of a “plan.” I can come up with something similar in about a minute. In fact, I will. Here’s my “plan”:

  • I think federal spending should be capped at 23% of GDP.
  • Interest on the national debt comes to 3% of GDP.
  • Social Security gets 5% of GDP.
  • Medicare gets 8% of GDP.
  • Defense spending gets 3% of GDP.
  • Domestic spending gets 4%.

Pretty good plan, huh? Of course I’d need to pad this out with lots of charts and tables, some quotes from famous people, and a policy proposal or two. Nothing damaging, mind you, mostly just things that hide the fact that I’m not really proposing any specific cuts, only offering a few broad spending caps and (natch) some tax cuts for the rich.

Oh, and his plan doesn’t eliminate the deficit, either. Other than that, it’s pretty good.

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