Why do we collectively keep pretending that Paul Ryan (pictured center) is a serious person? Every so often, the Wisconsin congressman, failed vice presidential candidate, and Ayn Rand fan boy boasts about introducing a budget that is hailed for presenting “bold” changes. And every so often that claim of audaciousness proves to be a remarkably asinine assertion. Seriously, what is “bold” about a corporatist introducing legislation that guts social programs that benefit the poor in order to make sure rich folks and defense contractors continue to swim in a pool of money like Uncle Scrooge?
Yet, here we are again.
Paul Ryan has another new budget, and despite trying to posture himself as some sort of anti-poverty crusader, the would-be Republican candidate for president in 2016 (oh, he’s plotting) is still only repping for the wealthy and the well-connected.
Color me surprised.
According to reports, the proposed Ryan budget would slash $5.1 trillion in federal spending over the coming decade. How? Well, the plan would balance the government’s budget by gutting food stamps in addition to healthcare services provided to the poor and working class. More, Ryan would slash programs like Pell Grants for low-income college students along with pensions for federal workers.
You should also watch out, Head Start, ’cause Ryan is coming for your neck too.
Now, Ryan won’t cut benefits to the elderly in the interim. No, no, the GOP needs their votes so the party is going to make sure they’re okay until they all die off.
But the rest of us are screwed.
Enter Ryan’s reported “voucher-like Medicare program for future retirees that provides the basis for GOP claims that the measure would drive down government debt over the long term.”
Does all of this sound familiar? If so, congratulations that you have paid any attention to previous reports about a Paul Ryan budget.
That said, as New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait pointed out, Ryan was supposed to discuss in detail how exactly he would help fight poverty despite wanting to slash all of the very programs that help people in poverty. But you know, it is totally not happening now and the only way you’d know is if you read a subscriber-only report via Congressional Quarterly. Supposedly, “Ryan wants to introduce some poverty-related initiatives later this year.”
Yeah, I bet.
Let me save you the trouble and describe those “poverty-related initiatives now”: Blah, blah, blah, and blah.
Indeed, Paul Ryan is the guy who remixed a story about a child receiving a meal via a school free lunch program and used it as a means to disparage the program; the same person who found some way to cite his Catholicism to explain his poor programs-slashing budgets; and the one who points to “cultural” problems to explain the cycle of poverty in specific communities.
In sum, let us all sing Teena Marie’s “Déjà Vu (I’ve Been Here Before)” as it is the best way to react to another story about a Paul Ryan budget that doesn’t end in you shouting in expletives. I swear, I wish political writers would stop trying to make fetch happen with Paul Ryan: Serious Wonk. It is the political equivalent of pretending that Rick Ross can hit Mariah Carey’s old high notes.
Serious people who want to truly fight poverty take that battle very seriously. Paul Ryan is not a serious person and he doesn’t care about curbing poverty. Not today, not yesterday, nor any other day before that.