I don't know who's worse: pathological zombie politician Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, or the alleged intelligentsia who are cheerleading his "seriousness, courage and bravery". I am still trying to recover from the David Brooks column in yesterday's Times that treated this two-bit hack like the second coming of Christ.
Read instead the running commentary of Paul Krugman in his New York Times blog for a piece-by-piece evisceration of the Ryan Manifesto of Death by a Thousand Cuts. After Professor K called out Ryan's (via the Heritage Foundation) projection of only a 2.7 percent unemployment rate in coming years to vindicate his fictional deficit cure, it was mysteriously cut from the online Heritage Foundation version. But Krugman has posted a screenshot of the original.
The obvious point of the Ryan plan is to Scare Us All To Death, as well as start a generation war between Millennials and their grandparents. Ryan is fine with leaving Medicare alone for the 55-plus crowd around today, but if you're in the unlucky below-55 age group, you will only get a few thousand bucks to buy crappy junk insurance when you retire. Meanwhile, you'll be paying to keep old geezers on life support through your payroll deductions. It's the tried and true "divide and conquer" formula all bosses and overlords use to keep their disgruntled workers and subjects in their places. Pit colleague against colleague, private sector versus public sector, young college graduate minimum wage McDonald's hamburger flipper against the Grandma living in retired "comfort" on his FICA/Medicare deduction dime. Destruction of the social safety net is the goal. "Family values" in GOP-speak is of the Corleone/Tony Soprano variety only.
It's also the old propagandistic bait and switch trick of cutting social programs in order to "save" them -- so as not to burden our children and grandchildren with our bills. We must die for our sins. Come on. The real burdensome crowd are the kleptocrats who want to keep their tax cuts for eternity and live off the rest of us like the bloated leeches they are. It's the class war, stupid. And speaking of war -- not a mention does Ryan make of our three (official) wars and their terrible cost in money, lives, limbs and mental health.
Ryan is a fall guy being paraded out by the Republicans to provide a sideshow. As my friend Kate Madison pointed out yesterday in her comment on Brooks, he is so despised in his native Wisconsin that he is not expected to even win re-election next year, let alone remain House Budget Committee chairman.
The Ryan Show is like a Grade Z horror flick that's so bad, it's funny. What the GOP is really banking on is the possibility that their outrageous demands for a trillion dollar cut will so scare the spineless Democrats that they might even get a third of what they're asking for. Little Paulie a Whiz Kid? Cheez Whiz is more like it -- and that amounts to sacrilege in the Dairy State, the birthplace of labor unions. His artificial cheese product of a budget is held together by intellectual emulsifying agents that don't stand a chance when exposed to heat and light. He has cheeted with the facts. His mendacious manifesto and his fellow Republicans are becoming as unglued as xanthum gum left out in the rain.