Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Tainted Cheesiness of Paul Ryan

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.


jhand said...

Kate Madison may be correct about Ryan's reelection chances. However, I am betting that when the Koch bros., Fox News, Michelle B. and the Tea Party get through with buffing, polishing, burnishing, and prevaricating, it will be difficult to tell the difference between Ryan and folks like Mother Therese, Ghandi, Jesus, or (name your favorite historical icon here).

James F Traynor said...

You have to give it to the Repubs. They really are good at this stuff. It's all based on divide and conquer and it works. Think about it, I'm sure they have. Lots of commentators have pointed out that Ryan's proposals won't hurt us of the geriatric crowd, and we and the baby boomers, also largely untouched, vote.

Aha, but when the younger sets wise up and start to vote they'll be pissed at the Republicans, hoisting the GOP on its own petard! Think again. The one thing the average American can't stand is the 'other' getting more than him or her. It won't matter that the Repubs did it and with exactly that in mind. Morally, ethically deplorable? Ah, yes, but it works. And it has, at least for the past thirty years.

Anne Lavoie said...

I have noticed vehement comments from the younger people about how the boomers have ruined their future. It's not the Republicans they blame, or the rich. It's all of us of a certain age that they blame, and their anger is palpable. So if you think a class war is bad, think about where this could be going.

DreamsAmelia said...

Tune in live on the web to C-Span 2 for the real heroes and villains in this drama...the Democrats are telling the truth, and fighting hard....they never get the press they deserve--but they are outnumbered, and you can hear the Repubs actively _not_ listening...

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Excellent post, Karen! I am sick at heart with the class/generation war being triggered to deflect public attention from the real villains who are stealing the future from all of us.

Karen Garcia said...

DreamsAmelia -- I watch C-Span whenever I get the chance. The Democrats are too polite, the Republicans are too crass, and they just end up cancelling each other out!

And thanks, JHand, Anne, James and Dr. Kathy for your thoughtful comments. Deflection of our attention is their m.o. - there is always an endless supply of wedge issues to distract and anger us.

Jill said...

Anne Lavoie is 100% correct. Go read the comments at any blog, and you'll see angry Millennials and Gen-Xers blaming the boomers who went out and took drugs and had AIDS-free sex and then turned around and voted Republican. Of course it's a false generalization, but it's more pervasive than we'd like to think. I even have people I call friends who blame me for all their problems solely because of my birth year.

The one hope that we will have is that these same angry people, when they take power, will come up with a quick and painless way to dispatch us all. I'd rather go that way than homeless in the street.

4608 said...

the best way to tax the wealthy and the corporations is to tax spending not income - if you tax income of the wealth to much then they will just go live some place that will not tax them as much - or at least put their money there.

HR 25 is a better answer

James F Traynor said...

Not to worry Jill. The Repubs will sell hunting licenses to the Genxers and the Millenials with extra charged for geriatric and boomer tags. The NRA will be delighted. And just think, 4608, of the extra revenue from the guns and ammo sold. And trailer parks will be free fire zones. That should really please Cheney and family.

Anne Lavoie said...


I think that in order to avoid being the victim of the generation war we need to take up the mantle of the class war (or whatever the term is for taxing the rich). Now.

The kids are right.'We' are not fighting for them. What else are they to think? Sounds like selfishness to me. We are eating our young! I don't blame them for feeling cannibalized by our generation.

They are all our children, so what kind of parent steals the future from them, or stands by and lets others do so? Selfish, weak, uncaring. Take your pick.

I blame the President for not speaking in those terms. What is wrong with that man, besides Narcissism? If I sound angry, I am!!!!

James F Traynor said...

Aw, we're a nasty lot, we Homo sapiens (now that's a hilarious scientific designation in itself). The only tribe of us who has been able to face what we are and govern themselves accordingly are the Scandinavians. Yes, Anne, we do devour our children and everything else in sight. We just can't bring ourselves to admit it. And they are so delicious!

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

A friend said to me yesterday "Why are you getting so angry about this Ryan proposal? It won't affect us! Just the people now under 55. We've got ours. We don't have to worry." I was thunderstruck. As long as the GOP is dismantling social programs for those younger or poorer than we are, we HAVE to care! We must get involved and stop them! It's immoral to allow the GOP to play one generation against another, to break promises to the generations behind us. They've been paying into the system, too. And I have no doubt that once the Republicans and those Republicans posing as Democrats start hacking away at Medicare and Social Security, we will not be nearly as secure as some of us seem to think. We may yet find ourselves on the streets. (And perhaps not too far away from that scary movie about soylent green if the generation wars become political reality.) I am astonished, angry and outraged by this President's betrayal of our hope and trust.

Anne Lavoie said...

This is the perfect time to march on Washington!!!

KISS. Keep it Simple Stupid. This isn't rocket science: Raise the tax rates on the wealthy! Period.

And the march should be on Congress, not at B of A or any other institution. The problem starts and ends in Washington, D.C. with Congress and the President.

Raise the tax rates on the wealthy and keep them there until the debt is wiped out, if that is what is so important to them. No more cuts to services.

I wish I wasn't so far away, I'd be there right now!

James F Traynor said...

Yeah team!

turnipseed said...

We had such an exciting victory at the polls here in Wisconsin yesterday! If we can keep this up and achieve the recalls at the State level, I may have hope again. The demonstrations in Madison started the ball rolling.

Ryan will be a blip in the scheme of things.

My four kids and six grandkids are all liberals. I brought them up that way. They vote and they know it's not Grandma that's trying to wreck their lives. Several of them were in Madison with me, learning to be good activists.

Let's face it--if the debt is a problem (and that's far from clear) then there are TWO things that can be done. One, touted loud and clear on the right is to spend less. The other, never mentioned thanks to thirty years of propaganda, is to RAISE TAXES--especially on the highest incomes.

Janet Camp
Milwaukee, WI

Anonymous said...

Very encouraging comment, Janet.

I must admit, my mom is one of those 70 somethings who wants liberals and socialists to keep their hands off her Medicare and Social Security. What I find amazing is the disconnect and the utter selfishness of people like my mother who squeezed every penny she could out of Medicare when my dad had a long death with Alzheimer's, yet fought tooth and nail from her armchair (voting Republican both for herself AND my dad) against socialised medicine for her son and grandchildren.

I think the biggest thing the Republicans have done so effectively is to make it socially acceptable to be totally selfish and self-serving.

Valerie Long Tweedie

Marie Burns said...

"I think the biggest thing the Republicans have done so effectively is to make it socially acceptable to be totally selfish and self-serving." -- Valerie Long Tweedie

That has to be the smartest cultural observation of the day. Thanks for the insight, even if it is depressing as all get-out.

The Constant Weader

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious. Is it possible for liberals to make serious comments on an issue without calling those they disagree with, names?

Your thoughts, please!

Karen Garcia said...

It's possible, but in the case of Paul Ryan, not probable and frankly, highly unlikely. Civility, that most overrated of virtues, tends to go out the window when discussing an organism which is doing its part do dismantle our social safety net. The destruction of our social programs would cause untold misery and lead to the early deaths of countless people. So yeah, name-calling is permissible in such extreme cases. And Paul Ryan is nothing if not extreme.

John said...

Somebody from Maryland commenting on Krugman's blog had a great idea: Let's tie tax rates on the wealthy to a measure of wealth distribution. The smaller the gap between the rich and the poor, the lower the tax rates on the rich. If the rich actually believe their own rhetoric they should jump at this.

Margaret Thatcher was half right. Corporatism is great until you run out of other people's money. What will the Ryans (and the banks, and big pharma, and the big defense contractors) of the world do once the middle class is gone?

turnipseed said...

I don't see where discussing a generational war, inspired by uber-right thinking, equals "name calling"?

If you want name calling, I can do that, and then you will have something to complain about.

I second Marie Burns' compliment to Ms. Tweedie! And if anyone is labeling that "name calling", I'd say that his skin is much too thin and that he ain't heard nothin' yet.


On a very sad note, it seems that one of our victories here in Dairyland has been upset. We'll have to see how the whole recount comes out.

Janet Camp

James F Traynor said...

'A rose by any other name ...'. The same goes for 'fascist' by any other name, like 'Republican'. Sorry folks, I was raised in the South Bronx, raised 'polite' by immigrant parents, but I learned better. A guy named McCarthy taught me a lot. I've hated the Republican Party ever since. To hell with the Democrats! Go for the juglar! And go now, before it's too late. But you won't, you're too nice, too polite. Goodbye, good luck.

Anonymous said...

I am really concerned with this idea of generational hostility. It is something that progressives really have to get on top of - and quickly. It is scapegoating pure and simple and it will spread like wildfire if we let it. Those who are fortunate enough to have a good safety net need to have a sense of fairness (and compassion) and advocate for those who don't. We need to be pointing out to our over 65 anti-safety net advocate friends and relatives (is that kind enough for Anonymous?) that they are enjoying socialised medicine and a safety net that was put into place by a Democratic administration. The hypocrisy and shameless selfishness of these people is unbelievable!

Valerie Long Tweedie

Orationis said...

Have to hand it to you for your observation on TARP "really stands for The Ayn Rand Program for troubled capitalists". Have been struggling to understand why the 'right' are so anti-education, anti-health, anti-environment, climate science deniers, pro GMOs, diluting organics. Is it all greed or a or a blend of greed and perverse vision of apocalyptic destruction inspired by a worthless ideology of hate?