Sloppy and Pathetic

TIME Ideas has two pieces up about Willard’s pick of Paul Ryan to share the Republican ticket. Both are poorly written, terribly researched and give Ryan a pass on what should be obvious to anyone over the age of 12, that his budget plan adds up to nothing.

We’ve covered Ryan and his budget previously. It hasn’t improved, despite efforts by the Heritage Foundation, which provided the numbers to the Congressman that he was unable to generate himself, to ‘fix’ it.

The first piece, by Karen Hughes who stood out as stupid EVEN in the Bush Administration, turns on Ryan as a provider of solutions. This works, but only as long as you realize that his solution doesn’t solve the problem (cost growth in health care) but instead redefines it completely to a budgetary issue and offloads it from government to people. It IS a solution since it reduces projected federal expenditures, but what’s left out is that those costs don’t go away, Seniors will be responsible for paying those costs themselves (which, by most estimates, will exceed their actual income). It’s not the end of Medicare as we know it, it’s the end of long and healthy retirements for everyone in this country who isn’t a member of the top 5%. Ryan does not provide, as Karen Hughes asserts, a fix to our budget woes. He proposes an abdication of responsibility in the best Republican tradition.

Of course, Karen also neglects to mention that once he solves the entitlement growth problem by shifting the burden to little old ladies, he then cuts taxes which has the effect of actually making the deficits LARGER. Karen, coming from the Administration of this nations most profligate spender and borrower, should kinda know about this stuff by now.

Jon Meachum’s piece is far worse… Here’s a sample:

Like the final product or not, Ryan had the wherewithal and the integrity to do the work of producing his own budget rather than taking the easy way out of attacking the president without putting forward a concrete alternative.

A concrete alternative? I’ve looked at the Ryan budget. I’ve listened to others far wiser and knowledgeable than Jon Meachum discuss the Ryan budget and none of them refer to it as a concrete alternative. Rep. Ryan didn’t produce this himself, he produced it with significant help from the Heritage Foundation, a conservative mouthpiece masquerading as a serious think tank but which is, in fact, a mere shadow of it’s former self. Now, it’s basically a hand puppet for the PR departments of some of it’s largest donors. So one has to ask, did Jon actually LOOK at the budget? Did he understand that the assumptions on which it’s based are completely unrealistic? Did he comprehend that even if you accept them, the math still doesn’t add up? How is any of that concrete? How does a man with integrity produce something so deeply, fundamentally and obviously flawed and how in the hell does everyone give him a pass on it?

And how does an Editor at Random House completely miss that Ryan’s reputation as a ‘serious person’ and ‘policy wonk’ is totally unearned and undeserved?

Unfortunately for Jon, he’s not done making a fool of himself:

On the merits, Ryan’s budget represents the conservative edge of the fiscal debate. His detailed proposal and Romney’s much more general one are far more generous to the well-off than the bipartisan product of the Simpson-Bowles commission — a panel on which Ryan served but from whose report he dissented. This is a report, it must be remembered, that the man who appointed the commission — President Obama — declined to get behind.

Calling Ryan’s budget detailed ignores, again, the only salient fact in this entire conversation… that the budget itself is based on fantasy and represents the kind of fraud that collapsed not only Enron but it’s auditor as well. It’s fraud, pure and simple, to present something as credible which you know to be completely and totally false. Out of this there are only two possibilities… either Ryan was aware of the fraud and an active participant in it or he was too stupid to realize it was happening. Either way, he deserves scorn and ridicule, not praise for his ‘seriousness’.

The final nail in Jon’s pundit coffin comes from a quote he lifted from the NYT:

As Peter Baker noted in the New York Times on Sunday, Obama once praised Ryan. “Asked in the fall of 2010 which Republicans he could envision working with in the next Congress, Mr. Obama mentioned only one who would still be around, Mr. Ryan,” wrote Baker. “He said Mr. Ryan was ‘absolutely sincere about wanting to reduce the deficit,’ though he quarreled with his approach. ‘I give him credit for at least being willing to put out there some tough choices,’ Mr. Obama said, ‘although, as I said, even there, the numbers don’t quite match up the way they should.’ What Mr. Obama found appealing, the notion of a man of ideas willing to make tough choices, is what he now will need to devalue him.”

To Jon, it’s simply politics to attack a man with whom you once said you could work. However, in this VERY piece, the President himself lays out the single biggest problem with Paul Ryan… ‘(His) numbers don’t quite match up the way they should’. Jon, if he had a sense of subtlety or compassion, would understand that this was the nicest way the President could say ‘bless his heart, he’s dumb as shit but he means well’.

To those of us in Texas, that was perfectly clear. Of course, here we have a habit of pointing out that dumb is dumb, even if we’re too nice to put it quite that way.

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