Nightmare on Milton St.

In one of the more flattering pieces on Paul Ryan’s budget plan, Michael Kinsley actually found some good in Ryan\'s budget. Outside of the Heritage Hacks and Janesville Gazette, compiments of ryan have been hard to find.

While Kinsley compares ryans budget to a slasher movie, he starts out complimenting ryan’s desire to “eliminate excessive printing”:

If you boiled all the self-congratulations out of Ryan’s 60-page document, you’d save a lot of paper, which is important to him. He calls on the government to “eliminate excessive printing” of congressional bills and resolutions. OK, I’m for that. But that is one of a remarkably few specifics.

Th rest of the column, he gets serious in pointing out that ryan is far from serious figure in Washington.

The fiscal savior of this country will be the person who persuades us to bite the bullet: Accept some pain now to remain prosperous later. That person will not be Rep. Paul Ryan.

For 30 years, Republicans have demanded a balanced budget without producing one, even on paper. What would it look like? Whose ox would be gored? Whose chickens would come home to roost? Whose goose would be cooked? Ryan continues the long GOP tradition of evading these unpleasant questions. You would think, reading the document, that the only reason we have fiscal problems is the willful perversity or ignorance of everybody but Ryan. He admits to no ordeal or challenge. In effect, he claims he can painlessly cut $5.8 trillion from federal spending in the next decade.

Kinsley also points out numerous times where ryan just does not have the guts to point out anything specific. Ryan is especially evasive when he talks about his “signature” solution to ending Medicaid as we know it – block grants.

The cost of Medicaid is shared between the federal government and the states. Ryan wants to turn the federal money into “block grants” for the states. Ryan does not say how he thinks the states might run the program more efficiently. He merely asserts that they would. Does he read the newspapers? Every day’s news offers evidence that state governments are not likely to improve on the federal record for efficiency and thrift. Block grants are like spinach sliced into fifty-one tiny bits and scattered about a plate by a child who wants to make it look as if he’s eaten some.

The only advantage of a block grant is that it can always be cut without having to explicitly reduce benefits. Ryan is at his most unctuous about the plight of future Medicaid beneficiaries, whose benefits are threatened by soaring costs, and at his most evasive about how those costs can be controlled without cutting benefits. He’s at his most absurd in suggesting that the problem is the “onerous, one-size-fits-all” federal approach to medical care, as if there were dramatic differences in the physiology of people in Nebraska and New Jersey. Of course, there are gross anomalies in health care across the country. But that is a problem, not the solution

Yet again Captain Courageous is Mr. Outrageous!


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