I've got to give the Republicans credit.
Now, having written that warm-and-fuzzy sounding first line, I'm faced with figuring out what I should give them credit for. Hmmmm... I'm stumped. Is it the late night hour? Lack of caffeine?
Perhaps. But much more likely is the fact that the only recent accomplishment of the not-so-Grand Old Party is its undying commitment to unreality.
Republicans are really good at not comprehending what is real.
Faced with a clear consensus about human caused global warming among 97% of the world's leading climare scientists and obvious planetary effects... Republicans say, "not happening." Faced with equally convincing evidence that more guns and less gun regulations means much higher gun deaths in the U.S. than other industrialized nations... Republicans say, "not true."
Just as bizarrely, faced with a clear-cut election victory by Obama and other Democrats last November, after voters were exposed for an excruciatingly long time to social policy debates between Republican and Democratic positions, the G.O.P. faithful are sticking their heads in the sand and muttering, "Election? What election?"
Greg Sargent nailed the absurdity of this, fantasizing how things would look if the situation were reversed.
Imagine that Mitt Romney had decisively defeated Obama in the 2012 election on a platform of tax cuts for the rich and deep cuts to government as the only way to reduce the deficit, dramatically repudiating the President’s call for higher taxes on the wealthy, continued implementation of the biggest expansion of the safety net in 60 years, and more government spending to boost the economy.
Then imagine that Democrats in the Senate (the only part of government they controlled) responded to this by proposing to dramatically expand health care and stimulus spending and pay down the deficit only with 100 percent tax hikes — and not a single penny more in spending cuts — and on top of that, then suggested President Romney has failed to sincerely try to find common ground with them.
This is pretty much what Republicans did on the Sunday shows yesterday — in reverse. On Fox News Sunday, Paul Ryan confirmed that his budget will repeal Obamacare (even as he counts in his budget the $700 billion in Obamacare Medicare cuts that Republicans campaigned against in 2012). The Ryan budget will supposedly wipe out the deficit in 10 years. This likely will mean even deeper cuts than the ones in his previous budget, which represented the GOP’s fiscal agenda writ large and broadly speaking was rejected by voters last November.
Thankfully, President Obama and Democrat leaders in Congress have a much firmer grasp on reality. Voters rejected Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and the Ryan budget approach. That's a fact. Deal with it, G.O.P. People want a balanced approach to balancing the budget.
Not all spending cuts. Not all revenue increases. A balance. Ever sat on a see-saw? Republicans should try it some time. Equal weight on the ends makes for a good balance.
That's what Senate Democrats have proposed: a ten year budget plan that calls for almost exactly equal spending cuts and revenue increases. Sounds good to me. Reflects what voters cast their ballots for just a few months ago.
The plan, assembled by Senator Patty Murray of Washington, would raise nearly a $1 trillion in new revenue over a decade by eliminating tax loopholes and breaks that benefit wealthy taxpayers and corporations. It recommends either limiting the overall itemized deductions of the top 2 percent of taxpayers or eliminating individual loopholes like the favorable tax rates given to hedge-fund managers. Corporations would no longer be able to avoid taxation by hiding money overseas.
At the same time, this budget cuts an equal amount of spending, $975 billion, in a way that avoids the reckless damage to vital programs and to the poor in the budget favored by the House. Nearly a third of the reductions come from new efficiencies in Medicare and Medicaid, building on the reforms in the Affordable Care Act. The rest comes from defense cuts after American troops withdraw from Afghanistan, along with cuts to wasteful programs like agriculture supports.
Dana Milbank wrote a great piece that exposed the magical thinking of Paul Ryan and his fellow Republicans. They believe that by uttering some hocus-pocus bullshit political incantatations with no substance behind them will foot the American public into supporting their effort to conduct class warfare on behalf of the rich.
Here's some of what Milbank said:
Paul Ryan’s budget is an amazing and wondrous document.
Not only does it balance the budget in 10 years while reducing tax rates, it also does so without any pain or suffering — or even breaking a sweat. It achieves not just the longtime goals of policymakers — “a safety net strengthened . . . retirement secured . . . a nation protected” — but also brings about changes in human nature that have bedeviled civilization from the beginning of time. “This budget ends cronyism; eliminates waste, fraud and abuse,” Ryan’s plan promises.
“Now, how do we do this?” Ryan (R-Wis.), the House Budget Committee chairman, asked with a magician’s flourish as heunveiled his budget Tuesday morning.
Here’s how: The former Republican vice presidential candidate’s budget eliminates ___ loopholes in the tax code, cutting the ___ and the ____ deductions. It reduces spending on the ____ program by _____ and the _____ program by _____. Retirees would see ____, students would experience ____ and the poor would be _____.
There are so many blanks in Ryan’s budget that it could be a Mad Libs exercise. But this is not a game. It’s black-box budgeting — an expression of lofty aims, with binders full of magic asterisks in lieu of specific cuts to government benefits. If this were a fitness plan, Ryan, a former personal trainer, would be telling Americans that under his revolutionary program, they could lose 50 pounds in 10 weeks without dieting or working out.