The importance of the Paul Ryan budget cannot be understated. It is the biggest and most defining document for the GOP in a generation. It might not only decide the current presidential election, but it has the potential to change the voting habits of an entire generation.
Every Republican in Congress voted for the Ryan Budget and Mitt Romney has repeatedly voiced his support for it. The entire Republican Establishment is now married to it. If it becomes as wildly unpopular as the Democrats think it will be, the Republicans will also become wildly unpopular. Every race for a House seat will be affected by the Democrats ability to define the Ryan Budget.
While eliminating Medicare with a voucher systam may be the best know part of the budget, there is enough detail in it to launch a controversial topic each day from now until the election. It is revolutionary in the extent it take failed trickle-down economics theory and elevates it to an orthodoxy.
In brief, his budget makes draconian cuts to social programs for children and the poor (Medicare, Medicaid, housing, WIC, Food Stamps, etc.), raises taxes on the middle class and cuts taxes on high earners and corporations – all with the intention of lowering the debt by 5 trillion over a decade. Classic trickle-down with a twist – let the middle-class and poor make up the difference.
Trickle-Down – A Two-Time Loser
Classic trickle-down. The huge problem is that trickle-down is a two time loser. It was used by Reagan in the 80s and Bush in the 2000s. Both times the results were the same – skyrocketing national debt. It is like putting a recession onto a credit card to pay for later. The money that is supposed to trickle-down ends up padding corporate profits and rich peoples bank accounts – none of it trickles-down. This video is one of the best explanations of this failed theory.
Opportunity and Risk
The opportunity and risk of Paul Ryan VP pick is best summed up by Aaron Blake today in the Washington Post:
Conservatives will be thrilled with the selection of their favored pick, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), as Mitt Romney’s running mate, but Democratic campaign operatives may be just as excited.
Democrats have gotten significant mileage out of attacking the budget Ryan has proposed as chairman of the House Budget Committee, particularly the portion of it that would turn Medicare into a voucher program. In recent years, Democrats have used that provision to argue that Republicans will “end Medicare as we know it” or just plain “end Medicare”.
Either way, the line of attack has proved potent. Democrats and Republicans acknowledge that it helped Democrats win recent special elections in conservative districts in upstate New York and Arizona.
Democrats need to win 25 House seats to retake the chamber. They need to lose no more than three Senate seats to keep their majority there. The Senate is considered to be in play in 2012, with Democrats defending many conservative-leaning and swing states.
Democrats say putting Ryan on the ticket will push his budget to the forefront even more and force Republicans who haven’t already taken a position on it to do so. And they moved quickly Saturday to rehash the issue with just three months to go before the 2012 election.
“His plan . . . would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health-care costs to seniors,” President Obama said in a statement on Ryan’s selection. Congressman Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are a match made in millionaires’ heaven, but they’ll be a nightmare for seniors who’ve earned their Medicare.”
A Game Changer
Many Democrats have been wondering when the Ryan Plan was going to take center stage. They now have their answer. In Chicago, this very moment, there are political consultants picking out the best nuggets of the very detailed budget. By election day in November, we are all going to know a lot more about the budget that would transform our country as much as the New Deal. I will not have touched the Third Rail of politics, it will have ripped it out of the wall.
If the Democrats can effectively define the Ryan Plan – the Republicans run the chance of not only losing the Presidency and the House, but they run the chance of losing relevance. Their base will become even more radical, outlandish and unpalatable to the nation at large.
Any better way to Start your Morning?