Steve Benen: House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) spoke to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” earlier, as part of the rollout of his caucus’ radical budget plan. Not surprisingly, the co-hosts gushed over the right-wing lawmaker – as the media nearly always does.
But Justin Elliott flagged the portion of the interview that was just over the top: “At the end of the show, Scarborough said the executive producer of the program, Chris Licht, said in Scarborough’s earpiece of Ryan, “I’m in love.”
There’s something deeply wrong with the political culture and discourse. Ryan is a snake-oil salesman. Media professionals – who are supposed to be hardened and cynical – have the responsibility of helping the public learn the truth, but that’s not happening because they’re “in love” with the mild-mannered extremist.
…Paul Ryan wants to eliminate Medicare and gut Medicaid. His goal is to impose hardship on the elderly, the disabled, low-income families, and the middle class, while rewarding the wealthy and corporations with even more tax breaks – which will cost a fortune, even in the midst of a debate that’s ostensibly about deficit reduction.
There’s nothing courageous or serious or “lovable” about any of this. It’s radical callousness at a level unseen in the United States in generations. Paul Ryan has seen the modern American social contract, and he wants to shred it, to be replaced with “Atlas Shrugged”.
The media’s “love” of Ryan and his agenda – rewarding the rich again, while taking life-saving benefits away from those in need – is nothing short of twisted. This is evidence of a pathology that’s come to dominate modern American thought, and it’s just not healthy.
Jonathan Chait (The New Republic): Liberals are kind of short-circuiting in response to Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” which contains so many bad Republican economic proposals in one place you don’t even know what to say about it. But there’s really one clear issue here that encapsulate both the intellectual and the political vulnerablity of the plan: It contains a massive, regressive tax cut.
Ryan does not want to talk about the tax cut. His video touting the plan focuses entirely on the debt, and makes no mention whatsoever of the tax cuts.
Ryan doesn’t mention the tax cuts, of course, because they unravel the entire rationale for his proposal. Americans overwhelmingly oppose cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. Ryan understands he can only make his plan acceptable if those cuts are seen as necessary to save the programs.
And certainly some level of cutting is necessary. But Ryan’s level of cutting goes far beyond what’s needed to preserve those programs, and it does so in order to clear room for a very large, regressive tax cut. He is making a choice – not just cut Medicare to save Medicare, but also to cut Medicare in order to cut taxes for the rich.
Statement by the Press Secretary on Republican Budget Proposal: The President believes that dramatically reducing America’s long-term deficit is essential to growing our economy and winning the future. Today, Congressman Ryan laid out his vision for how to do that, and he is right that we cannot solve our fiscal challenge by focusing on the narrow slice of domestic spending that has occupied so much of our recent attention. But while we agree with his ultimate goal, we strongly disagree with his approach. Any plan to reduce our deficit must reflect the American values of fairness and shared sacrifice. Congressman Ryan’s plan fails this test. It cuts taxes for millionaires and special interests while placing a greater burden on seniors who depend on Medicare or live in nursing homes, families struggling with a child who has serious disabilities, workers who have lost their health care coverage, and students and their families who rely on Pell grants. The President believes there is a more balanced way to put America on a path to prosperity. But despite our differences, all of us – Democrats and Republicans – have an obligation to find common ground in a way that is true to our values and meets our responsibilities to the American people.