Saturday, November 19, 2011

What Will Happen To Paul Ryan If The GOP Really Does Provoke A Revolution?


I never thought the OccupyWallStreet/99% Movement could actually lead to revolution... until this morning when I watched the sickening video above. Those are our kids, the best of our kids, being pepper sprayed like roaches by that slob with the mustache. Combine it with the self-entitled and willfully ignorant attitude from this grotesquely corrupt-- but never arrested or punished-- congressman at a public hearing and the response from the American citizen... and you see the breaking point is getting closer and closer.

When Alaska crook Don Young attacked distinguished history professor Dr. Douglas Brinkley's work as "garbage" and called him "Dr. Rice," Brinkley reminded him that he works at Rice University and that his name is Brinkley. Young, who is clearly senile, flipped out. "I can call you whatever I want to if you sit in that chair. You be quiet," he hissed. Professor Brinkley wasn't intimidated by the foolish old congressman. "You don’t own me. I pay your salary. You work for me."

The good professor's statement clashes with the divine right attitude-- fueled more by raw cash this time around than anything else-- that is now 100% prevalent among conservatives. The cop in Davis doesn't work for us anymore than does Don Young. They work for the 1% and their job is the same: holding down the 99%.

That's why Krugman was right the other day when he said the SuperCommittee would fail-- and that we're lucky it will fail. The 1% want it all-- everything-- and they believe that that is their right. The institutions of the state are in their hands-- whether the pepper-spraying cop in Davis, the corrupt, reactionary congressman from Alaska, the SuperCommittee or, for that matter, the entire Inside the Beltway set up and that of most of the states. It's now just a matter of time before people won't take it any more.
A House Democratic leader said a U.S. deficit-cutting agreement can’t include the extension of Bush-era tax cuts, while an influential Republican said his House colleagues won’t back a deal calling for new tax revenue.

The disagreement underscores the crux of the problem facing a congressional panel seeking to meet a Nov. 23 deadline to trim at least $1.2 trillion from the deficit over the next decade.

Representative Jim Jordan, head of the Republican Study Committee, which pushes for deeper spending cuts, said any deficit-cutting proposal that includes a tax increase is unlikely to clear a majority of the House’s Republicans.

Representative James Clyburn, a Democratic member of the supercommittee, said if Republicans demand an extension of the tax cuts won by President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003 the chances of an agreement are dim.

“It would be difficult” to win passage of a supercommittee plan that includes more taxes, said Jordan, of Ohio, on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend.

“If it’s a net tax increase, this is the most fundamental principle within the Republican Party,” Jordan said. “This is a sacred trust I think we as Republicans have with voters.”

Sacred? Really? Sacred? Can you even be a Republican these days without absolutely loathing the message of Jesus Christ? I can't see how it would be possible to embrace Jesus and the GOP message. Their actual object of worship-- Ayn Rand and her adolescent philosophy of selfishness and greed-- is the basis of the religion of Republicanism and... Christianity it's not. Paul Ryan, more than most, has been willing it publicly embrace it-- and it's reflected in his hate-the-poor legislative agenda.

In yesterday's Washington Post moderate Ezra Klein examined Ryan's latest thrust against ordinary working families on behalf of those who have financed his political career and have promised to make him president. Klein views Ryan's "Inequality Report" charitably and treats it as a serious policy statement-- even finds some worthwhile points.
But more broadly, Ryan’s paper tries to create a false choice between reducing income inequality, encouraging economic mobility and accelerating growth. Toward the end, Ryan actually says the debate over inequality breaks down into two groups:

1. Is the problem simply that some households make more than others, in which case policymakers should be focused on closing this income gap by any means at their disposal, indifferent as to whether government policies aimed to close relative inequality result in lower absolute levels of income?

2. Or is the problem that incomes for households in the middle- and lower-quintiles are not rising fast enough, in which case policymakers should focus first and foremost on creating the conditions for income growth and job creation?

If there actually is anyone out there who believes we should be focused on closing the income gap no matter the cost to growth, I’ve never met them. Conversely, there actually are people who focus on what they think to be pro-growth policies without heed to the income gap. People like, say, Paul Ryan.

In 2010, the Tax Policy Center released a detailed analysis of the tax provisions in Ryan’s Roadmap for America. If you were in the top 1 percent, they found, Ryan’s plan would save you $350,000 a year. If you were in the middle of the income distribution, it would cost you $152 a year. And if you were in the bottom 20 percent, it would cost you $393 a year. That would undoubtedly increase inequality.

And there’s good evidence that increasing inequality is, ultimately, bad for growth. Over at the International Monetary Fund, Andrew Berg and Jonathan Ostry recently published a paper looking at the relationship between inequality and growth across the world. In a sense, they were testing Ryan’s proposition exactly. “Some dismiss inequality and focus instead on overall growth-- arguing, in effect, that a rising tide lifts all boats,” they write.

Berg and Ostry found that “high ‘growth spells’ were much more likely to end in countries with less equal income distributions.” Moreover, “the effect is large .?.?. closing, say, half the inequality gap between Latin America and emerging Asia would more than double the expected duration of a ‘growth spell.’?” And it was robust: “Inequality seemed to make a big difference almost no matter what other variables were in the model or exactly how we defined a ‘growth spell.’?”

Ryan also plumps for his Medicare reforms as a solution to inequality. As you’ll remember, his budget proposes converting Medicare into a voucher system where seniors would be given a check and sent into a regulated private market to purchase insurance. The plan saves money because the check would grow at the rate of inflation, while health-care costs often increase three times faster than inflation, so, quite quickly, the check would cover only a small portion of an individual senior’s costs.

For rich seniors, this wouldn’t much matter. They could easily afford the cost of private insurance. For middle-income seniors, or lower-income seniors, it would be a disaster. Ryan offers them some subsidies, but not nearly enough. The cost of coverage would quickly outpace the resources many of them have to pay for it.

I mention this because Ryan’s paper emphasizes the difference between “absolute” and “relative” inequality. “A century ago,” Ryan writes, “the average American lived a life that was dramatically different, in terms of what he or she could experience and obtain, from an elite like Rockefeller. In many important respects, the difference between ultra-elites and average Americans is less pronounced today.”

But that difference is less pronounced in large part because of programs like Medicare, which ensure that poor and middle-class seniors have access to health care of similar quality to that of richer seniors. So where Ryan’s analysis suggests the need to means-test Medicare and control health-care costs to ease inequality, the core of his health-care plan, the very plan he touts in the conclusion to his paper, would dramatically increase absolute health-care inequality for seniors.

So it’s good that Ryan has started thinking hard about inequality. But it would be better if he thought harder about what policy could do to address it, or at least to avoid making it dramatically worse.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


At 2:07 PM, Anonymous Susie Madrak said...

Ever notice there are no children or elderly people in Rand's fairy tales?

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Labrys said...

Soylent Green, mayhap?

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Better power up the crematoriums for the disabled and mentally handicapped. They must be the MOST un-deserving of love,after all. And, really, they do next to nothing to feather the nests of the 'job creators'.


Post a Comment

<< Home