Paul Krugman rips into the corporate press for validating the buget plan proposed by new GOP wunder kid Paul Ryan:
People like me don’t say that the Ryan plan is too radical; we say that it’s a fraud. The spending cuts are largely fake, either because they’re just magic asterisks or because they wouldn’t survive politically; the revenue estimates are fake, because they combine huge tax cuts with vague assurances that extra revenue will be found by closing loopholes. There’s no there there — except for big tax cuts for the rich and pain for the poor.
All I can think here is that reporters are so deep into the Beltway conventional wisdom that this is a Bold, Serious Plan that they just tune out the people saying that no, it’s not.
The public has been hood winked in to believing that Ryan’s plan is ‘brave’ and ‘visionary’ largely because no one really understands the debt crisis and how we got there. Matt Taibbi provides a brief history behind the confusion:
A huge part of the blame for the confusion and the national angst over our budget issues has to be laid at the feet of media assholes like [David] Brooks, who continually misrepresent what is actually happening with national spending.
The last ten years or so have seen the government send massive amounts of money to people in the top tax brackets, mainly through two methods: huge tax cuts, and financial bailouts. The government has spent trillions of our national treasure bailing out Wall Street, which has resulted directly in enormous, record profit numbers – nearly $100 billion in the last three years (and that doesn’t even count the tens of billions more in inflated compensation and bonuses that came more or less directly from government aid). Add to that the $700 billion or so the Obama tax cuts added to the national debt over the next two years, and we’re looking at a trillion dollars of lost revenue in just a few years.
Ryan’s budget essentially gives even more money to top earners while gutting government services for the poor and middle classes – a formula that we know leads to more poverty, lower growth and economic instability. Rather than point out the insanity of the plan, the corporate media (and the Democrats to a large extent), have validated it by taking it seriously. Upon its arrival, anyone with half a brain should have laughed it out of Washington, but instead we now face the reality of more economic shock therapy in the midst of a still awful economy, and the prospect of more misery down the line.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.