The Intelligent, Thoughtful, and Very Patient Matt Miller Slowly Explains That Paul Ryan Is a Budget Arsonist in a Fire Chief's Hat
Matt Miller: The talented Mr. Ryan: The striking thing about Paul Ryan’s ascent is the gulf between his proposals and the way the media have characterized them. Since Mitt Romney named Ryan to the ticket on Saturday, the news has been filled with talk of the “ fiscal conservative ” (NPR) “ intent on erasing deficits ” (New York Times) who has become “ the intellectual heart of the Republican Party’s movement to slash deficits” ( The Post). All of this is demonstrably false…. [T]he con has worked in part because budgets make journalists’ eyes glaze over, and once the phony Ryan meme took hold two years ago it became hard to dislodge.
Now that Ryan is on the ticket, however, the stakes are too high not to expose the fraud. In that spirit (and at the risk of taxing readers who’ve heard my Ryan fetishes before), I offer one wonk’s guide to what every citizen should know about Ryan’s plans. Otherwise, like the talented Mr. Ripley, Ryan will continue to get away with (fiscal) murder.
Ryan is not a “fiscal conservative.” A fiscal conservative pays for the government he wants. Ryan never has. His early “Roadmap for America’s Future” didn’t balance the budget until the 2060s and added $60 trillion to the national debt. Ryan’s revised plan, passed by the House in 2011, wouldn’t reach balance until the 2030s while adding $14 trillion in debt. It adds $6 trillion in debt over the next decade alone — yet Republicans had the chutzpah to say they wouldn’t raise the debt limit!…
Ryan says that on our current path we will “transform our social safety net into a hammock, which lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency.” But I’ve never understood what hammock Ryan is talking about. If programs for seniors haven’t been a “hammock” until now, simply doubling the number of people eligible for them can’t turn them into a “hammock” tomorrow. We have an aging population challenge and a health-cost challenge. We don’t have a “hammock” challenge.
Ryan is not a truthteller. Ryan boasted on Saturday that he and Romney have “the courage to tell you the truth.” But political courage means telling your base things they don’t want to hear…