Ryan’s one-legged stool

Isabel Sawhill has seen the Ryan plan, and she really, really doesn’t like it.

Isabel Sawhill, the almost pathologically moderate and polite Brookings economist, unloads on Paul Ryan’s budget plan. Unlike most of the reporters, Sawhill knows what it means to be fiscally responsible, and she notices that Ryan’s plan ain’t. Reducing the deficit can be done by cutting domestic spending, cutting military spending, or raising revenues. The Ryan plan is all about domestic spending.  Sawhill remarks:

It’s like a stool with only one leg. It will not stand.

And Sawhill provides some rhetorical advice:

For starters, progressives should be unabashed in labeling the Ryan plan for what it is: an ideological manifesto for a Tea-Party-dominated Republican Party … Voodoo Economics is back in full gear.

Precisely.

Footnote

The basic fact about American political life today is that one of the two major parties is dominated by dangerous extremists. The basic fact about American journalistic life today is that reporters aren’t reporting that fact. The fact that Belle Sawhill is finally willing to call lunacy by its right name ought to matter, though it probably won’t.

I’m hoping that the rather flaccid response from the White House to what’s been coming out of Capitol Hill since January is a set-up for a “sanity against extremism” campaign for 2012.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

2 thoughts on “Ryan’s one-legged stool”

  1. Mark,

    The basic fact about American political life today is that one of the two major parties is dominated by dangerous extremists. The basic fact about American journalistic life today is that reporters aren’t reporting that fact.

    True. But there is another fact. There are too many “thoughtful,” “serious,” and intelligent (no scare quotes) conservatives who either refuse to recognize what’s going on or regard it as an unimportant sideshow.

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