Stockman on Ryan

He’s not buying any.

David Stockman is to budgetary sleight-of-hand designed to harm the poor for the benefit of the rich what J.S. Bach is to the fugue: no one ever has, or ever will, do it better. So Stockman’s analysis of “Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan” is worth pondering:

Mr. Ryan’s plan is devoid of credible math or hard policy choices. And it couldn’t pass even if Republicans were to take the presidency and both houses of Congress.

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:

8 thoughts on “Stockman on Ryan”

    1. I think it’s all true. Put me in the camp that thinks that a significant chunk of the GOP caucus would flinch if they were asked to vote for the Ryan plan under conditions when passing it would mean that it actually becomes law. Don’t get me wrong; I think they’d pass some truly savage, awful cuts, but I don’t think they would pass it as is.

      1. Didn’t they panic rather visibly when the Democrats abstained and left them holding the bag for the RSC budget plan back in 2011? I agree that actually passing the Ryan plan and implementing it would be far beyond the courage of some Republicans – but would they be able to hold off the teabagger crazies?

      2. J. Michael Neal your comment reminds me of this stunning paragraph from a NYT article that was essential reading a month ago…

        Burton and his colleagues spent the early months of 2012 trying out the pitch that Romney was the most far-right presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater. It fell flat. The public did not view Romney as an extremist. For example, when Priorities informed a focus group that Romney supported the Ryan budget plan — and thus championed “ending Medicare as we know it” — while also advocating tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the respondents simply refused to believe any politician would do such a thing.

        The reason why you and others think the Republicans will flinch is because you are decent people who can’t imagine the behavior of monsters.
        My suggestion is to take what comes out of the Republicans’s mouths at face value. They are telling us exactly what they plan to do.
        They are not playing 1 dimensional chess. Or go. Or even checkers. They are playing a game known as “Sorry”.

        If it helps consider this: We are talking about a party whose leadership okayed the waterboarding of someone over 150 times(!).
        Is that rational? Is it even sane? What did they expect to learn on the 101st torture that they did not learn on the 100th?

        We are talking about a party that voted in the House to abolish Obamacare 33 times in two years (!).
        Is that rational? Is that even sane?

        One more? Okay:
        This is a party that voted in North Carolina to stop science from having a say about sea level rise.
        Is that rational? Is it even sane?

        Take your enemy at face value.
        Anything less is unpardonable….

        1. We’re also talking about a party that, when confronted with putting together a farm bill, opted to try to increase agriculture subsidies. We’re talking about a party that, opted to loudly campaign *against* cuts to Medicare when they have to talk to the voters.

          In other words, we’re talking about a party that conspicuously abandoned its stated convictions when it looked dangerous to stand by them. They’ll gut Medicaid and other discretionary social programs, all right, but I have a hard time seeing this cavalcade of cowards standing up for ending Medicare when they really have the power to do so. It’ll look like the stampede away from Social Security privatization back in 2005.

          1. I hope you’re right, but I’m not so sure. Is it not more cruel and cowardly to cut benefits for food stamps than it would be to, say, means test Social Security? But if they’ll vote now to do one and not the other, that just means they know they can politically get away with being mean to poor people, who in their minds are all people of color anyway so who cares? And yes, I really think that is a large part of their motivation. Though increasingly, they also hate poor people just for being poor.

            So, with Medicare, they’ll just phase it in so that the old people who vote now won’t be scared, and they won’t mind the disaster to come in the future, because yes, they really are that crazy. They showed it when they voted to take food away from hungry people. They have no shame, and this pollyanna talk is deluded. We should take them at their word.

          2. J. Michael…

            It is a good point: In other words, we’re talking about a party that conspicuously abandoned its stated convictions when it looked dangerous to stand by them.

            But consider Ryan. The guy never has to worry about real work the rest of his life. The Kochs have spun a comfy hammock to catch him should he fall. He’ll always have a guaranteed sinecure in some Koch-funded right-wing think tank. He will never worry for the future. Are the Kochs wealthy enough to do this for the all the republicans who would face voter outrage for destroying the social safety net? With financial ease. They got billions. Call it: Post hoc political bribery….

            But the Kochs won’t have to do sinecures for all of them. Only the ones who waver…
            Most Republicans are hyper ideological zealots now.
            For example check out the Zasloff post immediately beneath this one:


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