Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Ryan touch

In the last blog I described Mitt Romney as a defective human being: someone who, in spite of his success at making his money and avoiding taxes, lacks understanding and sympathy for his fellows -- as evidenced by his obsessive reluctance to share his wealth with anyone except his proselytizing church, and his obvious contempt for just about everyone's intelligence.

His running mate Paul Ryan is cut from the same cloth. Ryan's so-called "budget" is so grossly anti-poor and anti-middle class that even the quite conservative Conference of Catholic Bishops declared it immoral. It is perhaps the single most unpopular document released in recent years, and only a tone-deaf party would have doubled down on it and nominated its author for Vice President. The arrogance and contempt exhibited by the Party for The Rich is, however, consistent with the attitudes of its candidates.

I am glad to report that Ryan and his budget are not fooling anyone this time around. The New Republic shows some statistics about how the man and his work have contributed to the tremendous decline in the popularity of the PTR's ticket; you can find the article HERE.

Of course Romney and Ryan do have a certain animal cunning: this time around they left off a lot of details about how the "budget" would close "loopholes" and somehow become "balanced." They don't want people to know exactly which popular and worthwhile programs would be cut in order to give tax breaks to the rich. That's why I refer to it as a "budget" not a budget. It's a phony and a mere shell. No one I've read, even Martin Feldstein, can seem to make it work without very big tax increases for all but the rich -- see Jared Bernstein's analysis on his blog.

Ryan is a person who's taken some economics courses in college -- he was a dual political science and economics major. As far as I can tell he never took a graduate course in either subject, but he is considered among Republicans and easily-impressed media folk to be some sort of expert on economics and finances. Ryan also read a lot of Ayn Rand -- a novelist well-known for her "me first" two-dimensional characters. Somehow Ryan, who calls himself a religious Catholic, missed out on the fact that Rand was a committed atheist. Ryan has been skewered several times by prominent economist and NY Times columnist Paul Krugman; two of his most devastating columns (with further links) can be found HERE and HERE (where Krugman so famously said about Ryan: "Mr. Ryan isn’t a serious man — he just plays one on TV.")

Ryan has never impressed even a single economist. Now it is clear, in spite of a lot of Republican hype and media money, that he hasn't impressed too many others either.

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