By Joe Conason

Paul Ryan’s Plan For American Decline

March 21, 2012 10:19 am Category: Memo Pad, National News 3 Comments A+ / A-
Paul Ryan’s Plan For American Decline

If the foreign adversaries and competitors of the United States imagined a future that would fufill their most ambitious objectives, it might begin with a government crippled by the House Republican leadership’s “Ryan budget” released on Tuesday. Followed to its absurd conclusion, this document would lead America toward a withered state, approaching the point where Marxian dreams and Randian dogma converge.

Or at least that’s the view suggested by the sober analysts at the Congressional Budget Office, whose report on the Ryan budget shows that nearly every department of government today, from law enforcement and border patrols to scientific research, food safety, environmental protection, federal highways, national parks, weather monitoring, education, and all the other essential functions of a great country. There would not be much left for Medicare and Medicaid, either. Social Security would continue in some form, and defense – of course – would increase.

But in a nation stripped of science and infrastructure, with a people demoralized by insecurity, unemployment and inequity, exactly what would be left to defend?

Certainly Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues will deny that their new budget – like their old budget – would cripple the federal government and render the United States unrecognizable over the coming decades, if implemented. Yet the calculations released by the CBO, a nonpartisan arm of the Congress, permit no other conclusion.

Prepared at the request of Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who chairs the House Budget Committee, the CBO report indicates that by 2050, federal spsnding on all functions – except Social Security, health programs, and interest payments – would account for no more than 3.75 percent of gross domestic product or GDP. On defense alone, however, we have never spent less than 3 percent of GDP during the past 70 years or so; and during those same years, we have spent no less than 8 percent of GDP on all those functions, including defense. Which means that should Pentagon spending increase drastically, as both Ryan and likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney insist it should, there will be nothing left for anything else.

“The rest of government would literally have to disappear,” as the Center on Budget Policy and Priorities explains dryly. Is it necessary to recite the details, even in broad outline? No more basic research and no more support for technological progress in defense, communications, medicine, manufacturing, energy, or education. No more health care, secondary education or vocational training for veterans. No more reconstruction of decaying roads, bridges, airports, waterways, tunnels, seaports, or any other infrastructure that states cannot afford to rebuild on their own. No more national parks, which presumably will be sold off to oil companies, resort developers, and other commercial predators. No more oversight of the purity of food and drugs, whether domestic or imported. No further enforcement of the environmental statutes that have restored clean air and water in so many places across the country. No more Federal Bureau of Investigation, no more Immigration and Customs Enforcement, no more Department of Homeland Security, no more federal justice system at all. And very little health care, which would be cut by as much as 75 percent, leaving tens of millions without insurance coverage.

Is all this starting to sound slightly weird? That is certainly one way to describe the Ryan budget, which evokes the utopian fantasies of both Karl Marx, who predicted the “withering away of the state” after communism, and Ayn Rand, whose hatred of modern government inspired anarchist (or “minarchist”) fantasies among many of her admirers. What is truly bizarre is to watch a major political party produce such a document not once but twice – and then to hear this absurd exercise hailed by venerable Washington commentators as “bold” and “patriotic.”

Paul Ryan’s Plan For American Decline Reviewed by on . If the foreign adversaries and competitors of the United States imagined a future that would fufill their most ambitious objectives, it might begin with a gover If the foreign adversaries and competitors of the United States imagined a future that would fufill their most ambitious objectives, it might begin with a gover Rating:

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  • Christian Martin

    Most of the government has done such a piss poor job that nearly all of it could disappear or be fired {preferably out of a cannon} and it would likely be an improvement.

    • rustacus21

      9 times out of 10, when someone complains about govt ‘not working’, they’re specifically meaning someone they don’t ‘like’ that its working for. And since we’re divided along lines of everything from ideology to race to the environment, the govt can do no ‘right’ as far as anyone at all is concerned. But letting ‘hooligans’, ‘predators’ & ‘criminals’ into the legislative loop is the fault of ‘VOTERS!!!’ No one checks those boxes but citizens. Conservatives for their candidates. Liberals for theirs. But being honest, Conservatives are doing so much of the above, resulting in so much pain, suffering & needless deaths, that it’s easy to lump them all together & say it’s all of them, when it’s NOT! Liberal/Progressives have a legacy. It’s directly tied to the Constitution. They are OBLIGATED to obey the tenants, directives & imperatives, commanding them to duty. The budget battle above is but 1 ex. Why should Americans of lesser means shoulder the burden of sacrifice alone? Why are cuts all that is on Conservatives’ agenda’s? Why are Americans NOT up in arms about the LOST 2-5 trillion dollars in TAX REVENUE that represents tax cuts, now going on 11 consecutive years? These questions tie directly to Paul Ryan & his confederates, but he/they won’t even touch these questions for fear he/they will, for once in his legislative careers, have to answer w/honesty… that the lost revenue results in lost jobs which = even MORE lost tax revenue. Government is a business, after all & if it has no revenue (taxes), it can’t function very well as a business, now can it?

      • Christian Martin

        It’s amusing that there are still sheeple out there naive and gullible enough to actually believe there are any major differences between the 2 parties. A good start would be to have at least 4 or 5 parties and make states rights prevail over most federal laws and mandates. If you wanted to live in a small-minded,redneck infested,bible thumping,ultra conservative state you could move to one and stay there if you liked it. If you preferred an ultra liberal,tree hugging,unicorn dust,I’ll be your mommy type state there would be one somewhere in the union where you could try that…..or anything in between these two extremes. With an emphases on states rights and numerous parties to choose from we would all have real choices on how we wanted to live based upon where we chose to live. And it would quickly become obvious what parties and laws were more successful and which were not. Most of this childish little shit-throwing blame game that we routinely play would also disappear. Now lets get back to firing all of our government out of that cannon shall we.

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