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Debt Reduction Isn't Paul Ryan's Goal

Posted by MacZad
Jun 04 2012

"Those who don't like government aren't very good at it." I once read this but don't know its author.

The need for a somewhat smaller, more efficient a less debt ridden federal government is clear to me. However the question here is: Do we want an emaciated federal government?

The current deficit reduction push by GOP Congressman Paul Ryan is a hypocritical effort that has different real objectives. They are the objectives of Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Reform: "Our goal is to shrink government to the size where we can drown it in a bathtub."

Hypocritical Ryan - such a late comer to fiscal discipline. During the Bush administration Ryan had no qualms about the spending on a grand scale that led to Obama inheriting a country in something of a fiscal mess.    

Here from the Washington Monthly - Political Animal Blog is a quote that elaborates on Ryan's real objectives better than I can:

"The important thing to grasp here is that for all the talk about Paul Ryan being the “adult in the room” who understands the “tough choices” needed to confront the “debt crisis,” everything we know about him suggests that fiscal probity is at best a third-order motive for his proposals to decimate the social safety net. More important to him is that the spending cuts he supports are necessary to finance still more regressive tax cuts, and furthermore, are positive social measures in and of themselves. Like the pirate Ragnar Danneskjold, a character in Ryan’s favorite book Atlas Shrugged, who sinks aid ships as a moral gesture aimed at the “looting” of the successful, Ryan would object to safety net programs even if the federal budget was in surplus:
“It is not enough to say that President Obama’s taxes are too big or the health-care plan doesn’t work for this or that policy reason,” Ryan said in 2009. “It is the morality of what is occurring right now, and how it offends the morality of individuals working toward their own free will to produce, to achieve, to succeed, that is under attack, and it is that what I think Ayn Rand would be commenting on.” Ryan’s philosophical opposition to a government that forces the “makers” to subsidize the “takers”—terms he still employs—is foundational; the policy details are secondary."

So Ryan is a disciple of Ayn Rand's rugged individualism and free-market unbridled capitalism, as were Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan, et al - an economic philosophy which gave us the recent financial crisis. The crisis has given Greenspan second thoughts, but not Ryan whose only qualm about Rand is that he has recently discovered that she was an atheist so he is now trying to distance himself from her, but clearly not from her philosophy. BTW: Rand herself, late in life, participated in Social Security and Medicare those government safety-net programs that she so hated.

The bottom line for me is that I value many federal government activities (we could be much less interventionalist in world affairs), and I must speak out against those who want an emaciated government that would gut environmental regulations, sell the national parks, enact more regressive taxes etc., and thus give us even more of a plutocracy than we now have. We can't vote against Norquist, but we can vote against Ryan and other Ayn Rand disciples.

Categories: Opposing Plutocracy and Corporatocracy, Seeking Better Governance, Seeking Truth - Debunking Dogma