The wrong person to ‘educate’ House Republicans

THE WRONG PERSON TO ‘EDUCATE’ HOUSE REPUBLICANS…. Congressional Republicans have been quite vocal in their criticism of President Obama’s budget plan — they wanted him to go after entitlements before they did, to take the political heat off the GOP. This, in their estimation, constitutes “leadership.”

Since the White House doesn’t quite see it that way, House Republican leaders have, in effect, replied, “Fine. We’ll step up and produce our own plan to cut entitlements.” Rank-and-file GOP lawmakers aren’t convinced this is wise — it’s called the “third rail” for a reason — but apparently House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has been tasked with setting their minds at ease.

Fearing they may be walking into a political buzz saw by proposing cuts to Medicare and Social Security, House Republican leaders are working to build support among rank-and-file members and among constituents before releasing the House GOP budget next month. House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has spent years giving chalk talks on entitlements, is schooling his colleagues with a PowerPoint presentation, “The Choice of Two Futures,” designed to educate them about the problem before he proposes specific solutions.

Noting this, Jamelle Bouie explained that Ryan trashed the president the other day for opposing the fiscal commission’s conclusions, which Ryan himself also opposed. “Between this, and his willingness to mislead the public,” Bouie added, “I’m continually stunned by the Beltway’s willingness to take him seriously.”

I realize it’s a lost cause, but I thought I’d echo Bouie’s frustrations. Ryan is a media darling — sometimes, the coverage is so effusive, it’s embarrassing — despite bringing a radical, misleading, arithmetic-challenged proposal to the table.

When the Budget Committee chairman isn’t relying on strikingly dishonest data, he’s presenting proposals so extreme, it’s hard to imagine why he isn’t just laughed out of the room.

Jamison Foser recently explained, “Ryan produced a budget proposal that would take about 50 years to balance the budget — except that it wouldn’t do so even then, as Ryan told CBO to base its assessment of the budget on the assumption that tax revenues would remain the same, even though the budget included costly tax cuts.”

Paul Ryan’s budget blueprint is a right-wing fantasy — slashing taxes on the rich while raising taxes for everyone else. The plan calls for privatizing Social Security and gutting Medicare, and yet, it fails miserably in its intended goal — cutting the deficit. As Paul Krugman recently explained, the Ryan plan “is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America’s fiscal future.”

But Ryan is nevertheless responsible for “schooling” his GOP colleagues, “educating them” about entitlements. No good can come of this.