The disconnect between priorities and policies

THE DISCONNECT BETWEEN PRIORITIES AND POLICIES…. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) talked a bit yesterday about his vision of government, and the kind of “core mission” investments he’d like to see federal officials make.

“Personally, I think you’ve got to get government back to focus on its core mission, its core ideas. You know, basic scientific research. In education, we have less of a role money-wise, one K-12, but more of a role post-secondary. You know, get job training going so we can have that can kind of system that we should focus on for life-long learning. You know, focus on the basics, defense. Basic research, those things.”

At a certain level, that sounds fairly reasonable, especially for someone as far to the right as Ryan is. As a lib, I obviously think the proper role of government’s role is broader than the vision he sketched out, but it’s heartening, at least a little, that Ryan wants government to invest in scientific research, colleges, and job training.

Of course, the problem comes when one realizes that Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republicans in Congress just voted for a budget plan that slashed funding for scientific research, colleges, and job training.

Is he not aware of that?

The issue of job-training in the midst of high unemployment is of particular interest. Remember the adage, “Give a man a fish, he eats for a day; teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime?” It’s popular with conservatives as a way to explain opposition to “welfare.”

But the entire approach looks a little silly when Republicans want to slash funding for job training programs in half. Voters in areas hard hit by the recession can’t help but notice the contradiction.