Monday, August 13, 2012

WTF-- Paul Ryan?!

Paul Ryan sucks.  (pinched to a large extent from Erin Gloria Ryan's excellent piece on Jezebel, with some changes by moi.)

1. He doesn't believe in global warming. 

"Unilateral economic restraint in the name of fighting global warming has been a tough sell in our communities, where much of the state is buried under snow... [E]-mails from leading climatologists make clear efforts to use statistical tricks to distort their findings and intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change." Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate, argued in a 2009 op-ed.

2. Personhood.

Ryan loves personhood. He loves the idea that life begins before pregnancy begins, when the sperm touches the egg. Ryan loves personhood so much that he cosponsored legislation that would have defined "person" as any human tissue from the moment of conception, which would have completely outlawed abortion and probably outlawed most forms of birth control and IVF (in vitro fertilization).  Which, as you know, is my best and maybe only chance at getting pregnant.  So fuck you, Ryan.

3. Replace Medicare with coupons.

He plans to trim $4.3 trillion from the deficit in part by slashing Medicare as we know it, replacing the government program with vouchers that seniors can use to buy their own insurance from private insurers, a move the Congressional Budget Office predicted would raise the cost of health care for senior citizens by about $6,000 apiece.

4.Ryan Budget Plan’s $4.3 Trillion in Program Cuts, Offset by $4.2 Trillion in Tax Cuts, Yield Just $155 Billion in Deficit Reduction

Upon closer inspection, Chairman Ryan’s widely reported claim that his plan produces $1.6 trillion in deficit reduction proves illusory. In fact, the numbers in his plan show that his budget produces just $155 billion in real deficit reduction over ten years (see graph). That means that, despite proposing $4.3 trillion in what would be the most severe and wrenching budget cuts in U.S. history — two-thirds of which would come from programs for people of low or moderate incomes — the plan barely reduces deficits at all over the next decade. That’s because his budget cuts are offset by $4.2 trillion in tax cuts that would go disproportionately to those at the top. In essence, at least for the next decade, this plan is far less a blueprint for addressing deficits and far more a proposal to redistribute large amounts of resources from those at the bottom to those at the top.

What’s the difference between what Chairman Ryan claims and what his plan really does? The chairman claims that his plan generates $5.8 trillion in spending cuts over ten years, relative to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) baseline. But that number falls by $1.5 trillion — to $4.3 trillion — once one corrects for two things:
  • $1.3 trillion in “savings” from the official CBO baseline that comes merely from the fact that the Ryan plan reflects the costs of current policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CBO baseline contains a large anomaly related to the costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Following the rules governing budget baselines, CBO’s baseline mechanically assumes that current levels of U.S. operations — and costs — in Iraq and Afghanistan will continue forever rather than phasing down in accordance with current policy. The CBO baseline figures are thus much higher than the costs of current policy. Ryan himself said earlier this year on National Public Radio — in attacking President Obama’s 2012 budget proposal for not doing enough to reduce deficits — that simply showing the costs of current policy in Iraq and Afghanistan produces “phantom savings” from an anomalous baseline, not real deficit reduction. [Interview on February 14, 2011, with Melissa Block on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.”]
  • $200 billion in lower interest savings due to an error by Chairman Ryan’s staff in calculating interest savings.

5. He believes that fertilized embryos are people, but he doesn't seem to believe that women are people.

Remember the "Let Women Die" act that passed the House last fall? The law that would have allowed hospitals to refuse, on moral grounds, to provide abortions to women even if they were at risk of imminent death? Ryan was a big fan of that. And, in a pro-life essay Ryan penned, he doesn't mention the word "mother" or "woman" once.

6. The whole Ayn Rand thing

Ryan has credited Rand, who believes that selfishness is a virtue and that altruism is a sin, with inspiring him to enter politics. But before Ryan builds the underwater Bioshock-esque world of his dreams, let's hope someone informs him that Rand was a virulent atheist and a big fan of abortion.
Here are Rand's own words on the subject:
An embryo has no rights. Rights do not pertain to a potential, only to an actual being. A child cannot acquire any rights until it is born. The living take precedence over the not-yet-living (or the unborn).
Abortion is a moral right-which should be left to the sole discretion of the woman involved; morally, nothing other than her wish in the matter is to be considered. Who can conceivably have the right to dictate to her what disposition she is to make of the functions of her own body?

7. The time he had people arrested and kicked out of his town hall meeting for asking questions he didn't like.

Ryan is a man after Romney's negative press-avoiding heart. In fact, Ryan's fear of confrontation is nearly pathological. Back in 2011, he had a woman kicked out of one of his "meet the plebes" meetings because she dared ask the following question:
Our debt is out of control because of the tax cuts you're giving…Our unemployment in 2003 was 6.2% before the tax cuts went through. Now our unemployment rate is 9.1%. What are you doing to create jobs, Congressman?
To her point, Ryan believes that the key to creating jobs is to reduce the size of the government and the national debt. But to the question answer's point, an awful lot of people work for the government, and a promise to reduce the size of government is akin to promising to cut a bunch of jobs. Awkward.

8. Ryan thinks that college is a thing only rich people should be doing. Like sex.

Under Ryan's plan, a million needy students would be knocked off of Pell Grants over the course of 10 years. It's probably best that we don't educate The Poors. That way, they never know exactly to what extent they're getting fucked.

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