Friday, April 08, 2011


It's not just Krugman, although he's posted a pretty thorough debunking of Ryan's "budget" "proposal"--even putting a version into today's dead tree edition. This is not a real proposal; Ryan admits in his interview with Jay Newton-Small that this budget cannot pass.

But let's be fair: There's no way this plan passes the Senate.

No, but let's say Conrad passes a budget...

But you'd be miles apart...

Yeah, yeah. You've got a good read on the situation.

So what this "voodoo economics, with an extra dose of fantasy, and a large helping of mean-spiritedness" [Krugman] is really intended to be is an iteration of Bush's SS privatization plan--meant to have Mark Halperin et al force the Democrats to concede the principle that Medicare must be gutted, and then shift the discussion to one over the numerical details: the means test, the vouchers' value, and the allowable rate of increase of the vouchers. And do keep in mind that there is much sympathy among the Democratic elite for this approach, of moving seniors onto the insurance exchanges. Oh, and to permanently take taxing the top income decile off the table.

But, remember Speaker Pelosi. Atrios reminds us that her response to W's SS privatization gambit was simple.

"Never. Is that good for you?"

As E.D. Kain points out, same here. There's no need to respond to this claptrap.

A lot of people are saying things like “The ball is in Obama’s court” and what-have-you. The problem is that the ball has never really left the Republican court. Until Republicans agree to tax increases, why should Democrats agree to spending cuts? Why should Democrats take Republicans seriously at all if Republicans are completely unwilling to repeal the Bush tax cuts?

No, the ball is still in the GOP’s court. When they come up with a serious proposal – when they realize that politics is the art of compromise – then we can say the ball is in Obama and the Democrats’ court. Until then, well, the math doesn’t work.