GOP: The Free Lunch and a Pony Party

At the Los Angeles Times, Doyle McManus writes about the Paul Ryan budget proposal and states what ought to be obvious:

[Ryan] has made it clear that if you’re serious about cutting the federal deficit, you have to make a choice: low taxes or guaranteed Medicare coverage. You can’t have both.

That may come as unwelcome news to millions of Republican voters, including “tea party” adherents who helped Ryan’s GOP win its majority in the House. Polls have shown that most tea party folks are just like everyone else: They want lower taxes and they want to keep their benefits.

McManus assumes that the Ryan plan really would shrink the deficit. I suppose it might, in the same way that I could save myself lots of work time by simply not working. But the CBO analysis shows that the Ryan proposal actually would increase the debt. The only result the Ryan plan is bound to achieve is a significant erosion in the quality of life for all but the wealthiest Americans.

I want Republicans to be called the “free lunch and a pony” party, because they have persuaded so many Americans they can have as much government as they need without paying for it.

But if they want Medicare, free powerchairs and all, they have to pay for it. If they want air travel to be as safe as possible, they have to pay for FTA regulations and inspections. If they want national parks, disease and epidemic control, and bridges that don’t collapse while you’re driving on them, they have to pay for these things. This should not be that difficult to understand.

McManus also makes a good point when he writes that Ryan’s plan for privatizing Medicare amounts to “Obamacare for the old.” Like the much-derided “Obamacare,” Ryan’s idea amounts to government assistance for buying private insurance. What, no free market solution?

Meanwhile, President Obama — who can be rightly criticized for staying out of the budget fight for too long — is going to present his own proposal that includes tax increases on the wealthy. We’ll see.

See also: “Conservative Economists Criticize ‘Off-the-Deep-End’ Republican Budget