No, Paul Ryan isn't Ebenezer Scrooge. But give him time; he's young. And he shows such promise.
On Tuesday, Ryan, the Republican tax-hatchet-man from Wisconsin, unveiled a new spending blueprint. Got a catchy title too: "The Path to Prosperity." Its modest goal? To balance the budget in 10 years.
Wow, you say, that must be hard to do.
No, not really. Not if you're as smart — and coldhearted — as Ryan.
But look, I know you're busy. It's a Twitter world. So rather than make you slog through the pages and pages of Ryan's plan, I've boiled it down. It really has just two basic premises:
- Screw all the poor people.
- Help rich people get richer.
Welcome to Ryan's America. If you know your history, you might recognize it. It's the Roaring '20s, redux. Or "The Great Gatsby" meets "Wall Street." Because in Ryan's America, greed really is good.
How so? Well, in a nutshell, here's Ryan and the Republicans' vision, per my colleague, Lisa Mascaro:
"House Republicans will return to the core ideas from Ryan, the Budget Committee chairman, that have come to define the party's approach: Cut federal spending on Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that make up the federal safety net, while reducing top individual and corporate tax rates to 25%, which Republicans argue will spur economic growth."
Holy Ronald Reagan! The Gipper may be gone, but his trickle-down economic notions are alive and well.
As is his love of guns but not butter: Ryan's budget will target the poor but not the military; it proposes to cut food stamps but beef up the Pentagon's budget. (Geez, do Republicans all own stock in defense contractors?)
Anyway, if you're behind Door No. 2, in Ryan's world, you're gold — and his goal is to help you become more golden. After all, you're a "maker."
But, if you're behind Door No. 1 — also known as "the 8-ball" — things are, well, less promising.
You see, in the Republicans' world, the poor — affectionately known as "takers" or, to Mitt Romney, the 47% who rely on the government and so didn't have the good sense to vote for him because he was a nice guy even though no, he didn't have any use for them but still would've been happy and proud to be their president — should either get busy working or get busy dying.
Yes, Ryan and the Republicans have discovered that America's biggest problem is, well, the American people. Or rather, the poor, the old and the sick American people. Or the ones who just aren't working.
They are, quite frankly, costing us way too much money. They are why the budget isn't balanced. So if we can just quit spending so much money on them, voila!: problem solved. Plus we can buy more aircraft carriers and wage more wars! It's a win-win.
But, well, uh, doesn't this whole concept seem just a little bit, oh, what's the word: cruel?
I don't know. Maybe it's just me. But if the road to a balanced budget means building a new freeway to the poor house for many Americans; if it means a bigger military but more hungry kids; if it means chopping healthcare so Sheldon Adelson can keep more of his millions, so he can spend those millions to buy more politicians — well, that just doesn't seem like a road worth taking.
If that's America's Path to Prosperity, then stop the car, I want to get out.