Yesterday, the NBC corporate message machine presented one of their top-paid corporate shills, Rep. Paul Ryan, on one of their top Sunday shows, Meet the Press which was last useful and relevant several decades ago, to pound home their carefully crafted, thoroughly misleading message pushing-- what else?-- Austerity. Ryan was waving the specter of Greece in front of the viewers, some of whom don't have the good sense to ignore him as a propaganda agent for the one percent and an admitted follower of the childish nonsense of Greed and Selfishness guru Ayn Rand.
On of Ryan's primary claims is that the payroll tax reduction for ordinary working families doesn't do any good. He and his ilk-- i.e., the Republican Party and their plutocratic financiers-- would much prefer more massive tax breaks for the already woefully undertaxed multimillionaires. The pompous little ignoramus, propped up by the entire right-wing think tank industry whined that he doesn't "think this works to grow our economy” and compared the payroll tax cut to “sugar-high economics.” He may be Budget Chairman-- a decision made by John Boehner-- but that doesn't mean he knows squat about budgets. As Nobel economist Paul Krugman explained, Ryan is nothing but a tawdry flimflam man who "don't know much about economics. Professionals at the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office found that extending the payroll tax cut is more cost effective to promote economic growth and employment than the tax breaks for millionaires that Ryan and his zombie colleagues continue to insist on.
In January 2010, the CBO wrote that reducing payroll taxes for firms was among the policies “that would have the largest effect on output and employment per dollar on budgetary cost in 2010 and 2011. By contrast, policies that would temporarily increase the after-tax income of people with relatively high income, such as an across-the-board reduction in income taxes […] would have a smaller effects because such tax cuts would probably not affect the recipients’ spending significantly.”
And last November they tried reminding Ryan and his single-minded cronies that they weren't kidding. “Policies that would have the largest effects on output and employment per dollar of budgetary cost in 2012 and 2013 are ones that would reduce the marginal cost to businesses of adding employees or that would be targeted toward people who would be most likely to spend the additional income. Such policies include reducing employers’ payroll taxes (especially if limited to firms that increase their payroll), increasing aid to the unemployed, and providing additional refundable tax credits in 2012 for lower- and middle-income households.” That's what Ryan's been calling “sugar-high economics" for the sake of his benefactors from GE-TV.
DWT readers probably know by now that we're pitching in, in the nationwide effort to replace Paul Ryan with Kenosha County Supervisor Rob Zerban, someone whose vision for America is as diametrically opposed to Ryan's dark, dystopian views as possible. I spoke with him right after GE inflicted Ryan on us. He had a lot to say:
Paul Ryan's performance on Meet the Press today underscores how desperate Republicans are to shift the conversation away from the recovering economy. Instead of talking about proactive steps and investments we can make to accelerate growth, Ryan wants to implement an austerity plan that would be detrimental to our society and our economy.
Ryan's argument is that the President's budget is not serious enough. He prefers his own paln. Ryan is continuing to advocate for the radical ideas he first wrote in the "Path to Prosperity" 2011 House GOP Budget. He insists we need huge cuts to the social safety net, including making Medicaid a block grant program and phasing out Medicare. This approach will reverse our current trajectory of recovery.
His attack on the President's budget is a mischaracterization of what the President is proposing. President Obama has proposed a budget that makes hard choices, and hard cuts, and reduces the debt responsibly. I believe, as our President does, that we must end the tax loopholes that allow the wealthiest Americans, like Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney, to pay a lower tax rate than everyone else. I also support using the funds we are saving from our drawing down of forces in Iraq and Afghanistan to reduce our deficit and continue to grow our economy. This is a much more realistic plan for our economic future as opposed to just cutting programs for students, seniors, and the middle class.
Not only was Paul Ryan wrong today about the economy, he was wrong on women's rights. Ryan's attempt to divide Americans by attacking affordable contraception to women is not going to work.
Denying contraception, by funding or by provision, is not a "religious freedom" issue. No one is denying a religious person's right to believe anything they want. What is wrong is when someone uses the government to force their morality upon others. That is what is happenging. Paul Ryan's attempt to defund and regulate women's personal choices is a great example of how far-right Republicans are alienating women.
Paul Ryan has once again shown how rigidly ideological his approach is to our nation's problems. This will contiunue to make him a darling to conservatives like Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh, but he will continue to lose the support of the American people.
But we don't have to be in an election battle with Paul Ryan to know his phony medicine show is toxic for America. Norman Solomon comes from a district that doesn't spawn Republicans that anyone takes seriously. So the business power structure up in northern California tries holding onto power by pushing conservative Democrats who would be Republicans if they lived in other parts of the country. If Norman wins the primary, he'll, in effect, be the next congressman from Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino. And he's as aware as Rob Zerban of the dangers inherent in Paul Ryan's approach. Yesterday after he watched Ryan on Meet the Press he shook his head sadly that there are still people being hoodwinked by this prepackaged crap:
As a high-ranking cleric for the political faith of austerity, Ryan used his appearance on Meet the Press to sprinkle some holy water and whine about the supposed failure of federal stimulus efforts. In fact, tax-cutting dogmas-- combined with huge military spending, loopholes for the wealthy and Wall Street impunity-- have thrown the U.S. economy into a very deep ditch. We know that the Republican leadership is hellbent on deepening that ditch for most people while large corporations reap massive gains from enormous human pain. What remains to be seen-- and, more to the point, determined by our actions-- is how effectively we can fight for a present-day Green New Deal, providing sufficient public investment to overcome the vast obstacles to social equity and economic fairness. As an independent progressive Democrat, I'm running for Congress to occupy a seat for the 99 percent. It's not enough to pooh-pooh the likes of Paul Ryan. We need to create viable, long-term alternatives for the future.
Norman Solomon and Rob Zerban are on the same page-- a page I hope you'll visit right now and contribute what you can. Today's my birthday and I've been getting a slew of beautiful e-cards and well-wishes on Facebook. Thank you, everyone. Thank you, thank you. And if you'd like to make me smile on my birthday, give what you can to the Blue America candidates-- even if it's just a dollar. Grassroots campaigns aren't funded by $5,000 checks; they're funded by small contributions from people who believe in the future of the country. Again, here's the place: Blue America.