The House Republican budget initiative, prepared by Representative Paul Ryan, would slash spending and end Medicare and Medicaid as we know them — and it justifies all this as essential to confront soaring levels of government debt. Mr. Ryan is courageous to tackle entitlements so boldly, and he has a point: we do have a serious long-term debt problem, and Democrats haven’t had the guts to deal with it seriously.At this point, given how thoroughly the issue of Ryan's incompetent and absurdly unrealistic "budget" has been dissected within Kristof's own publication, I am left wondering if the man can read. (Perhaps he dictates his columns?) If he were paying even the slightest bit of attention to the Affordable Care Act, Kristof would be aware that it's the first serious measure to address the growth in healthcare spending since... well, perhaps ever. What does Ryan propose to do? Why, of course, to repeal that act and replace it with wishful thinking. How serious. Wow... and Kristof continues,
In other words, the Republican position is that America faces such a desperate debt crisis that we must throw millions under the bus — yet the result is more debt than if we do nothing.That's what passes for "serious" in Kristof's world? I would ask, "Seriously?", but I'm not sure that he understands what the word means.
Answer me this: What price has Ryan paid for his supposed "courage"? Is he less of a darling with beltway pundits who are, as usual, eager to describe anything that involves the slashing of entitlement benefits as "serious" - in Kristof's case even as he concedes that the result would be to balloon the deficit? Does he have any chance of losing his next election campaign? Of facing a primary challenger? Is he at risk of losing his position in the House? Is he getting fewer invitations to right-wing cocktail parties? No invitations to dinner from Evan Bayh? If you take even a passing glance at the situation, you can see that not only has Ryan offered up one of the least serious budget proposals in the history of our nation, by doing so he has advanced himself personally and politically.
You know what would be courageous for somebody like Ryan? Telling the truth. Standing up to his own party. Proposing a budget that admits the long-term goal of ending Medicare and Medicaid and leaving the poor and elderly largely uninsured and unable to afford insurance. Or, if he prefers to continue to work against the interest of balancing the budget, flat-out admitting that his budget is designed to slash taxes for the wealthy, slash government benefits for everybody else, and will result in a massive increase in the deficit. I'll reiterate: The word for somebody like Ryan is "coward". Kristof is happy to slap that label on all of Ryan's peers - Kristof truly believes that every other Republican is a coward for pushing Ryan and his plan forward as representative of their vision of the future, but that Ryan's being "courageous" for his role as an eager mouthpiece?