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Tilting at Windmills

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February 13, 2011

DEFINE 'JEOPARDIZE'.... As defenses of massive spending cuts go, this one isn't exactly persuasive.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) defended proposed Republican budget cuts to popular domestic programs Sunday as necessary to maintaining fiscal health.

"No matter how popular sounding these programs are, they jeopardize our children's future," the House Budget Committee chairman said on "Fox News Sunday."

So, let me get this straight. In order to help protect the interests of our children, we have to cut Head Start, student loans, Title I grants (which help schools with kids who live in poverty), and nutritional aid for pregnant women and women with young children.

By making these cuts, Paul Ryan believes he's helping make children's futures brighter. Presumably, the House Budget Committee chairman also intends to teach kids about fire safety by handing them matches and lighter fluid, and encouraging them to play.

Indeed, as far as Ryan is concerned, we just can't afford Head Start, student loans, Title I grants, and nutritional aid for pregnant women and women with young children, but we can afford tax breaks for people who don't need them, costing far more money.

This is Republican thinking in a nutshell.

Steve Benen 10:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (32)

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The correct statement isn't define "jeopardize" the correct statement is define "our children." Everything you quote is a program that helps poor or middle class children. Not the children of Mr. Ryan, his colleagues in Congress or the rich people who are Mr. Rayn's friends. You are jeopardizing their children because they don't need these programs and any money that goes to them comes away from Mr. Ryan and his friends and associates. These programs affect the Republican redistributionist plan for the wealthy.

Posted by: zattarra on February 13, 2011 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

But if everything is the fault of repugs, why does obama and dems constantly capitulate to them, selling out and disenfranchising the folks that elected them?

Your "third way" politics is offensive and definitely not liberal or progressive.

Posted by: sammy adams on February 13, 2011 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

@zattarra: Spot on! @Steve: Run with this. Don't let them get away with it.

Posted by: cdrone on February 13, 2011 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

What our kids need is for millionaires not to pay any taxes.
The AIMES scholarship here in AZ has gone, in two years, from 100% tuition to 25% and then to 20%.
But if you are a millionaire, you don't need a scholarship.
So stop being lazy and get on that, kids -- be born to millionaires!!

Posted by: r on February 13, 2011 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Zattara makes the key point: it's not the ruling class that will suffer here. Indeed, politics is currently about making everything better for them and them alone. And because Republicanism is more or less about the racialization of class, this position commands close to majority support in this nation.

At some point, drowning government in a bathtub will take its toll on the Republican coalition. But for the moment, the looting on behalf of the wealthy is unopposed. I suspect even they know it's not good for the country. Indeed, I suspect they're even surprised that they can get away with as much as they do. It's a good time to be rich and right-wing so they enjoy it while it (inexplicably) lasts.

Posted by: walt on February 13, 2011 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Presumably, the House Budget Committee chairman also intends to teach kids about fire safety by handing them matches and lighter fluid, and encouraging them to play."

Really, Steve, you shouldn't be giving them any ideas. I could see Rand running with this.

Posted by: AnotherStrayCat on February 13, 2011 at 10:36 AM | PERMALINK

If the government doesn't spend any money, why should it collect taxes?

I think that's the Rand Paul philosophy in a nutshell.

Posted by: Steve on February 13, 2011 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Yeah, those lazy-ass little working-class children don't need to be sucking up valuable taxpayer dollars for their preschool. If Ryan and his buddies have their way, we'll do away with child labor laws. Let the little darlings learn to be entreprenurial by working in the mills and factories the way their great granfathers and grandmothers did. Oh wait! You say Ryan and his cronies have shipped all the jobs overseas, so their wouldn't be any factory jobs for our children, even if unemployment wasn't already over 9%??

Paul Ryan & Republicans-- working to re-introduce indentured servitude to America.

They really are building a bridge, but it's not to the 19th century. They're back to the 18th and counting....

Posted by: bluewave on February 13, 2011 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Steve, Steve, Steve. Even if they don't profess to "believe" in evolutionary theory, Ryan and fellow travelers implement its effects.

You see, by eliminating these programs, we ensure that the really smart, the really tough, resilient, lucky few poor kids, and of course, rich white kids, make it. That creates a better society. Why waste all those resources on "childhood nutrion"; "nutrition for mothers", early childhood "education". We shoudl stop spending that money, so "we" can allocate "our" resources in the way that "we" see fit. if someone is born poor, it is their lot to "pull themselves up" by their bootstraps. It is not for government to reallocate "our" resources. [Except for tax breaks for our masters; contracts to the military contractors, etc] Come one, Steve. How will any of THOSE people be able to really appreciate Ayn Rand and Frederich Hayek???

Posted by: bigutah on February 13, 2011 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

I know a Yogi Berraism when I see one!

What Yogi said:

It's become too popular, nobody goes there anymore!

What I heard Ryan say:

We must cut popular programs that make a difference for children today, because those programs won't work for the unborn children of tomorrow?

Query of the day, and years to come:

How do you get a powerful few, who've shown hollow souls and calloused hearts to us all for the past 20 years, to realize their cynical war on government has had a very deleterious effect upon our political culture?

A decent, dignified, and democratic people find ways to afford care to their fellow citizens by infusing collected levies back into the economy through contracts, research and development, farm subsidies and a host of other necessary policies of public/private capital formation, and there my Mr. Ryan rests the jobs you and your fellow Republicans ran on this past election!

Use government spending to grow the economy! It's a no brainer Ryan! Oh, and by the way,

Where are the Jobs? -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on February 13, 2011 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

Start with corporate subsidies and lobbyism first.q

Posted by: Kill Bill on February 13, 2011 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Ryan forgot to mention the brighter future for our children through child labor. Teach those kids the meaning of a dollar and start 'em early.

Posted by: CDW on February 13, 2011 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

By "our children" he means "future generations of Kochs." I thought we already knew that.

Posted by: Roddy McCorley on February 13, 2011 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Well, we knew already that Ryan was an Ayn Rand disciple, so none of this is at all surprising. Since the GOP claims, contrary to history, that "In God we trust' has always been the national motto, I'm just waiting for them to declare that Ayn Rand was one of the Founding Fathers.

Posted by: davidp on February 13, 2011 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

zattarra re-states the point I've made several times: what about our children's well-being NOW, those who aren't getting a decent education, those without a home or enough food, without medical or dental care, etc. I think when Republicans say they are concerned about their children and grandchildren, that's EXACTLY who they are talking about: their OWN kids and grandkids and those of their wealthy benefactors. Certainly not the rest of us.

Posted by: Hannah on February 13, 2011 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

Well, since they'll have 'Forced Labor' for pregnant women soon, they may as well start having that child continue the 'labor' process by being put to work as soon as humanly possible.

Once those little fingers get coordinated, they'll be able to get them into some amazingly small places.

I'm sure that all of those tax breaks for the rich will free up their entrepreunorial spirit and they can start sweat shops for 3 year olds.

At least until the Chinese decide they'll want to compete with us and our new-found child labor force.
And soon, even 5 year-olds will find their jobs outsourced.


Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 13, 2011 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

I'm more than a little embarrassed by this.

Not that the Congressman is proposing these cuts, or that his justfication borders on the idiotic, or even that we'll likely see at least some of them enacted. Given the man, his background, his professed politics, and the state of his political party, this all pretty predictable.

Nope. My embarrassment lies in the fact he represents my home state of Wisconsin. What is it about the Dairy State that produces guys like him and Joe McCarthy and Tommy Thompson and Scott Walker and Ed Gein?

Posted by: Josef K on February 13, 2011 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Nutshell" Love it.

Posted by: beep52 on February 13, 2011 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Like Josef K, I live in Wisconsin. The Republican sweep -- and the Republican belief that having 20% of eligible voters vote for you counts as a mandate -- is having very very nasty results here. The dictator-governor is slashing public employee benefits and pay at the same time he summarily reduces the bargaining power of unions. It's not as though we didn't see this coming, but it still is surprising to see how Republican arrogance and sense of entitlement plays out in all kinds of little ways: Just try to email Senator Ryan through his website.

Unless you are in his district (and don't visit his website without knowing your zip + four), he has no interest in hearing from you.

Posted by: miscellanneous on February 13, 2011 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Its marginally worse than miscellanneous may realize.

I'm on the "Campaign for Liberty" mailing list, mainly for the comedy value. Congressman Paul's latest appeal was the usual tripe, but started with "we haven't received your $10 donation yet". I'm paraphrasing but that was the gist of it.

I replied telling the Congressman "you haven't earned it or my loyalty or my time yet". The domain server spat it back saying the email wasn't configured to receive replies of any sort. I'd wager even his own constituents in his own district would get the same result. Rather a perfect summary of this guy's idea of public service: the public serves him, not the other way around.

In the interests of full disclosure, I actually live and work in NYC (a few blocks down from Ground Zero, in fact). I grew up and graduated university in Wisconsin, and still have a lot of family living there. Governor Walker's latest moves feel like a precursor to what my own state may be facing soon, and I'm not looking forward to the coming years.

Posted by: Josef K on February 13, 2011 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

RYAN:No matter how popular sounding these programs are, they jeopardize our children's future

No, what is jeopardizing our children’s future is the failed RightWing policies of massive tax cuts for the Rich & Corporate.

Posted by: Joe Friday on February 13, 2011 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

The GOPers are using our current economic predicament as an excuse to drive through their agenda which consists of tax breaks for billionaires, carte blanche for corporations and a lump of coal for working people.

Is anyone surprised?

Posted by: leo on February 13, 2011 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

"No matter how popular sounding these "TAX CUTS" are, they jeopardize our children's future," the House Budget Committee chairman said on "Fox News Sunday."

There. fixed it. Now, why didn't a host of democrats say that over and over when we were debating the Bush tax cuts?
And how about right now? Where are the Dems who will stand up and say, "No matter how popular sounding these "spending cuts" are, they jeopardize our children's future."

Dems, please. Where the hell are you? Stand up now.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on February 13, 2011 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

We need people to post more recipes for preparing rich people. Eat 'em, that's what I say.

Posted by: Steve Regan on February 13, 2011 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Where is the White House to say these "spending cuts" are jeopardizing our children's future? Instead they offer cuts just as draconian for the poor. Cutting heating assistance in half is unconscionable as it cutting WIC funds for poor single parent families. Add to this cutting Pell grants which less fortunate students need to compete. When do the rich get to tighten their belts in Obama's world? Hopefully, the cold and the hungry will remember when it counts.

Posted by: impartial on February 13, 2011 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Steve Regan,
Yes, I totally agree.
Now, I like my meat rare to medium rare, but no matter what the recipes say, always make the rich well done.
Those vermin are full of vermin,

Posted by: c u n d gulag on February 13, 2011 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, come on, Steve! Republicans are ensuring a better future for the only children who matter -- those of the wealthy!

Posted by: karen marie on February 13, 2011 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

"This is Republican thinking in a nutshell."

I think it can be boiled down still further, to a rock-hard kernel:

"I got mine, so fuck you. Praise Jesus."

Posted by: bluestatedon on February 13, 2011 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

Essentially, I agree with the first commenter -- zattara, @10;15: it's not "jeopardize" that we need define, it's "our children". Obviously, the children Ryan is talking about are not the same ones that Benen is talking about.

But it occurs to me that, in the long run, the slashes executed on the poor and the middle class will affect the rich too. Because... who's gonna teach those kids in the fancy private schools? Not the offspring of the super-rich, because the majority of them are destined for better things. And not the offspring of the poor or the middle class either, because they won't be able to afford enough education to qualify as teachers. Then, who?

And then there's college. True, the rich may not need Pell grants and they may not have to worry about going into debt for a quarter mil or so it takes to push a kid through college. But that quarter mil or so is predicated on a broader base of students, a proportion of whom are supported by the Pell grants. If those students are taken out of equation, the same college will have to be supported by a smaller number of students, making the cost per student that much higher. Quarter mil may not be a problem but, how about half a mil?

It seems that Ryan's blather is not just heartless but myopic as well, even if we agree to define "our children" the same way he is doing.

Posted by: exlibra on February 13, 2011 at 5:20 PM | PERMALINK

Another good place to make this point:
A key logical flaw in the very idea of sudden, big cuts in government spending: even if you could prove e.g. that it would be a "good idea" for federal spending to be 80% of what it is now, that *still* doesn't mean it would be good to cut by 20% right now. Why? Because that fails to dynamically score the rate of change. If spending had been that low for years, other institutions would take over somewhat (aside from how good a job, would at least be already in the game), people would have adjusted to that status quo, etc. But if you cut right now, that's like braking from 100 mph to 80 in a few second. The acceleration is stressful becasue of people put out of work, many of whom would already have another job if the lower level had been in equilibrium, services suddenly cut and people have to scramble who otherwise would have plenty of time to find alternatives, etc. This point *has to be made* and it does no good just to talk about "how much should we spend on X" as if rates of change didn't matter!

"Fine minds make fine distinctions."

Posted by: neil b on February 13, 2011 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

They no longer have "analogies" questions on the SAT (I believe they still do on the GRE), but I'd guess most readers / posters here will remember them?
Here's one that I think nicely represents this situation, and demonstrates that it's perfectly consistent with classic American conservatard "thinking:"

children:America :: village:VietNam

That is, we have to destroy them in order to save them.

Posted by: smartalek on February 13, 2011 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

By making these cuts, Paul Ryan believes he's helping make children's futures brighter.

All children are not created equal. You only have to ask which children's futures ryan and the rest of the republican scum are protecting and the depth of their indecency becomes obvious. Protecting the rich, well-off, advantaged, and powerful at the expense of the disadvantaged and downtrodden - that is what republican scum are all about.

Posted by: pluege on February 13, 2011 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK



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