Reagan Budget Director: Ryan Budget "Empty Sermon ... Devoid of Credible Math"

David Stockman, budget director for the Reagan administration, has a "must read" op-ed piece in the August 13 New York Times.

Some choice quotes:

Mr. Ryan professes to be a defense hawk, though the true conservatives of modern times — Calvin Coolidge, Herbert C. Hoover, Robert A. Taft, Dwight D. Eisenhower, even Gerald R. Ford — would have had no use for the neoconconservative imperialism that the G.O.P. cobbled from policy salons run by Irving Kristol’s ex-Trotskyites three decades ago. These doctrines now saddle our bankrupt nation with a roughly $775 billion “defense” budget in a world where we have no advanced industrial state enemies and have been fired (appropriately) as the global policeman.

The greatest regulatory problem ... is that the giant Wall Street banks remain dangerous quasi-wards of the state and are inexorably prone to speculative abuse of taxpayer-insured deposits and the Fed’s cheap money.... These banks are too big to exist.... They need to be broken up by regulatory decree. Instead, the Romney-Ryan ticket attacks the pointless Dodd-Frank regulatory overhaul, when what’s needed is a restoration of Glass-Steagall, the Depression-era legislation that separated commercial and investment banking.

The Ryan Plan boils down to a fetish for cutting the top marginal income-tax rate for “job creators” — i.e. the superwealthy — to 25 percent and paying for it with an as-yet-undisclosed plan to broaden the tax base. Of the $1 trillion in so-called tax expenditures that the plan would attack, the vast majority would come from slashing popular tax breaks for employer-provided health insurance, mortgage interest, 401(k) accounts, state and local taxes, charitable giving and the like, not to mention low rates on capital gains and dividends.

Read Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan



Economist and columnist Dean Baker writes in the August 14 Huffington Post:

... Representative Ryan doesn't have any principled objections to government interferences in the market, even when this interference leads to enormous inefficiency, as is the case with too-big-to-fail banks or patent protection for prescription drugs.

Representative Ryan only seems to object to government programs and policies that benefit lower- and middle-income people. In this sense he seems to have perfectly captured the philosophy of the modern Republican Party: "a dollar in the pocket of a middle class person is a dollar that could belong to a rich person."

Read Representative Ryan's Far-Right Agenda: The Media Can't Take the Truth.