On Meet The Press today, David Brooks was still trying to bail out his young idol, Paul Ryan, who hurt the GOP brand very badly by trying to dismantle our safety net programs with his budget. Brooks digs deep in bizarroland by saying that even though he doesn't agree with everything Ryan proposed, he's still a hero for starting the debate and confronting the question. Sure, one way to try and put out a fire is to throw gasoline on it too.
MR. GREGORY: And there is a lack of compromise and a great desire for compromise.
David Brooks, Ron Brownstein in the National Journal writes in his column this week something that I really think sets up this discussion very well. He said, "Leading thinkers in both parties say that events of the past two weeks have locked in place a major part of the 2012 general-election contest.
"The debate will revolve around a big question more often dodged than confronted: How much government are Americans willing to pay for? Before the conversation is over, the answer could produce uncomfortable moments for President Obama and Republicans alike, not to mention voters themselves."
MR. DAVID BROOKS: Yeah. Well, that's what I liked about the Ryan plan. It actually confronts you with that question. Listen, the average senior citizen is--pays about $150,000 into Medicare, pays in $150,000. They get out of it, the system, about $450,000. That $300,000, a large chunk of it is being paid for by their grandkids. And so Ryan said, "Is that moral? Is that what you really--what we want to leave a legacy?" So what he did was extremely politically foolhardy, but--and I don't agree with every part of his plan--but he asked people to face the question, the, the implications of their choices. And so I, I think everybody's going to have to do that in many different ways, but I thought what he did was a step in the right direction.
Brooks is seriously demented if Ryan ever thought in "moral' terms and the idea that he's brave is nonsense. This is what Conservatives really believe and have been fighting for all these years. Ryan said this about the vote:
Ryan, R-Wis., the plan's architect, said of the House action today: "This is our defining moment."
Almost the entire Republican HOUSE voted for Ryan's plan which backs up their long held beliefs. Is that a step in the right direction?
The Beltway media is still congratulating Ryan for putting out a junk science budget proposal that would destroy Medicare and Medicaid. Fareed Zakaria did it earlier today. I actually like his show and many things he says, but not on this. What's so brave about Ryan's plan? Please tell me? Why not congratulate the CPC like Krugman did for releasing their budget proposal that calls for tax hikes and cuts to the Military Industrial Complex? As usual Dana Milbank loves to punch liberals because his beltway friends will cheer, but maybe he should read The Economist. which isn't a left leaning publication on the CPC budget. They actually praised it because it more seriously balanced the budget without adding 6 trillion to the debt as Ryan's did and finds it much more courageous.
Mr Ryan's plan adds (by its own claims) $6 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, but promises to balance the budget by sometime in the 2030s by cutting programmes for the poor and the elderly. The Progressive Caucus's plan would (by its own claims) balance the budget by 2021 by cutting defence spending and raising taxes, mainly on rich people. Mr Ryan has been fulsomely praised for his courage. The Progressive Caucus has not.
I'm not really sure what "courage" is supposed to mean here, but this seems precisely backwards. For 30 years, certainly since Walter Mondale got creamed by Ronald Reagan, the most dangerous thing a politician can do has been to call for tax hikes. Politicians who call for higher taxes are punished, which is why they don't do it. I'm curious to see what adjectives people would apply to the Progressive Congressional Caucus's budget proposal. But it's hard for me to imagine the media calling a proposal to raise taxes "courageous" and "honest". And my sense is that the disparate treatment here is a structural bias rooted in class.
Of course we won't hear about this Economist column on the Sunday Talk Shows because of a structural bias rooted in pundits.