One of the most interesting aspects of the fiscal 2013 budget debate is how the GOP is extolling the virtues of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) but, while taking credit for it passing the House is only talking about his budget plan in the most general terms.
In fact, as Congress gets back to work this week after two weeks back in the district for Easter and Passover, watch closely as Republicans talk about how "courageous" Ryan is for taking the lead on reducing the deficit while it stays as far away as possible from any discussion of the specifics spending reductions and tax cuts.
The reality, however, is just the opposite: When it comes to the budget Ryan is far more of a coward than anything else.
It wasn't at all courageous for Ryan to propose tax cuts and deep spending reductions that only House Republicans would approve. That's the federal budget equivalent of throwing raw meet to piranhas and then saying that you deserve credit for feeding them what they want to eat.
CG&G alum Gordon Adams had a good piece published in Time magazine's Battleland Blog ("Where military intelligence is not a contradiction in terms") about the phony debate on military spending House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) tried to create with his budget resolution.
As Gordon points out, according to Ryan, falling Pentagon spending by any measure -- real, nominal, imaginary, whatever -- is always a bad thing. Never mind what the generals who run the military say and pay no mind to the strategy behind the numbers or the threat for which the U.S. is preparing. Apparently, we're all going to hell and the country is doomed if DOD has less to spend.
I've always been amused at the ability of congressional Republicans to take what the generals and admirals say as gospel when it confirms what the GOP wants to do but to do what Ryan did -- dismiss it out of hand -- when those same military leaders say something different than what they want to have said.
As I explain at the beginning of my weekly Roll Call column, I resisted the incredibly strong urge to talk about Etch A Sketch federal budgeting and instead discussed one of the most ridiculous, lazy, and absurd (Get the picture?) reasons supporters of the budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) say its valuable: It moves the U.S. back to the historical averages for both spending and revenues.
Honestly, saying that historical averages are meaningful in any way for what should be done now or in the future is just nonsense.
Ryan's Historical Averages Are Irrelevant to Budget Debate
By Stan Collender
Roll Call Contributing Writer
March 27, 2012, Midnight
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) said on Fox yesterday that he would consider running for vice president this year if the Republican nominee asked him to be his running mate.
Asking Ryan about the vice presidency this year was the wrong question. What Ryan should have been asked was whether everything he's doing now...especially the politically very difficult budget resolution he put together that the House will vote on this week...is part of a master plan to run for president in 2016.
Here's my thinking:
1. There are lots of questions about why Ryan is pushing other Republicans to vote for a budget that could be very damaging for the GOP beyond its base. Jonathan Bernstein and others are talking about it as if he's asking his GOP colleagues to take "the Ryan plunge."