We Haven’t Run The Numbers

Ed Schultz is gobsmacked by Paul Ryan’s inattention to detail

Picking up where we left off yesterday, documenting GOP Wonder Boy’s votes to explode the deficit while preaching fiscal austerity (and hypocritically requesting stimulus funds and then lying about  it, to boot), Rockin’ Ryan sat down for his first solo interview with, guess who, Fux News.

Britt Hume asked him how Romney ‘s plan, which Romney has called “close to identical” with Ryan’s,  is going deliver on his/their promise to balance the budget. Both want to increase defense spending, grant the super rich another big tax break, and slash corporate tax rates. Ryan’s reply:

“…we haven’t run the numbers on that specific plan.”

That’s like saying: We’re going to do a complete remodel of your house, but we won’t tell you how much its going to cost until after we’re done. Sign here…

Ryan’s original two budget plans accepted that there would be $700 billion in Medicare savings and built it into the baseline i.e. allocated it to reducing the budget deficit. Now, not so much.

What was deemed savings under Obamacare was accomplished by eliminating ripoff payments to private insurance providers under Medicare Advantage (aka creeping privatization), and by cracking down on waste, fraud, and abuse, formerly Rethug “values” but nothing more now than convenient political talking points. As Ryan has proven, he and his ilk love big government when it benefits them, but go all Randian on it when it serves the economically disadvantaged. Obama was entirely correct to call such an anti-social justice approach to government, “thinly veiled social Darwinism.”

Going back to the well that won them control of the House in 2010, the Rethugs are recasting those savings as cuts in existing programs, notwithstanding that no actual benefits have been or will be curtailed. While technically these cost savings can be considered cuts in the overall projections for the rise of Medicare costs in the future , said “cuts” fall on providers and not on recipients– a huge difference that the Rethugs are desperately trying to obfuscate.

In fact, Obamacare has begun phasing out the Medicare Part D donut hole that requires seniors to pay some of their prescription drug costs out of pocket. In 2010, the hole began closing with a $250 rebate. (Ideally for the Obama campaign, another check will be issued before November.)

As Ryan’s hero Ronald Reagan once observed:  Facts are stubborn things. And herein lies the fundamental conflict in Willard’s choice of Wonky Wonder Boy as his running mate. Thus far, Romney has run his campaign as devoid of actual policy details as possible. (He has adopted a similar strategy regarding his taxes and his time at Bain Capital.)

Ryan, on the other hand, revels in budgetary detail. Except, of course,  when it comes to specifying exactly which tax loopholes he would eliminate to achieve the Holy Grail of a balanced budget. For instance, he’s smart enough to know that middle class home owners won’t take kindly to having one of their most valuable wealth building tax write offs eliminated—interest paid on their mortgages. As for the top 2%, they can pay cash, so little concern there.

After all, the uber-rich is Romney-Ryan ticket’s real and only consistency. Everybody else can take a seat in the back of the bus. Or under it, for all they care.

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