Paul Ryan, Supervillain?

Rep. Paul Ryan will deliver the GOP response to President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight, perhaps from a secret underground lair. As far as I can tell, the new Democratic line on Ryan goes something like this: He’s the Republican mastermind who will destroy Social Security through a dastardly privatization scheme (bwa-ha-ha-ha! ahem.). He’s not ransoming the world for a mere one beeeeeeeeelion dollars; he’s slashing entitlements to the tune of hundreds of times that. Now that he’s been granted sole access to the GOP’s World-Shattering Budget Weapon, the rest of the Republicans in Congress are just his henchmen, and he will be free to implement his ultimate plan: the, er...Roadmap For America’s Future, which doesn’t sound scary, OK, but trust us, it is:

As the House cleared a key test vote on a resolution that would direct Mr. Ryan to cut most federal spending to 2008 levels, Democrats ripped into Mr. Ryan, who is chairman of the House Budget Committee and will celebrate his 41st birthday on Saturday. And they took direct aim at a long-term proposal he produced last year for balancing the federal budget called “A Roadmap for America’s Future.”

“We will be putting a focus on the fact that on spending matters, the Republicans are making judge, jury and executioner out of someone who, according to his Roadmap, wants to privatize Social Security,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat.

A spokesman for the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, went further, calling Mr. Ryan “the architect of a plan to end Social Security and Medicare” in a statement that also nodded to the House resolution, declaring, “Republicans are not only endorsing Representative Ryan’s extreme plan but giving him unprecedented power to carry it out.”

...“On these financial issues Paul Ryan has become the leader of the Republican Party,” Senator Bernard Sanders, independent of Vermont, said Monday.

And here’s The Wall Street Journal (with bonus Bernie Sanders quote!):

Now, Republicans not only have made Mr. Ryan chairman of the House Budget Committee, but on Tuesday the House is expected to vote to give him unprecedented powers to force spending cuts for the current fiscal year. That authority will allow Mr. Ryan to act unilaterally in setting an overall spending level for the rest of the year, a job usually handled by his full panel.

..."Up until this point, the Republican leadership has been vague about what federal programs they want to cut," said Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats. "On the other hand, Congressman Ryan has been very clear on this subject."

If the picture still isn’t clear enough, here’s Katrina Vanden Heuvel warning that despite his wonky, nice-guy secret identity, “Ryan is an Ayn Rand-quoting zealot” whose “rhetoric is a barely varnished echo of the ravings of Glenn Beck.”

Scary stuff! You can practically see him twirling his mustache. But what exactly is this master plan that Americans should be so fearful of? It’s a plan to take the federal budget—currently humming down the path to fiscal disaster—and hopefully make it (gasp!) financially sustainable. It’s a plan to ensure that Social Security, which started paying out more than it takes in last year and relies on an imaginary trust fund in order to keep its books, can actually afford its obligations. It’s a plan to cap Medicare spending, and keep the growth of health care obligations from wrecking the federal budget by giving individuals the power to pick their own insurance plans. It’s a plan that would make no changes whatsoever for anyone who is a decade away from the retirement age. It’s a plan to balance the budget, eventually. Not now. Not next year. Not a decade from now, or even two. But in 2063.

Despite the implication that most of the GOP is now following Ryan's lead, it’s also a plan that most Republican members of Congress have long been hesitant to endorse—and a plan that Ryan has explicitly said he will not impose this year. Those closest GOP leadership has come to giving the plan the nod is Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s non-commital statement this week that “the direction in which the roadmap goes is something we need—we need to embrace.” You see how they are all under his control, don’t you?

So what’s more telling: that Republicans have fretted so much about signing on to Ryan’s plan? Or that Democrats and their defenders feel so threatened by Ryan’s plan to reduce the deficit, leave entitlements exactly the same for a full decade, and balance the budget 52 years from now, when most of Washington’s current political class will be covering boring disputes between the angels over St. Peter’s gate-keeping policies? I'll let that be a cliffhanger. 

Meanwhile, back at the White House: What about our hero, President Obama? What will he do? How will he take down this existential threat? I hate spoilers as much as your next fanboy, but here’s a preview of the next issue before it hits stands: Although the president will call for reducing the federal government’s mammoth budget deficit, he will heroically not propose to cut Social Security. Super!

Read my Reason feature on Rep. Ryan here.

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  • ||

    Let the hyperbolic stupidity commence!

  • Alpo Shareholder||

    But it's going to do wonders for my portfolio!

  • Chuck Schumer||

    You going to wash your hands?

  • Paul Ryan||

    No. Because I'm evil.

  • Chuck Schumer||

    You going to wash your hands?

  • Paul Ryan||

    No. Because I'm evil.

  • Heard in Congress||

    Chuck Schumer: You going to wash your hands?

    Paul Ryan: No. Because I'm evil.

  • ||

    Is there anything that upChuck Shcumer will not open his giant flappy neck to whine about?

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Senator Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat.

    I've always thought of him more as a No. 2.

  • Judge and Jury||

    ^^^WINNNER^^^

  • ||

    Schumer is, very possibly, the biggest scumbag in Congress. Now that's saying something.

  • Warty||

    No, no, no, you crusted-over urethra. Waxman wins by a nose.

  • Sudden||

    Sadly that fuck Waxman is my "representative."

    I hate my life.

  • ||

    I call for an investigation into nose enhancing spray.

  • fish||

    The benefits of liberty and self reliance?

  • The DNC||

    They're returning to 2008 levels of spending? But that's when Bush was destroying our nation with record deficits! Well, that does it! The Republican Party has had its chance and failed, and it's time for them to go! We are the party of real fiscal responsibility!

  • ||

    It's time for the federal government to suffer and suffer mightily for its sins.

  • Violent Rhetoric-Deeming Czar||

    We're watching you, PL.

  • ||

    Sorry, I'm Scapegoat Czar and thus outrank you. The president plans to blame me for privatizing Social Security tonight: "Damn that Pro Libertate and his unlimited powers as Scapegoat Czar! Rest assured, I will work hard to replace him when his term comes up. Really!"

  • Warty||

    “We will be putting a focus on the fact that on spending matters, the Republicans are making judge, jury and executioner out of someone who, according to his Roadmap, wants to privatize Social Security

    Not only is he as as loathsome as a puppy rapist, but Chucky Schumer really has trouble with being coherent.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Maybe it's the gynecomastia.

  • JJ||

    Moobs?

  • H man||

    Yes but can the Roadmap For America’s Future match the awesome lethality of the Alan Parson's Project. I think not.

  • ||

    Alan Parson's Project. That's some kind of Moon-based laser system, right?

  • ||

    Alan Parson's Project. That's some kind of Moon-based laser system, right?

  • ||

    Okay, what the hell is wrong with the server today?

  • ||

    Just a minute ago my name and email was populated by your stuff. WTF?

  • Almanian||

    Just a minute ago, I couldn't post at all.

    Then I woke up in Oz, and everything was in color.

    WTF?

  • ||

    No, that's part of my plan for Dominion over the Internet®, but that wouldn't interfere with my comments.

    I had my name populated by words "The Other Side" upon refresh a little while ago. For a second, I thought the hated Anti-Libertarians were engaging in a DoS attack.

  • ||

    Obama's playing with the internet switch? That never gets old.

  • Zeb||

    Wrong Parsons.

  • ||

    There seems to be no limit to the faux outrage of the right. These miserable PoS's haven't balanced a budget in 50 years, and wouldn't know one if it walked up to them and pissed in their collective mouth. ES&D

  • The other side||

    Just move along, nothing to see here. No new solutions can ever be considered.

  • ||

    In this post, the faux outrage appears to be coming from the left.

  • Sudden||

    Nor have the dems managed to balance any budgets in the last 50 years. And it should be noted that if you count the budgets of the late 90's as balanced (I do not considering they were only balanced on the back of the SS surplus dollars), those would be directly attributed to the 'pubs since congress controls the purse strings.

  • Richard Head||

    um, except when those (faux) budget-balancing pubs got themselves a pub pres, all kinds of spending explosions happened. And they used those SS surpluses to cut income taxes. Those votes wouldn't buy themselves, ya know.

  • ||

    IOW, the two separate factions of Statist Party have been unable to balance a budget in 50 years, yet voters refuse to acknowledge a viable third option.

  • Almanian||

    I'm interested in this "World-Shattering Budget Weapon", and wonder if it works in the private sector as well?

    The annual budget setting mtg = ZAP! Done! I'm interested...

  • P B||

    Just imagine the hysteria if real cuts were proposed.

  • ||

    Schumer, you think you have problems now? Just wait till Warty and I win in 2012.

  • ||

    Democrats think that because demonizing Gingrich in 95 worked out nicely, they will do the same with Ryan. They have no other tricks up their sleeve. Arguing for continued spending at current levels is not popular. But of course, that is exactly what they want. Pick an evil person, keep ramming that message home. He hates old people. He hates black people. He hates hispanics. He hates unions. Ahhhh!

  • Mike M.||

    Yes, the liberals' borderline psychotic need to ruthlessly smear anyone who even remotely threatens their agenda is tiresome, but I don't think it's going to work this time.

    Ryan doesn't seem especially attention-hungry, and one the rare occasions when he talks to the press, he seems about as voluble and threatening as your average accountant.

  • SM||

    At least there's no hyperbole here..."humming down the path to fiscal disaster"...

    Have you guys been living in your bunkers since WWII? Any day now! Fiscal disaster! Here it comes!

  • No Name Guy||

    Yes, because running up trillion plus deficits for the last couple years and for the foreseeable future is being fiscally prudent.

    Dumbass.

  • SM||

    I've actually seen the budget analysis for the outyears...and i know where the deficit was relative to GDP after WWII...keep trying to scare people who know facts...doesn't work...

  • Jersey Patriot||

    There's an enormous difference between running a deficit at 1% GDP a year and running one at 10% of GDP a year. Dose makes the poison.

  • SM||

    There's a difference between running a 10% deficit for a year and running a 10% deficit for perpetuity...frequency of does makes the difference...again..i've actually looked at the budget...try again...

  • ||

    How can we run out of money when we own the printing press? We're going to be rolling in it forever (and when this dumbassery has run it's course I just need to slip an 'sh' in there and it's still true).

  • ||

    The saddest thing about the Ryan Roadmap is that it doesn't really balance the budget.

  • SM||

    Ding ding ding! We have a winner...because health care costs will continue to rise...so either you solve this, or you cut it altogether.

    Good luck with that.

    The budget would take all of 2 minutes to fix...but lord knows we can't have healthcare like the rest of the world...they're all "slaves" because they get to see a doctor when they're sick, no matter what...poor slaves...

  • Vermont Gun Owner||

    Assuming they're still sick a couple years after they get sick, and not dead. And that the government decides it is worth it to treat them.

  • Contrarian P||

    Why will health care costs continue to rise? Where is that written? If we actually got the government out of way, you might actually see the costs drop, as they have with services like Lasik that are available in a competitive market.

    By the way, you should actually talk to people from these countries you think are so great about their government run systems. You might find that the reality does not match your fantasy.

  • Mike M.||

    Why will health care costs continue to rise?

    For the same exact reasons that the cost of so many other things continues to rise: increased demand combined with general price inflation.

    And so-called "free" health care is just like anything else that people think is "free": people will abuse it and drive the demand through the roof, which raises the cost.

  • SM||

    You're kidding, right? I've actually gotten lasik...and then my wife a year later...and now my sister wants it...if you think the price has dropped...good luck with that...anyways...

    I agree there are things we could do to prevent costs from going up, but they involve government...as proven by every other nation in the world...

    I will talk to anyone from canada and the 50 million people with no insurance here...and see which system they prefer...

  • ||

    The budget would take all of 2 minutes to fix...but lord knows we can't have healthcare like the rest of the world

    Yes, Medicare is incredibly expensive compared to senior care in the rest of the world. The problem obviously isn't not being single-payer, though, since Medicare is.

  • SM||

    First off, its not medicare that's expensive, its all healthcare that's expensive in this country...its not limited to seniors...so there goes your entire thesis...but anyways...

    ...there are simple things we could do to solve this, like single payer for all...all analysis show that medical costs will not rise as dramatically if we do this...as has been proven worldwide...

    ...i sometimes wonder why in the united states people are against anything that has been proven by any other country...we have to be so goddamn independent we just can't accept that our economics, healthcare, etc, work like anyone else's...its just different here...all evidence be damned...

    ...sure they can fix their healthcare, their schools, their gun problems, their poverty...but nothing will work here...just...cause...obviously...

  • SM||

    You know, i'm thinking that maybe the reason Libertarianism isn't catching on is because its impossible to sell on its merits...and instead of doing what capitalism does best (market junk) you're trying to stick to your idealism...maybe you should look into getting a slogan instead to help with the marketing...

    ...and as a nice progressive, i'm always here to help...so i've been trying to think of some...

    You know apple's "there's an app for that"?

    I think you guys could go with "There's a voucher for that."

    Crappy school? "There's a voucher for that." You know, unless the good school is full, in which case your voucher isn't worth the paper its printed on.

    Want medicare to pay for your procedure? "There's a voucher for that." You know, unless it costs more than the voucher is worth and you have to pay for it anyways...

    Maybe this will sell all these hair-brained ideas better? Because if you keep telling people the truth, they're just not going to want to buy it...

  • No Name Guy||

    Yes, hair brained ideas. Like living within ones means. Like not imposing my will at the point of a gun on my fellow man (as you propose with your socialized medicine a couple posts above). Like, you know, being responsible. Yeah...hair brained.

    How about all you self identified progressives all go live together in one big happy commune and try it out. See how well it works when the productive elements of society aren't there to prop you up.

  • Mike M.||

    Hello, Shit Facktory.

  • Contrarian P||

    Actually according to surveys most Americans harbor essentially libertarian ideals. If you mean the Libertarian Party isn't catching on, you've got something, and you're right in that they haven't done a good job in being seen as a viable third party.

    Your argument here is garbage. Your idea seems to be that every American should go to a mediocre/poor performing school, because if we let parents choose the school they wanted, it might (gasp) run out of room! Of course the possibility that declining enrollment might force the poor schools to make a serious effort to improve, thus bringing up their level of performance, never enters your brain, does it? Instead, it's lousy schools for everyone, because that's the most fair!

    By the way, in case you just don't understand libertarianism (which judging by your posts, you don't), we generally think Medicare sucks. So no, we don't want Medicare to pay for our procedure. We'd rather be free to negotiate directly with our physicians and to shop around for the best prices and service, as we do already with food and housing, which are generally more immediate necessities than is health care.

  • SM||

    So....as i suspected...you realize its going to be impossible to sell on its merits...

    Medicare is one of the most popular programs in this country. I completely understand libertarianism - my point is, when other people do too, you're the minority. No one wants to fight with doctors over price while they're having a heart attack...or sick in general. When people see what libertarianism really is when implemented, they want no parts of it. They see through your silly ideas - prices will drop, cause, you know, competition - let's ignore monopolies! You are on your own, your kid is on their own, you get nothing to start - unless you win the birth lottery. No safety net.

    Like i said...maybe you should get a slogan...you've been trying to sell it on the "liberty" thing for so long...all you end up with is a few tea partiers who are going to abandon you as soon as you tell them what is going to happen to their SS and medicare...

    ...they are part of the something for nothing crowd...

    ...i realize most of you aren't, but i also know that most of you realize you have no chance of selling this ideology unless you pretend to be..."choice and competition will fix everything...libertopia..." and so on...

    ...good luck.

  • ||

    If the Dems plan to demonize Ryan, they have a tough row to how. He's young, good-looking, likable, telegenic. Pretty much the anti-Gingrich, as far as that goes.

    My plan for entitlement reform.

    (1) All transfer programs (Medicare, Social Security, the federal share of Medicaid, federal unemployment benefits, all of them) are funded solely and entirely by a payroll tax.

    (2) The current Medicare and SocSec payrol taxes are replaced with a new one, the Transfer Tax, which is deducted entirely from the employee's pay. Employers will be required to add to the employee's nominal pay their (old) employer share of these taxes. It's revenue neutral for everyone, so far, but its more transparent to the employee.

    (3) The level of the Transfer Tax is set so that it will fully fund the transfer payments for the coming year. If the cost of those programs goes up, so does the Transfer Tax. If the cost goes down, etc.

    Shortfalls are added on to the next year's Transfer Tax. Surpluses are subtracted.

    Now, we can have a real National Conversation about these transfer programs. Increases in them will come directly out of your paycheck, cuts to them will show up right back in your paycheck.

    Its all about transparency and accountability. Who can argue with that?

  • No Name Guy||

    Its funny to watch Schumer et al be so fucking juvenile.

    They're like spoiled rich bitches who've never worked a day in their lives and whine when daddy cuts back their monthly allowance to only $10,000. "Oh, how will I ever survive!" they wail in agony.

    Ditto those who speak of "devastating" cuts in Federal / State / Local spending. Yes, it will be devastating, to those who suck at the teat of the tax payer (you know, those 10 or 20% who carry the weight for the other 80 to 90% of slackers out there).

    Grow up. The money is gone. There is no more gravy train. Get used to living on what you EARN.

  • ||

    Regarding "devastating" cuts. Government spending is talked about as if the money will simply not exist if the government doesn't spend it.

  • David Shane||

    The Democrats are always accusing the GOP of wanting to eliminate Social Security or Medicare. Truth is, most of the GOP isn't nearly that gutsy. I wish I could actually vote for these fictional politicians the Democrats keep warning me about.

  • Progressive||

    Oh, my! This Ryan guy sounds almost like a (gasp) libertarian! A libertarian with power!

    My God. I bet he's part of the Kochtopus!

  • SIV||

    Ryan voted for TARP and the auto-bailouts.Michelle Bachmann will be providing the "libertarian" rebuttal to the SotU.

  • ||

    I'm only a fan of some of her shit, but I really would like to fuck her and Christine O'Donnell at the same time.

    For 54 years old, she don't look too bad. And O'Donnell is pretty attractive and loopy enough that it'd be an adventure.

  • Paul Ryan||

    Of course! Because I'm evil!

  • theunknown||

    Didn't they rip GOP for overspending for eight years but now that they want to cut spending they rip into them. Jeeze...WTF do they want.

  • ||

    Jeeze...WTF do they want.

    Power?

  • ||

    The Republicans have just changed targets. When they were overspending they were trying to harm the children with huge deficits they would have to pay. Now by proposing cuts they're trying to kill the seniors. Howard Dean said Republicans were evil some 5 years ago. Though he qualified it to note that there are rube Republicans too. Are you calling Howard Dean a liar?

  • Tony||

    Paul Ryan's budget plan is Robin Hood in reverse. Pretty it up with dumbass theories all you want, it's taking from the middle class and giving to the rich and the multinational corporations. God only knows what these idiots think that will accomplish.

  • ||

    Robin Hood in reverse? The government stealing from the people I guess. Isn't that what we have now?

  • Maroni||

    ...says the 0bama-worshiper whose god passed a "health care reform" forcing the middle class to buy insurance from [Drumroll, please] huge corporations run by rich people (especially the ones that donated heavily to him and his party).

    Ever notice how much leftards like Tony insist on projecting their own party's actual evil deeds onto Republicans' as-yet unimplemented plans?

  • JustinLancaster||

    They're not projecting it on Republicans. They're projecting it on Libertarians. We are the ultimate evil. HA HA HA *twirls*

  • JustinLancaster||

    Tony, when are you going to come over to our side? Honestly. You're thrown a bone from Democrats every once and awhile to keep your mouth shut. The only thing thats keeping you from turning to the darkside is the CORPURATIONZZZ!!!666!1!!!

  • Nike Dunk Shoes||

    thanks

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