I’ve already explained how I think Paul Ryan’s budget does not contain the cuts that we need. So I am not defending it here. But the people who hate Ryan’s budget show themselves to be superstitious fools—though perhaps “madmen” would be more accurate than “fools.”
In Politico Magazine, Jared Berenstein writes,
On Tuesday, Ryan came out with his latest vision. To me, it’s a highly pessimistic vision, one with a bottom line that basically says America isn’t up to meeting the challenges it faces. His budget hacks deeply at poverty reduction, gives up on health care coverage or investing in children’s learning. It perversely asks for sacrifices only from those least able to bear it while providing large cuts in tax rates for those with ample resources.
Small side note: the best thing that could happen for the poor is the end of so-called “poverty reduction” programs. Berenstein is the one with the pessimistic vision that insists people are helpless cattle that can only be fed and sheltered by others. I don’t believe that. “Poverty reduction” is prison, pure and simple. Agree with me or not, but I am not the pessimist here. And on this point, neither is Ryan.
Berenstein, however, is an even deeper pessimist. He accuses Ryan of taking away the “safety net” (another word for the snare that he also calls “poverty reduction”) but he never explains how it is supposed to be funded. If he knows anything then he is aware that the government could take everything owned by “those with ample resources” and the budget still would not balance.
Berenstein assumes that a life, a world, of ever deepening government debt is normal, necessary, and sustainable. The State can afford all things because it never needs to spend only what it has. $17 trillion is already in the rear view mirror.
How much safety net do they have in Greece right now? How much will they have next year? Are the poorest better off when the austerity becomes involuntary?
The constant creed in the background of every word Berenstein writes is “I believe in Infinite Debt the Almighty the maker of education, health, welfare, and financial regulation.”
Paul Ryan isn’t engaged in a discussion with people like Berenstein because you can’t have adult conversations with children who believe in magic or with asylum inmates who insist their delusions are real. Say it with me, “We cannot increase our debts forever.”
If Berenstein were someone who wanted to deal with reality, he would propose different cuts. But he has none to make. He just pretends the land of ever-increasing debt is a road to infinity and beyond.
But it is a road to a cliff that can’t be seen until it is too late.