You remember Paris Hilton, don’t you? For you younger Solano County residents, she was the first Kim Kardashian, a person who was famous, simply for being famous.
When Ms. Hilton first appeared on my TV screen in a “reality” show, I just assumed that she was some new actress I had never heard of. After watching one of her movies, I realized that she was not. No, Paris Hilton, and now, Kim Kardashian, are famous, not because they have accomplished anything, but simply because they are famous, period.
Today, I’d like to nominate the celebrated and influential GOP Rep. Paul Ryan for membership in that elite club.
Paul Ryan has been in Congress for 14 years and only two of his bills have passed: In July 2000, he changed the name on a post office building, the congressional equivalent of a golfing “gimme,” and in December 2008, he changed how arrows (as in bows and arrows) were taxed. It makes me wonder if that post office was named after bow-hunting Republican spokesman and savant, Ted Nugent.
It was déjà vu all over again this week, when math whiz Paul Ryan presented his Republican budget plan to Congress. This year’s budget plan is remarkably similar to last year’s, only this time it’s better. Now, by cutting taxes for the wealthy down to 25 percent, Ryan says he will balance the federal budget by 2023, not 2038. That’s truly remarkable. In a word, unbelievable. I think this thing really deserves a “New and Improved” sticker slapped on it.
The Ryan Plan, like all Republican budgets, eliminates federal deficits through massive tax cuts for the wealthy. But mathematical analysts with expertise in both addition and subtraction have pointed out a potentially fatal flaw: How can you balance the federal budget with more tax cuts?
Here’s where the Ryan budgets traditionally get a bit fuzzy. Obviously there have to be lethal cuts to federal programs and colossal tax hikes to middle class workers to balance the budget, but with this year’s plan, like the last, nobody knows the particulars.
Last fall, we voters were promised that the finer details of the Ryan Budget Plan would emerge after the election. The Romney-Ryan ticket lost the election while here at home, the Obama-Biden ticket walked away with more than 63 percent of the vote. Well, it is now five months after the election and Ryan’s details, both fine and coarse, are still missing in action.
Paul Ryan glossed-over this year’s hollow plan in his March 12 op-ed in The Wall Street Journal by simply saying, “Yet the most important question isn’t how we balance the budget.” Really? His op-ed, titled, “The GOP Plan to Balance the Budget by 2023” had a subtitle indicating the goal can be reached, with no new taxes, while increasing spending 3.4 percent a year instead of the current 5 percent.
What a hoot.
Tell me would you let me get away with that kind of snake oil hokum? Oh, and President Obama has not increased federal spending by 5 percent annually, and not even by 3.4 percent, but less than 1 percent over four years. Could such a faulty premise somehow alter Ryan’s calculations?
The title for my Daily Republic column is The Big Picture. I always try to make world and national events relevant to us regular folks who live here in Fairfield. So here’s your bottom line: Don’t worry; nothing will change. There are more representatives in Congress who possess basic math skills than those on the conservative right who do not. I think it’s safe to say that most middle schoolers in our Fairfield-Suisun schools possess the math skills necessary to clearly see the flaws in Ryan’s budget plan.
Consequently, Paul Ryan’s Magical Mystery Tour de Force Budget has absolutely no chance of ever getting through Congress, and Paul Ryan, like trailblazers Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian before him, will continue to remain famous and influential, while accomplishing absolutely nothing.
Mike Kirchubel grew up in Fairfield and is the author of “Vile Acts of Evil – Banking in America.” He can be reached at email@example.com.