Sure, there’s much that is praiseworthy about a budget that would cut some $6 trillion over the next decade. But Paul Ryan’s plan—and the reaction to it by politicians and the media—amount to little more than Kabuki theater.
1. Ryan isn't serious. This is a man who voted for George W. Bush’s Medicare expansion and the 2008 Wall Street bailouts. He also recognizes that nothing like what he proposes would ever be passed in the Senate or signed by the White House. He thus is able to put forward a make-believe budget that will convince the Tea Party of the GOP’s dedication to “limited government.” Note, too, that Ryan doesn't suggest ending a single department or major entitlement; the cuts are “across the board.” This allows Ryan to appear as a “budget hawk” without threatening to push any voter off the gravy train.
2. Washington liberals are, most likely, fully aware of everything mentioned above; however, in order to score points, they’ll squeal that Ryan is a dangerous Social Darwinist who seeks to starve the poor and elderly.
3. The debate that has consequences—at least short-term consequences—is taking place between John Boehner and the Democrats, who are playing brinkmanship over whether to cut 30 or 60 billion from the budget. Yet even here, the battle is over figures that are utterly meaningless.
Robert Ian put things in perspective in his latest commentary,
Last week, the U.S. debt jumped $72 billion in one day. That same day, the U.S. House voted to cut spending by $6 billion.
The media spotlight was put on all the debate surrounding the $6 billion worth of cuts.
The $6 billion worth of cuts is 100 percent totally irrelevant against the backdrop of raising the debt $72 billion the same day.
Oh, and by the way, this fiscal year, Congress has already increased the debt by 676 billion. Just to put it in perspective, they would have to cut $6 billion every three weeks for the next six and a half years just to equal the 676 billion the debt has increased so far this year.
Debates like this are the equivalent of arguing about who’s going to pay the bar tab on the Titanic. The game is already over. The ship is already sinking.