Paul Ryan’s “New” Austerity Budget


Naked Capitalism has the article Paul Ryan’s “New” Austerity Budget by Jeffery Sommers a associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Not all economic crises are created equally. Some are mostly supply-side (not enough resources, e.g., oil), such as the 1970s. Meanwhile, others are primarily demand-side (insufficient wages to purchase what can be made), such as in the Great Depression of the 1930s and now. Ryan’s budget proposal tenders supply-side solutions (austerity) to deal with a mostly demand-side crisis

I don’t know how the economics could be explained any more clearly.  I don’t know how more simply the inflation of the 70s could be differentiated from the situation we face now.  How much more obvious could it be made that the Republican solutions are the wrong ones for what is happening now?

If facts mattered in this debate, the argument would be settled.

Sommers ends his article by showing the tricks Ryan is playing to make you believe his budget is something that it is not.

Worse yet is Ryan’s intellectual dishonesty. Ryan asserts his budget cuts are in fact small and don’t represent austerity at all. This slight of hand trick results from arguing the budget is only modestly cut, but this fails to mention that his cuts to health and research are massive. Thus, overall spending cuts are only smaller because of his massive proposed increase to military spending. Moreover, Ryan’s ‘orange-alert’ warnings about Medicare drowning in debt have to be re-thought in light of rapidly declining growth of healthcare costs. Indeed, the past five years have shown the slowest increase in health costs since records were kept.

Maybe it is silly to keep harping on this stuff.  For the idealogically committed facts don’t matter.  This is probably why the current crop of Republicans (unlike some of their better predecessors) have a disdain and a dislike for education and science.  Facts are just too bothersome when you already know the answers.

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