Open Thread & News Round-Up: Budgetfuck

As I mentioned below, you can read Republican Representative and Chair of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan's "The GOP Path to Prosperity," which lays out the GOP's garbage austerity plan, here. Other stuff I've been reading today...

New York TimesShutdown Looms as Talks on Stopgap Budget Fail:
Congress and the White House veered toward a fiscal collision on Tuesday as the Obama administration rejected a short-term House Republican demand to cut $12 billion now in exchange for keeping the government open for one more week. At the same time, the Republicans' budget chairman set forth a longer-range blueprint defining a new era of profoundly smaller government and steep tax cuts for corporations and individuals.

"We are changing the dynamic here," said Representative Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, as Republicans made clear they had no intention of backing down on more cuts in current year spending and would frame the fight over next year's budget in similar terms. Their long-term proposal also included changes in mandatory entitlement programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which they derided as "autopilot" programs.

...At a news conference Tuesday on Capitol Hill, [Representative Paul D. Ryan], surrounded by his fellow Republicans from the budget committee, alluded to the power of the large freshman class and its Tea Party contingent who have helped to propel the fiscal fight forward. "The new people did not come here for a political career," he said. "They came here for a cause. This isn't a budget. This a cause."
Yes, and that cause is called Social Darwinism.

Matt Yglesias makes a good point here: "[Medicaid] is mostly a program for the elderly and the disabled. It's the main way we finance long-term care in this country. If you don't directly benefit from it, you very likely have a parent or grandparent who does and whose financial needs will simply tend to fall on you if the program is cut." Tax cuts don't trickle down, but financial responsibility when the government fucks off sure do.

Josh Marshall, on the Democratic response to this nightmare: "Why on earth did the Democrat speaking for the Democrats just now on Hardball say it was 'courageous' but 'politically stupid' for Paul Ryan to put up a plan to abolish Medicare and other federal social programs? That's the best he can do? 'Courageous'? That's simply amazing. If ordinary people who look forward to being able to rely on Medicare once they retire can't even get advocates who don't think it's 'courageous' to try to abolish Medicare, why are Democrats even in this game?"

Meanwhile, there are reports that some Republicans are (wisely) concerned about overreach. Shutting down the government is not popular with voters, and making deep cuts to popular programs that serve elderly voters, on whose votes conservatives depend, isn't exactly a great reelection strategy. For more on that angle, see Digby.

In other news: Budget Deal Would Give Pentagon Extra Funds in Exchange for Social Program Cuts. Of course it would.

This whole thing is a nightmare. And it really underscores that there is not a functional political party in the US who advocates for the poor and working classes anymore. We're really in the shit. And I don't see that getting rectified anytime soon, because we can't buy our way back in.

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