If you keep your eye on Paul Ryan, you’ll notice that he’s running as fast as he can from the budget reconciliation process.
The Party that has worn the ill-earned title of budget hawks, the one that has been mocking Senate Democrats for failing to pass a budget (even though Democrats did pass a budget resolution), is now claiming that they don’t want to have to go through the budget process as it’s normally done. Now that Senate Democrats passed a budget, the Republican House doesn’t want to come out to play.
Leading this charge is your failed VP candidate and Ayn Rand monetary policy “wonk” Paul Ryan (R-WI). If you recall, Ryan has been lecturing Democrats from on high via his many, many TV appearances on how they should be following procedure. But now, Ryan no likey procedure anymore. He doesn’t want to convene a conference committee.
Instead, Ryan wants to work things out in a “pre-conference”. None of that ugly, on the record fighting for him, thank you very much. The House Budget Committee Chairman doesn’t want to form a committee to hash things out, he wants a “framework” in place first (think: safety net for a House that already humiliated the Speaker by being unwilling to compromise even a teeny, tiny bit). He wasn’t able to articulate exactly what that framework would look like.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) sent the Senate budget on down to House Speaker John Boehner. The next step would be to convene a panel to begin reconciling the two budgets (the House’s Ryan budget with the Senate’s budget), but on Tuesday, Representative Ryan balked. He claimed he wanted a “framework” in place first, also known as dragging your feet kicking and screaming lest you land your party in deeper “doo-doo”.
Reid raged,”Chairman Ryan said ‘we want to have a pre-conference.’ Well you can’t have it both ways. Does he want regular order? Obviously not! So the prior talk was all happy talk because they are not able to fulfill the commitment that they made to do regular order.”
The reason House Republicans don’t want to do things as they are normally done is because they can’t afford to be on the record with their extremist positions. They absolutely will not raise taxes, and hence they can’t compromise with the Senate budget. They can’t agree to the very things they said they wanted, like Chained CPI, because in order to get it, they have to raise revenue. If they go on the record rejecting Chained CPI, they look like fools, since it was only last December that they promised America that if only they had gotten Chained CPI, they could come to an agreement with Democrats.
The House that tea built can’t afford to operate in the public eye, with votes that can be tied to them specifically. It’s much better for them to simply not allow things to come up for a vote, to pass things like Ryan’s budget that they know won’t ever pass the Senate, and to keep blustering in public that fiscal responsibilities to our grandkids are forcing them to tighten Americans’ belts (but never their’s or the top 2%’s).
As we head into this next clustermuck, it’s important to remember that Ryan’s 2013 budget is as hazy as his 2012 budget. He can’t really afford to go into reconciliation when the specifics are not yet ironed out. As Forbes pointed out, Ryan’s budget would require that the tax code be rewritten. Furthermore, he still hasn’t indicated how he would pay for the “tax reforms” in his budget, and even the fiscally conservative Forbes is not impressed. Republicans claim that their budget balances, but just as it came out during the 2012 campaign that Ryan had never actually done the math, well… He doesn’t explain how he’s going to pay for things, again.
Speaker Boehner lost no opportunity to smear Democrats, claiming that Ryan’s budget balances while the Senate’s does not. But he also claimed that he would be moving forward to conference. It’s hard to see how he can do that.
Ryan’s budget is a shell game (e.g., using the taxes from ObamaCare to make it balance while claiming he is going to repeal ObamaCare) disguised by sound bites topped off with cherries like reducing the corporate rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. This is what you might expect from someone who literally, by his own admission, bases his monetary policy on a fictional character’s speech in a novel written for adolescent teenagers. In 2005, Paul Ryan explained that re relies upon Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” as inspiration for his views on monetary policy:
I always go back to, you know, Francisco d’Anconia’s speech, at Bill Taggart’s wedding, on money when I think about monetary policy. Then I go to the 64-page John Galt speech, you know, on the radio at the end, and go back to a lot of other things that she did, to try and make sure that I can check my premises.
In case it’s been a while since you a) read the book or b) heard a Republican secretly taped, Francisco d’Anconia’s ‘s speech involved a rant about moochers and looters (aka, “statists”), “It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money.”
Imagine if the Senate based their budget on a character’s speech from Twilight. Vampires are no less fictional than John Galt or Francisco Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian d’Anconia. And using a novel to justify your alleged belief in not stimulating the economy while at the same time claiming that tax breaks for the rich and corporations are needed in order to stimulate the economy is inherently contradictory and thus, ridiculous.
Since our media finds itself enamored of the character that is Paul Ryan, you’ll have to suffer through more of his grandiose attempts to portray himself as a very serious economic wonk; the Savior to Debt, whose own votes tell quite a different story, but hey, all the world is a stage.
The truth is that Republicans aren’t interested in real fiscal responsibility. Real fiscal responsibility would entail real revenue, not fictitious revenue from a program you claim you are going to repeal.
What excuse will Paul Ryan devise next in order to protect the House from revealing to Americans the troubling extent of their extremism disorder and the utter disarray of his budget?
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.