Rep. Paul Ryan released his budget, in what it becoming an annual thing in Washington, and it's received much attention. So much attention, your humble blogger has been prodded into writing about it. But this post is about something specific, so I thought it'd be a useful exercise to talk about what this post is not about.
This post is not about Rep. Ryan releasing essentially the same budget he released last year.
This post is not about how Rep Ryan's 2013 budget produces a surplus ten years from now in no small measure because of the tax revenue that he and his GOP colleagues loathed to see pass at the start of 2013.
This post is not about how Rep. Ryan's 2013 budget looks a lot like the budget he promoted as Mitt Romney's running mate in an election he handily lost.
This post is not about how the GOP and Rep. Ryan savaged candidate Obama about cuts in Medicare that were present in Rep Ryan's 2012 and 2013 budget.
This post is not about the quixotic quest to create a federal budget that ends in a tiny surplus in a decade's time, because Rep. Ryan falsely believes the federal budget must be balanced.
This post is not about a budget that seeks to end in balance more than it seeks to define what the American people actually want the government to do.
This post is not about working toward a number instead of working through principles.
No, what this post is about is turning Rep. Ryan's hypocritical comments against themselves. Most notably this quote, no doubt said to give him cover from preserving those tax increases:
"We don't want to re-fight the fiscal cliff. That's current law. That's not going to change."
That's an admirable principle, but not one Rep. Ryan follows consistently since, as the Washington Post notes, "it would defund President Obama's health-care initiative, end guaranteed Medicare coverage for future retirees and sharply restrain spending on the poor." I left that quote long because the more it can be said that Rep. Ryan's budget robs people of Medicare in the future and puts cuts on the most vulnerable in our society, the more it should be said.
But for me the punch line there, and the part that makes Rep. Ryan a hypocrite, is the defunding of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It's hard for to think of a law that doesn't need re-fought more than the ACA. It's passage in Congress was a brutal, thankless endeavor. It was challenged in the courts and upheld by the Supreme Court. It was campaigned against by Rep. Ryan and Mitt Romney, and they lost. It's a law that saw staunch GOP governor resistance give way to acceptance. It's the current law. I can't think of a law in recent memory that has been through such a meat grinder and yet still remains standing. But Rep. Ryan wants to defund it because doing so helps his numbers add up. He wants to defund it because it's still popular in conservative circles to tear down legislation that is based on a conservative idea. That makes Rep. Ryan a hypocrite. All those other things this post is not about are just icing on the cake.