Liberals: Don't read Paul Ryan's budget before you criticize it

Liberals: Don't read Paul Ryan's budget before you criticize it

Those misogynist Republicans want to deny health care services to women.

That was the argument Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid deployed on the Senate floor Friday during the final hours of negotiations over a possible government shutdown.

Asked he: "Why are we talking about whether women can get something as simple and noncontroversial as a cancer screening? The answer is that Republicans want to shut down our nation's government because they want to make it harder for women to get the health services they need."

paul ryan1.jpg

( Michael Tercha, Chicago Tribune / April 11, 2011 ) House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks with the Tribune editorial board.

He continued: "They (conservatives) are willing, it appears, clearly, to throw women under the bus." Presumably, that's a moving bus, evoking images of women and girls getting crushed to death, by those uncaring, evil Republicans. Reid concluded: "Republicans are asking me to sacrifice my wife's health, my daughter's health and my nine granddaughters' health."

Here Reid argues that if Planned Parenthood doesn't get to lift $363 million out of taxpayers' pockets, his wife, daughter, granddaughters and the rest of the female population in America won't get cancer screenings or other health care. As if no one but Planned Parenthood provides these services.

Seems that discussions about the catastrophic financial shape of government are impossible without traducement. With the upcoming and more volatile debate over next year's (fiscal 2012) federal budget, we'll be hearing how conservatives will be setting up roadblocks to make women turn over their car keys for hijabs.

For example, Bill Maher, the liberal oracle who hosts a political comedy talk show on HBO, said the only value of a budget proposal put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was its appeal to the conservative base. Faulting anyone who thinks Ryan is courageous for tackling some of the toughest federal budget questions, Maher fumed: "Courageous would have been going after defense and farm subsidies and corporations and rich people. His (Ryan's) budget doesn't do any of that, it goes after children, the poor, the jobless, the people who had the least and could least defend themselves."

There it is again: The proposition that whatever liberals want to do about Washington's systemic budget problems -- so far it's not much -- is superior to whatever conservatives propose because liberals are so much more compassionate. As if, only through government spending can true compassion be exercised.

In fact, Ryan argues that he is cutting into farm subsidies, ending corporate welfare and repairing the safety net. You don't have to read beyond the table of contents of Ryan's budget blueprint, "The Path to Prosperity," to know this. Maher, for whatever reason, didn't appear to read beyond the title page.

You can argue about the validity, cost, impact and conclusions of Ryan's proposals, but to argue, for example, that it doesn't address the difficulties that many Americans find themselves in is mistaken and, one suspects, intentionally so.

"People are living longer. The baby boomers are beginning to retire. Health care costs are skyrocketing. These are facts, and they require a better approach to renew the social contract," Ryan wrote. He is proposing revisions that reflect today's realities. When Social Security was created, most Americans did not live beyond retirement age; now they do -- often by decades. When Medicare was created in the 1960s, no baby-boom generation was knocking on the government's door.

Medicaid costs in the '60s were $400 million; in 2009, they were $379 billion. Repair the social safety net, Ryan says, by offering Medicaid recipients more options and better access to care. "Medicaid recipients, like all Americans, deserve to choose their own doctors and make their own health care decisions, instead of having Washington dictate those decisions for them," according to Ryan.

Liberals, of course, prefer to limit choices for the poor, much as Cook County has determined that the indigent should have to trek to Stroger Hospital on the West Side to get their medical care, instead of getting their care at underused hospitals closer to their homes. Liberals are willing to stick with failed systems, in the belief that if we only pump in more money and make them bigger, they'll get better. Liberals are afraid to challenge the past, as conservatives are now doing.

Liberals like to call themselves progressives, but somehow, what and how they're fighting doesn't sound very progressive at all.

This column also appeared in the Chicago Tribune


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  • I don't see how having seniors pay an extra 6 grand a year while pumping 200k more into the wallets of millionaires qualifies as compassion? The democrats proposal isn't better(salient differences allow for simple terminology) than the republicans because of some inherent proprietorship of all that is "right"-it's better because its better. Ryan's proposal manages to give the Defense Department more money-why? And you want to allude to progressives being inflexible-how about the Republican dogma that is tax raises of any kind are out of the question? We're more or less involved in 3 wars, yet the tax rate on the wealthiest of Americans is at its lowest in 50 years. That's in complete conflict with....logic. The President's proposal is pragmatic and fair-Ryan's is the embodiment of all that is wrong with the GOP. (class warfare of the worst kind-see conservative demigod Ronald Regan for the blueprint, inexplicable defense allocations, etc. etc.)

  • I understand the Bill Maher comment, but did you yourself get beyond the key points? Hmmm. Ryan uses data that is not only questionable but misleading. Defense (in all its forms - discretionary and non-discretionary) outpaces all expenditures. So far as the myth that Social Security is broke, well why don't you point out that the program has been summarily robbed over the years? Is it really insolvent?

    You have been a part of the media that conveniently omits data to satisfy a story. How about just presenting facts and stripping away the ideology and bias of the writer? Ryan's data is flawed and as such does not offer the relief it promises.

    How about a really good analysis of the who, what, where, when and how. Stick to the data. Both right and left don't offer near enough as far as real reductions go.

  • Oh yea, you forgot to add a link to Ryan's Path To Prosperity. Here is the link for a downloadable PDF:

  • I'm not so sure how to take either side in the budget battle, especially after all the garbage last week it was said that most of the cuts, over which they were going to close down the budget, were unspent funds.

    As far as Planned Parenthood, I posted my take in a more appropriate place, so won't repeat myself here.

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