Before this week’s Supreme Court Case on the constitutionality of health care reform, which I will be discussing at some point (heads up!), the big hullaballoo in Washington DC was the budget plan put forward by Representative Paul Ryan. Sounds like typical Washington insiders overreacting, right? I mean, come on, the guy isn’t even a Senator! But, Mr. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee and a conservative darling and so we must pay attention to what he says. This and the fact that our bothersome old constitution requires that budgets come out of the House before being considered by the Senate means that Mr. Ryan’s budget means business.
So, what does the budget entail? Cuts. More cuts. Then another cut. There are tax cuts and cuts to transportation funding. Medicare gets cut, as does its shy, but lovely cousin Medicaid. Defense spending actually gets increased and money for veterans would be ok. But other than that, more cuts than batting practice in a thorn-bush. That isn’t the best metaphor in the world, but I’m going to stick by it because it involves a whole heck of a lot of cuts.
When we get down to the details, the programs people actually know, things get pretty ugly for Mr. Paul Ryan’s budget. Ugly in a large groups of citizens with pitchforks and torches kind of way. To keep the budget balanced, everything besides defense, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security would have to go. Not that two out of the four of those don’t get cut, just that they survive, at least in name. National parks though? No money for them. The litter in the Grand Canyon is just going to have to take care of itself for a while. Food and water safety would be gone, so I hope you like lead in your tap water. I hear it adds a certain sweetness that is actually quite pleasant. See, there’s always a bright side. Federal education funding would dry up, along with money for highways. I don’t even have to write a joke for those ones, because it’s just plain hilarious. The cherry-on-top has to be that federal law enforcement would be forced to cease. Border Patrol: Gone! Secret Service: Vanished! FBI: No more!
I have to give Mr. Ryan credit though. This is a budget. It is a plan for taking in revenue and spending it, which is certainly what he was going for. That much is uncontroversial. So good job Paulie boy! There’s at least one thing we can agree on!