Friday, August 24, 2012

Ryan, Brooks, and Political Fantasies

Paul Ryan, David Brooks, and Political Fantasies
P. Schultz
August 24, 2012

            David Brooks, in a column today in the NY Times, argues that Paul Ryan made a big mistake by not supporting the Simpson-Bowles proposals for debt reduction and that he did so for hopes that can only be described as “political fantasies.” To wit:

“To put it another way, Ryan was giving up significant debt progress for a political fantasy.”

            Well, I beg to differ. Ryan did not give up the possibility of significant debt reduction because he has political fantasies. He gave this possibility up because he is not interested in significant debt reduction, just as Ronald Reagan was not and Shrub was not so interested. Reagan, Shrub, and Ryan have the same goal: Not to reduce the debt but to redistribute the wealth in this country upward. If in the process of redistributing the wealth, they can reduce the debt, they would do so. But if they cannot, then they will not reduce the debt. One political fact that most people overlook when discussing the government’s debt is that it is the wealthy who benefit from government debt. This was clear to Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson, the former who wanted the national government to assume all debts incurred during the Revolutionary War [thereby tying the wealthiest people into the new government]; and the latter who opposed the assumption of such debt because he knew that it would facilitate economic and then social inequality.

            It is, I say, David Brooks who is fantasizing. He is fantasizing that Paul Ryan is a “deficit hawk” despite evidence to the contrary, such as his vote against the Simpson-Bowles proposals. We keep thinking that our politicians don’t know what they are doing or that they are living in fantasy worlds of their own creation. But it just isn’t so. Ryan knows what he is doing and what he is doing would be clear to everyone if we would just look at his actions. As Yogi said: “You can see a lot just by watching.”

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