“The reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”
– U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan
“Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to become the means by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. Blood, whips and guns–or dollars. Take your choice–there is no other.”
― Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
The U.S. House passed Paul Ryan’s proposed budget this week, a budget that slashes almost every conceivable program that protects the vulnerable among us — Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, college loans, education support, etc. — in order to finance large tax cuts for the wealthy. The country that such a budget document would produce would be a cold and callous place, a description that an Ayn Rand acolyte such as Ryan would probably embrace as praise.
Every House Democrat as well as 10 Republicans voted against the bill.
Despite Ryan’s claims to the contrary, it is not a budget driven by concern about the debt and deficit. No budget that cuts taxes and thus revenue by trillions of dollars — including by dropping the top tax rate from 35 to 25 percent — can be said to be motivated by fiscal prudence. Quite the contrary. Let’s talk bluntly: The goal of the Ryan budget is to cut the poor, the weak, the young, the sick and the elderly adrift from federal support in order to save money for the wealthy.
In comments earlier this week, the supposed spending-conscious Ryan also spoke out against proposals to cut defense spending. The cuts aren’t large — $487 billion spread over the next decade. Pentagon chiefs have testified that they can handle cuts of that magnitude, but Ryan rejects that claim. He opposes all proposed cuts to defense, he said, warning that “what I believe is, this budget does hollow out defense. I believe this budget goes beyond where we should go to keep people safe.”
For those who missed it, let me republish a chart I ran earlier:
– Jay Bookman