Sunday, May 08, 2016

Economically Homogeneous Diversity

Politico was not invented to infuriate, but it does so with regularity. And so it was that one of its reporters, Rachel Bade, would unironically write

Ryan's choice of words — that there are "lots of questions" about Trump that conservatives want answered, "myself included" — suggests that his stand might be partly or even mostly a calculated attempt to try to mold the unwieldy nominee into one who thinks and acts more like the speaker.

Trump, for instance, has pitched banning Muslims from the country — an idea Ryan says is the antithesis of America’s founding. Trump is anti-trade, while the speaker thinks free markets are simply good economics. And then there were those quips about Hispanics and his initial refusal to reject white supremacist David Duke’s support of his candidacy — which flew in the face of Ryan’s efforts to diversify the GOP base.

Implicit in this analysis is that Donald Trump should not only adjust his speech to the more respectable tone characterized by the Speaker of the House, but his politics to that of the conservative mainstream.

Paul Ryan, it is assumed, wants "to diversify the GOP base," though besides a few kind words about Muslims, evidence of  this intent is lacking. Dean Baker explains that the Congressional Budget Office's analysis of Speaker Ryan's latest budget proposal

shows Ryan's budget shrinking everything other than Social Security and Medicare and other health care programs to 3.5 percent of GDP by 2050. This is roughly the current size of the military budget, which Ryan has indicated he wants to increase. That leaves zero for everything else.

Included in everything else is the Justice Department, the National Park System, the State Department, the Department of Education, the Food and Drug Administration, Food Stamps, the National Institutes of Health, and just about everything else that the government does. Just to be clear, CBO did this analysis under Ryan's supervision. He never indicated any displeasure with its assessment. In fact he boasted about the fact that CBO showed his budget paying off the national debt.

In a speech in late March, Ryan remarked "in a confident America" people "don't question each other's motives." "Yet," Paul Waldman observed, "for some reason it always turns out that the first thing on the GOP's priority list is tax calls for the welathy, followed closely by lightening the regulatory load on corporations and undermining collective bargaining."

"We should compliment Paul Ryan for  seeking a kindler, gentle debate," Waldman acknowledged, and the Speaker's recent statements refusing to endorse Donald Trump enthusiastically or immediately reflect his interest in a national debate free of  the bombastic vitriol characterizing the presumptive candidate's rhetoric. Still, whether it be his tax and spending policy, regulatory notions, or faith in the free trade which has destroyed a multitude of jobs, the only diversity Paul Ryan is looking for is a kindler, gentler face on the 1%.

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