La Dolce Vita

A few thoughts from Steven Rockford
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APRIL 7, 2011 12:34PM

"Starve" – No! “Kill” the Beast.

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This worn out phrase, coined by the conservatives in the Reagan administration, has now taken on a whole new meaning.  The original right-wing intent was to reduce taxes in order to reduce (starve) the size of government (the beast).  Congressman Paul Ryan’s recent budget proposal goes beyond that.  It calls for slitting the beast’s throat, drawing and quartering the animal, and then setting the corpse on fire. 

We’ve reached a critical point in the growth of the modern conservative movement.  They feel that they have enough elitist-paid-for politicians to destroy the social fabric of this country.  The entitlement programs - most notably Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid - have been a target of the moneyed elite since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  The upper crust has always been “horrified” that a small fraction of their inherited (or often ill-gotten) wealth has to go to pay for part of a social safety net for America’s poor, sick and elderly.  They would much rather let these people die than to have to pony up another penny of their treasures. 

Ryan’s proposal to privatize Medicare and Medicaid and to reduce (again) the marginal tax rate on top earners would have been laughed at only a year ago.  But today, many segments of the “serious” media are calling this a legitimate well-thought-out plan. 

As Ezra Klein and others have noted, it appears that the conservative tactic is to come up with something more radical than the Simpson-Bowles plan (which was once thought to be extreme), so that the ultimate “compromise” would fall back on the Fiscal Commission proposal.  The problem is that, if this does take place, it will be just another step in the conservative goal to eliminate all entitlement programs.   

Next year’s GOP budget proposal will go even farther than Ryan’s plan.  It too will be considered extreme, and then Ryan’s plan will no longer be considered “radical.”  In fact, the media will accept it as a fair compromise, and the Democrats will ultimately cave, making what is now thought of as being outlandish legislation a “serious” well-thought-out proposal. 

This “moving of the goal posts” will continue through every budget planning cycle until the beast is finally dead.


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They didn't wait a year. According to an article in The Hill, the House Republican Study Committee has presented an "alternative" to Ryan's plan that cuts $9.1T instead of a mere $5.8T.
Paraphrasing the tagline you received per EPing: Has the modern conservative movement ... er, yes ... When Paul Ryan is your supposed financial expert, when Eric Cantor is your main face to the public ... you are dead, sunk, gone the way of your namesakes, the Know Nothing Party, and the Dodo Bird who couldn't tell what would kill it. These two Junior High dorks in suits that don't fit wouldn't engender confidence at a Romper Room picnic. Boehner is an imbecile, but he's dumb and drunk, not stupid, and can't dance away from these two stooges fast enough ... They are poster boys for ineptitude and propaganda driven rhetorical "policy" thought up by writers bought and paid for by toxic waste polluters, and an "Institute" named after HERBERT HOOVER!!!!!

Put it to you this way- you think a Wall Street investment banker would invest in a company if Ryan was the Accountant and Cantor the CEO? --- bwhahahahahahahahahaha
You know, this idea that the GOP actually starves the beast — that is, uses tax cuts to rein in spending — is sort of rich. If history is any record, Republicans cut taxes and still increase spending. Alex Hudson at has a great column on the history of this phenomenon:

It does seem that Paul Ryan actually intends to see spending cut. But as the Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles commented in The Hill, he goes overboard on cutting social safety net programs, but leaves other big ticket items mostly untouched.

Hope Democrats will propose a reasonable alternative...
Property is good, and I'd like to keep mine, what little is left after Barney "let's all buy a house" Frank and Mr. Billionaire sleazy Nevada property magnate Harry Reid have taken most of it.
Here's a simple test to determine if the cuts are deep enough.

Q: Is the budget balanced?

If the answer is in the negative, cut more expenses. Otherwise, you may stop cutting expenses -- for the moment.
The government is bleeding cash. We owe trillions of dollars and this year the government is going to lose over another trillion.

Since we can't keep going at this rate, how much and what do you want to cut? It's easy to sling mud but figuring out what to do is a different story.
Yes, and let's not forget to include a bunch of conservative crap into all of the bills then argue it's all about the money and the deficit and not about the right-wing agenda.
Get use to things being cut. The liberal utopia will crash and burn one way or another. Either by a total collapse of the economy or by making drastic cuts. When you give people everthing for nothing, all you get is bankruptcy.
I blame the media for much of the confusion over what is an ethical, well-thought out approach. They coddle the extreme right--and why?
You can sadistically punish an entire nation for only so long. Eventually, when it as suffered sufficiently it will react with catastrophic violence. Evidently it has not suffered enough so far.
i rather wish the teaparty types would get their wildest dreams. nothing less than widespread catastrophe will wake america from the national fantasy.

since o. s. represents 'enlightened progressive' thought, we can be sure that salvation will not come from the left. fortunately, that segment of the population most at risk from financial disaster is about 100 pounds overweight. that may see them through to the revolution.
Another anti-rich bias. What's interesting is that the red state/blue state divide mirrors median income with the red (Republican-leaning) states below the national median income and the blue states above.

Sure, there are the radical right rich like the Koch brothers. But, then, there are rich men like Warren Buffet, who supports Obama and higher taxes on the rich.

Slashing welfare and medicare is bad policy, but support for it doesn't neatly divide along income lines.

If the media calls this proposal serious, it's because they are desperate. Not many other politicians are putting anything on the table and no one is putting the budget elephant in the crosshairs: the defense and the wars.
Te assumption can only be that Malusinka is either rich, demented, or both.
They have gone too far. The dying beast is the Republican party. Even the most dedicated realize that it's insane that Congress pays itself during the shutdown, but not the brave soldiers they love to support by buying bumper stickers and that Grandma is the beast being starved.
@ Patrick Frank: why does the media coddle the right????? Duh..... Conservative corporations own it.
Typical Pelosi-esque hyperbolic paranoia.

Nothing less than severe cuts will cure the collectivist excesses of contemporary liberalism. And what's severe about defunding Planned Parenthood, the National Endowment of the Arts, and Public Broadcasting?

Adjusting the retirement age under Social Security is not radical; it's a sensible reaction to changes in human longevity.

The hypothetical of a corporation controlled by Ryan is a dream compared to the regrettable reality of a country "headed" by a community organizer from the cesspool of American politics.
Paul Ryan reminds me of a young Ronald Reagan, right down to the boyish Irish charm and the overabundance of hair. The only thing missing is the cowboy hat -- and that's sure to be coming soon.

That boyish charm is what makes such men so dangerous -- surely they could mean no harm to dear ol' grandma and her measly SS check. But do not be deceived, the dark heart of such men is colder than a well-digger's ass.

But let us not place all the blame there, either, for without the worse devils of our nature -- the greed that lies at the very heart of America's "rugged individualist" myth -- ordinary Americans wouldn't fall for the empty promises that propel such villains into positions of power.

And you can add to that diseased mythology the corruption of Christianity called the Prosperity Gospel that blasphemes the very teaching of Jesus to proclaim to hell with the poor, God wants you to be rich!

As long as so many Americans maintain the faint but foolish hope that one day they might be in a position to exploit the misery of others and grow obscenely rich, things will not change for the better in our politics.

For more, see The Cowboy Way - Unmasking American Myths
As Tom Oliphant so wisely said: "Republicans campaign on the slogan that government never works. And when they get elected, they prove it."

Never let Paul Ryan's plan be forgotten. It's the perfect illustration of what the GOP is all about: Crush the welfare state to pay for tax cuts for the rich. It's sickening.
Gordon said, "Nothing less than severe cuts will cure the collectivist excesses of contemporary liberalism. And what's severe about defunding Planned Parenthood, the National Endowment of the Arts, and Public Broadcasting?"

Yes, severe cuts are necessary - first in the cutback on taxes, i.e., re-instate taxes that were cut. Next in the military. Planned Parenthood, Nat. Endow. of the Art and Pub. Broadcasting are a drop in the spending bucket, and going after them is mean-spirited and not about to do any good for the deficit.

Oh, and the horror of a community organizer in the W.H. - someone who actually served on the ground.

Connecticut has the highest per capita income, Wisconsin (Ryan's state) is a little below average, Mississippi has the lowest.

I've done this in percentages, since they have different numbers of Congressmen, but Conn is 70% Democratic, Wisconsin 60% Republican and Mississippi over 80% Republican.

It's a nice fantasy to say rich fat cats are voting in the Ryans of the world, but it's plain old not true. The Republicans tend to come from the poorer states and the Democrats from the richer.
I don’t disagree with your statistics. However, I wasn’t referring to who “voted” for these people, but rather who “paid for” their elections. My point about “elitist-paid-for politicians” refers to the fat-cats who put the Ryan-types in office by financing their campaigns.

This has become particularly evident after SCOTUS's Citizens United ruling.