Friday, April 15, 2011

Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos

Good old Dana Milbank strikes again.

The Congressional Progressive Caucus made their own budget proposal the other day, a counter to Paul Ryan's far-right proposal and President Obama's near-right proposal. As Milbank summarizes it,
A $4 trillion tax increase over 10 years. An increase in the top tax rate to 49 percent. A $2.3 trillion cut in defense spending – and an increase in domestic spending. Oh, and they would revive the “public option” to offer government-run health care.
Sounds good to me. And, according to the polls, it's the sort of thing that most American citizens want. But it's obviously wacky as far as Milbank is concerned.
Still, it gives a sense of how things would be if liberals ran the world: no cuts in Social Security benefits, government-negotiated Medicare drug prices, and increased income taxes and Social Security taxes for the wealthy. Corporations and investors would be hit with a variety of new fees and taxes. And the military would face a shock-and-awe accounting: a 22 percent cut in Army forces, 30 percent for Marines, 20 percent for the Navy and 15 percent for the airforce. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan would end, and weapons programs would go begging.
Again, this is what most of us want (via), even though I agree that the prospect of "weapons programs" huddled in the streets with signs that read Will Kill For Food gives me pause and raises the trace of a compassionate tear to my eye.
It’s difficult to evaluate the liberals’ dream scheme because they don’t make projections beyond 10 years (after which entitlement spending problems become larger), and, rather than having the proposal “scored” by the Congressional Budget Office, they used as their referee the Economic Policy Institute, a like-minded think tank.
Paul Ryan's plan, by contrast, was vetted by the CBO, which found (via) "that by the end of the 10-year budget window, public debt will actually be higher than it would be if the GOP just did nothing." (And just in passing, "If the current Medicare system were allowed to continue, CBO found that an average 65-year-old beneficiary's costs would be only 25 percent of what it'd be in the individual private insurance market. Under the GOP plan, those costs would jump to 68 percent." But what do those Commies at the CBO know?)

Milbank finds a silver lining to the Red Menace's proposal, of course: "Obama ... may find their proposal useful because it gives him a far-left counterweight to the far-right Ryan plan." Being in the middle of the road is always a good thing, right?