Poster boys for Soylent Green

Poster Boys For Soylent Green

by digby

Can't wait for someone to propose eating the poor and infirm so we can all then agree the Ryan plan is reasonable.
Chris Hayes

Ever since this morning when Ezra Klein tweeted his post positing that the Catfood Commissars Wishlist would quickly be seen as the preferred compromise to the Ryan plan, I've been waiting for someone to point out just how likely that really is. And that's because we are watching the White House negotiate a similar deal as we speak.

Here's Ezra's prediction:

Is the Fiscal Commission’s plan perfect? Not even close. But it’s a lot more reasonable, and a lot less ideological, than Ryan’s budget. And I think Ryan’s budget is going to persuade a lot of Democrats to give it a second look.

Dday explains why this is a perfectly reasonable assumption:

With respect to the current budget debate, Republicans initially called for $33 billion in cuts, and then upped the number. Democrats eventually met them “halfway” by… offering $33 billion in cuts. Republicans said no, wanting more, and now Democrats are positioning themselves as the serious people by offering an imitation of the Republican budget. You can see exactly the same dynamic at work here. The Ryan deficit reduction plan goes beyond the Bowles-Simpson cat food commission plan. So you can absolutely see the Democrats counter-offer with… Bowles-Simspon.

There is the added fact that Simpson and Bowles were appointed by the president to head his own "deficit commission." It's not a long walk for the president to take, particularly since he has quite a few stalwarts already on his side --- including his Lieutenant, Dick Durbin, who voted for the catfood commission recommendations.

Simpson and Bowles are pleased as punch. Needless to say, they greatly admire the great, courageous, savvy, brilliant Paul Ryan as everyone must. And they see a lot to like in his plan, which includes many of the items in their own. However, while heartthrob Ryan's plan goes a bit too far and the ridiculous liberal plan (which isn't even worth mentioning doesn't go far enough) it's clear that theirs is juuuust right.

While we are encouraged that Chairman Ryan has come forward with a serious plan, we are concerned that it falls short of the balanced, comprehensive approach needed to achieve the broad bipartisan agreement necessary to enact a responsible plan. The plan largely exempts defense spending from reductions and would not apply any of the savings from eliminating or reducing tax expenditures as part of tax reform to deficit reduction. As a result, the Chairman's plan relies on much larger reductions in domestic discretionary spending than does the Commission proposal, while also calling for savings in some safety net programs - cuts which would place a disproportionately adverse effect on certain disadvantaged populations.

Nevertheless, by putting forward a credible plan, Paul Ryan has made a very constructive contribution to move the debate forward and has put many ideas on the table that deserve serious consideration. As the process moves forward, we expect additional constructive proposals and ideas to be put forward by various Members of the House and Senate which we hope will lead to a balanced deficit reduction package that can receive broad bipartisan support. In particular, we are encouraged by discussions going on in the Senate on legislation based on the framework put forward by the Commission."

Thank God we have this other fine plan out there to fall back on, eh? I was really worried there for a moment. And look how reasonable and thoughtful they are! Why ever did we oppose it in the first place?

Meanwhile, Kent Conrad was just hopping mad, saying Ryan's plan is draconian, ideological and partisan and icky. He too is much relieved that we have something far more reasonable to turn to:

“I continue to believe the Fiscal Commission plan provides the best way forward. It includes enough deficit reduction – nearly $4 trillion over the next ten years – to make a meaningful change in the nation’s long-term fiscal trajectory. It takes a balanced approach, with savings coming roughly equally from nondefense discretionary spending, defense discretionary spending, mandatory spending, and revenue. And it represents a truly bipartisan approach, with Democrats and Republicans making concessions to reach an agreement. It may be as close as we can get to a middle-ground, consensus solution to the nation’s long-term budget crisis.”

There you go.

With all that reasonableness and thoughtfulness, It's hard to recall that the Fiscal Commission non-report was a trainwreck. It's only by comparison to the Von Ryan Express that they are able to portray it as moderate middle ground. If I were a conspiracy type, I might even think the catfood salesmen on the commission cooked this whole thing up sometime last December when it was obvious that the liberals weren't going to sign on. But I'm not a conspiracy type so I'd imagine that this is just something they all fortuitously and individually stumbled into on their way to a big donor meeting. There doesn't have to be a conspiracy --- it's just part of the culture. Look at how the Village greeted Ryan today. Cleopatra would be jealous.

Anything that will screw average folks and reward rich ones is automatically very, very "serious." They love being serious. And if it happened to benefit their benefactors well --- sometimes life really is fair.

If the Democrats don't take this plan and wrap it around every teabagging Republican in the congress in the fall of 2012 they don't deserve to win. Just on a purely primitive political basis, whether they secretly love the idea of death panels or not, their competitive spirit alone should be enough to make Paul Ryan and his cronies the poster boys for Soylent Green and decouple them from the aging baby boomers until we've all shuffled off our mortal coil.

From this moment on, the Democrats have the opportunity to reclaim their position as the party trusted by senior citizens. Over the next 15 years a gigantic number of them are going into the system --- and they vote. If the Republicans don't have them, they have nothing. (You know how badly they fare among younger people and racial and ethnic minorities.)

There should be a price to be paid for the kind of heartless abstraction we are seeing from the wealthy mandarins and starry-eyed Randians who are running things these days. The seniors are the ones who can make them pay it.

Stop Paul Ryan