Most newspapers give little attention to bills that are nothing more than grandstanding or empty gestures. That's especially true for bills introduced by House members of an ideologically bankrupt minority party.
But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel positively gushes about the "excitement" generated in conservative circles for a fiscally irresponsible bill that he claims would reform Social Security, Medicare, the health care system and the tax code. It notes that it's an ambitious plan that even Ryan admits won't go anywhere -- arguably because it's nothing more than a rightwing wish list cranked out to fire up the base in what is sure to be a November massacre for the GOP.
"I call it a road map for America's future," said Ryan, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, because the name "Steaming pile of GOP BS" already was taken and mention of roads drive up contributions from his buddies at the Operating Engineers. "If we don't start tackling these problems, they're going to tackle us."
Sadly the article doesn't tackle the actual specifics of the bill -- it contents itself to quote some Republicans who say Paul Ryan is a man of enormous intellectual magnitude and includes an obligatory quote from a liberal type who whines about how the bill benefits the rich. Wah wah wah.
It doesn't note that most people hate health savings accounts -- a point noted in a National Review of doe-eyed Paul -- or that HSAs are in no way a miracle cure for the health insurance crisis the country faces. HSAs are at the core of Ryan's plan to "tackle" the problem of health insurance.
And while it mentions Paul Ryan's plan to fix Social Security (a program that serious people know doesn't face any imminent threat despite some scary, context-free numbers the reporter throws out) -- "Allow workers younger than 55 to invest a third of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts." -- the story doesn't raise the question of how Social Security will meet current obligations if workers are putting money into retirement accounts. Kind of a serious issue. Also, Ryan's plan guarantees people who invest money in retirement accounts would receive the standard payment if their investments don't work out. Can you say "moral hazard?" And where does that money come from?
And that's just for starters.
It's evident from the story that the reporter has no idea what she's writing about -- or doesn't care -- and that she's just running the traps -- wacky contrast lead, quote the congressman, add a patina of policy talk, throw in some quotes favoring/opposing the man behind the plan without addressing the actual plan and "whallah!" you have a news story. And shame on the editors for running this ... piece. The only people served by this story are Paul Ryan and his people who have another clip portraying him as an oasis of ideas.
A more pertinent question the reporter could have put to the ostensibly fiscally conservative Paul Ryan is why he continues to support an occupation that is draining will drain our coffers for decades to come for no good effect.
Which is worse: A paper that sucks or no paper at all?