"0ne of those pathetic bloggers who tries to make a living out of attacking other bloggers and media folk in an effort to illicit a reaction and draw traffic to his site." -- Owen Robinson of Boots and Sabers
The fact that Paul Ryan's plan to privatize Social Security might ultimately lead to a federal bailout caught the Brawler's eye nearly two years ago. And it caught the CBPP's as well ... and Ryan's response suggests the celebrated wonk has no idea of the implications of his bill.
Cost of the Social Security Guarantee
Ryan’s Assertion : Ryan challenges our statement that his requirement that the Treasury bail out private-account holders for stock-market losses could cost $2.9 trillion and that this cost is not reflected in the CBO report on his plan. He claims that CBO explicitly estimated this cost and included it in its projections of his plan.
Our Response : Once again, Rep. Ryan is mistaken and our statements are accurate. We wrote, “These potential bailout costs — like the cost of the plan’s very large tax cuts — are not reflected in the CBO estimates that Rep. Ryan cites when touting the plan’s fiscal responsibility.” We confirmed the accuracy of this statement with CBO before issuing our report. CBO conducted separate analyses of the proposed benefit guarantee, but CBO’s budget estimates reported in Appendix II of the Ryan plan do not include the cost of the guarantee. Moreover, the $2.9 trillion cost estimate does not come from us, as Rep. Ryan implies. Our report clearly states that it is the estimate of the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration, based on an earlier version of Rep. Ryan’s plan and taking stock-market risk into account.
But one of the more interesting analyses is by Jonathan Chait, who puts the Road Map in historical-political context:
The roadmap clarifies the essence of the Republican Party's approach to domestic policy issues. The essence is opposition to the downward redistribution of income. The principle first emerged under Ronald Reagan, but only in fits and starts--Republican presidents agreed to a tax reform in 1986 and a deficit reduction in 1990 that did redistribute income from rich to poor. Over the last twenty years, though, opposition to downward redistribution has hardened into the sacred tenet of Republican policymaking. Ryan's plan both codifies this principle and shows just how far the party is willing to go in its service.
Every major element of Ryan's plan reflects this commitment. Begin with his proposed tax changes.
Why does Ryan roll this way? Blame it on Ayn:
The core of the Randian worldview, as absorbed by the modern GOP, is a belief that the natural market distribution of income is inherently moral, and the central struggle of politics is to free the successful from having the fruits of their superiority redistributed by looters and moochers. What's telling about Ryan's program is not so much that a hard-core ideologue like him would advocate it. It's that virtually the whole of the conservative movement has embraced him. ...
The rise of Ryan is a sign that the possibilities for bipartisan cooperation on domestic issues are, at the moment, essentially nil. This point is obscured by the figure of Ryan, a cheerful and courteous man who gives every sense of wanting to deal in good faith. But his goals, which are now fully the goals of the conservative movement and the Republican Party, are diametrically opposed to the liberal vision of capitalism shorn of its cruelest edges. His basic moral premises are foreign, even abhorrent, to liberals. He seems like a person you'd like to negotiate with, but there's nothing to negotiate over. Ryan is waging a zero sum fight over resources on behalf of the most fortunate members of society and against everybody else.
Ryan is better understood as an ideologue -- a great pol and a great marketer, to be sure, but first and foremost and ideologue -- than as a wonk. It's good to see Chait, unlike many national journalists, gets that.
Leah Vukmir (and Pat Synder of WSAU Radio) will be handing out the Defender of the American Dream awards.
The National Award goes to -- obviously -- Joe the Plumber.
The Media Award goes to Patrick McIlheran, whose blog is an everyday testament to his journalistic aptitude. McIlheran will also be on a panel about media relations 101, curious given his real journalistic experience (ie as a reporter) weighs in at two years.
By 1982, the pyramid finance game was up. The Vial and Cruzat 'Grupos' defaulted. Industry shut down, private pensions were worthless, the currency swooned. Riots and strikes by a population too hungry and desperate to fear bullets forced Pinochet to reverse course. He booted his beloved Chicago experimentalists. Reluctantly, the General restored the minimum wage and unions' collective bargaining rights. Pinochet, who had previously decimated government ranks, authorized a program to create 500,000 jobs. In other words, Chile was pulled from depression by dull old Keynesian remedies, all Franklin Roosevelt, zero Reagan/Thatcher. New Deal tactics rescued Chile from the Panic of 1983, but the nation's long-term recovery and growth since then is the result of - cover the children's ears - a large dose of socialism.
To save the nation's pension system, Pinochet nationalized banks and industry on a scale unimagined by Communist Allende. The General expropriated at will, offering little or no compensation. While most of these businesses were eventually re-privatized, the state retained ownership of one industry: copper.
1986 marks tha point at which Chile changed tack. And since Pinochet stepped down until now, the government has been center left. And Chile's done all right! And McIlheran's praise of Chile's capitalism is humorous given that the heart of Chile's economy -- copper -- remains a state industry -- though one the new president does plan to partially privatize.
Scott Walker's call to roll back BadgerCare is nothing new. But it's still surprising that at a time of high unemployment/underemployment and companies rolling back health benefits that he would declare, at Charlie Sykes' INCITE 2010! that BadgerCare has become just another entitlement. I've been of the opinion that the 2010 gubernatorial race will be pretty tight. Stuff like this makes me question that view. Maybe he should talk to Jim Bunning, only Bunning seems to have more sense.