Monday, February 8, 2010

The Ryan Plan: A Wedge Issue?

Kos contributor McJoan thinks the Ryan budget "roadmap" is a "wedge issue" that the House Dems will use to beat up on the GOP.

Er, really? Here's the so-called plan:

A Democratic leadership source told TPMDC they are considering options for turning the Ryan plan into a bill. Once that's done the Democrats would put the bill on the floor, forcing Republicans to vote for or against a plan they don't want to talk about.

So the plan is for a Democrat to craft a bill that reifies the Ryan plan, in the hope of embarrassing Republicans. Wouldn't the sheer hypocrisy of such a move be so obvious as to have exactly the opposite effect? Which Democrat is willing to fall on his sword in this manner? "Hello, senior citizens. I'm running for re-election in a tough year for Democrats and I've just introduced a bill to cut your most cherished benefits. But don't worry! It's just a ploy. I don't really mean it." Yeah... OK.

The conservative side of me would welcome this sort of discussion. The Ryan plan doesn't cut Social Security or Medicare for anyone under 55, so the only way senior citizens would oppose it (out of self-interest) would be if other Democrats resorted to their usual trick of mischaracterizing their own bill. I'm used to them painting their own bills in brighter colors and the GOP's in darker tones (and the GOP does the same thing), but it's innovative to introduce a bill and then distort it to make it look worse. Are the Democrats really so desperate that they would try a plan so fraught with the possibility of backfiring?

McJoan continues:

...the major difference here is that the Dems had very targeted cuts aimed at whittling away at inefficiencies in Medicare, while Ryan's budget "just goes after Medicare with a chain saw."

Well, not really. The major difference here is that the Dem plan had cuts that would affect existing Medicare recipients (and also cuts, such as to doctors' pay, that everyone knew wouldn't really happen), while the Ryan plan affects people who have less at stake. But hey, Democrats, don't let me talk you out of it. Give it a shot.

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