Let’s talk budget! Yes, the wonky wonderland of the federal budget, with page after page of numbers – what fun, eh?
No. Most people would prefer a root canal to a budget discussion (indeed, I’ve heard that some dentists use a recording of budget numbers to anesthetize their root-canal patients – everything from the neck up goes quickly numb). But Paul Ryan is different. The GOP’s vice presidential nominee is touted as Mr. Budget, a guy who gets excited by running his fingers through fiscal things. That’s why the Washington cognoscenti have declared him to be “serious,” rather than just another political opportunist riding the right-wing wave of tea party ridiculousness.
Being branded as “serious” means never having to admit you’re a flim-flam man. Thus, the widely-ballyhooed Ryan Budget is called “honest” and “responsible” by insiders who obviously haven’t run the numbers on it. The non-partisan Tax Policy Center, however, has tallied Ryan’s budgetary giveaways to the rich and takebacks from the middle-class and the poor. Far from balancing the federal budget, as the self-proclaimed deficit hawk claims, the analysts found that Ryan’s plan increases the federal deficit. And not by a little, but by about $2.5 trillion! So, yes, he is serious – serious as a snake bite.
Then there was Ryan’s explosive admission recently that the budget plan of his presidential partner, Mitt Romney, is also a con game. Despite Romney’s repeated assertion that – by golly – his nifty plan will balance the federal budget in only eight years, Ryan confessed that they didn’t really know that, because, “we haven’t run the numbers on that specific plan.”
What? Hello – a budget is nothing but numbers – numbers that have, in fact, been run! Otherwise, it’s not a budget, it’s just a political hoax.
National radio commentator, writer, public speaker, and author of the book, Swim Against The Current: Even A Dead Fish Can Go With The Flow, Jim Hightower has spent three decades battling the Powers That Be on behalf of the Powers That Ought To Be – consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses, and just-plain-folks. Twice elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner, Hightower believes that the true political spectrum is not right to left but top to bottom, and he has become a leading national voice for the 80 percent of the public who no longer find themselves within shouting distance of the Washington and Wall Street powers at the top. He publishes a populist political newsletter, “The Hightower Lowdown.” He is a New York Times best-selling author, and has written seven books including, Thieves In High Places: They’ve Stolen Our Country And It’s Time To Take It Back; If the Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates; and There’s Nothing In the Middle Of the Road But Yellow Stripes and Dead Armadillos. His newspaper column is distributed nationally by Creators Syndicate.
This piece was first published on Jim Hightower’s website.