David Fitzsimmons / The Arizona Daily Star
Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, sounds upset. And you can see why: President Obama, to the great relief of progressives, has called his bluff.
Last week, Mr. Ryan unveiled his budget proposal, and the initial reaction of much of the punditocracy was best summed up (sarcastically) by the blogger John Cole: “The plan is bold! It is serious! It took courage! It re-frames the debate! The ball is in Obama’s court! Very wonky! It is a game-changer! Did I mention it is serious?”
Then people who actually understand budget numbers went to work, and it became clear that the proposal wasn’t serious at all. In fact, it was a sick joke. The only real things in it were savage cuts in aid to the needy and the uninsured, huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich, and Medicare privatization. All the alleged cost savings were pure fantasy.
On Wednesday, as I said, the president called Mr. Ryan’s bluff: after offering a spirited (and reassuring) defense of social insurance, he declared, “There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.” Actually, the Ryan plan calls for $2.9 trillion in tax cuts, but who’s counting?
And then Mr. Obama laid out a budget plan that really is serious. ”
PAUL KRUGMAN, “Who’s Serious Now?”, in the New York Times.
The House on Thursday passed compromise legislation to finance the federal government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The vote brought one budget clash to a close even as the Democrats and Republicans prepared for another.
The vote was 260-167, with 59 Republicans breaking ranks with their party leadership to vote against the deal, which calls for $38 billion in spending cuts this year. The Republican defections, a result of opposition from conservatives who said the bill did not do enough to rein in spending, forced the House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, to turn to Democrats to pass the bill and keep the government from shutting down.
Afterward, the bill moved to the Senate, where it was expected to pass quickly and be sent to President Obama’s desk.”
New York Times, "House Passes Compromise Budget Bill."
(UPDATE: So has the Senate.)
Um? I find the whole “Boehner forced to turn to Democrats to pass the bill” thing funny. Good job, Tea Party!!!