The economy has been rebounding, the stock market is roaring, austerity economics have failed all over Europe, and U.S. voters spoke loudly last November 6, but House budget czar Paul Ryan and his Republican colleagues Tuesday produced a budget that suggests they have been out to lunch the last four months. Maybe they have been. Senate Democrats on Thursday offered a budget that takes into account all of these realities, but the U.S. is destined to be stuck again in crisis courtesy of House ideological nonsense.
The November 6 elections were, among other things, a referendum on the economic policies put forth by Mr. Ryan, who along with being the House Republicans' budget genius was Mitt Romney's vice presidential running mate. His proposals -- a combination of brutal budget cuts and pie in the sky projections -- were thoroughly rejected in favor of President Obama's more humane, realistic plans, but like a particularly persistent zombie from "The Walking Dead," the Ryan plan has lurched back to life and walks the halls of Congress.
The House budget would cut funding for Obamacare, even though the program was passed into law, passed muster with the U.S. Supreme Court and is popular with Americans. Domestic social and educational programs that benefit the poor and middle class will be cut while the richest will not be asked to pay any more in tax increases. In pursuit of a balanced budget, Mr. Ryan and friends would drag the nation over the same cliff other nations have fallen off with their austerity budgets, while ditching the infrastructure programs that provide jobs and bring the nation fully into the 21st century.
The Senate plan, drafted by Democrat Patty Murray of Washington, protects all of the programs the Republicans want to slash and invests in America's youth and future through revenue generated by tax hikes for the wealthy. It includes deficit reduction, primarily through cuts to both Pentagon spending and payments to health care providers. Typically, it reaches out to Senate Republicans in the spirit of compromise, while House Republicans offer nothing but ideology-based bromides already rejected by voters.
Senator Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, referred Thursday to Representative Ryan's "hocus-pocus budget." The only magic it creates is in causing a little more of the Republican Party's diminished credibility to vanish.