The Hightower Report

How simple is Rep. Paul Ryan?

My guess is that Rep. Paul Ryan, the Republican Party's highly-touted budget guru, doesn't have a very tight grip on the concept of irony.

Otherwise, why would he choose April Fool's Day to release the latest version of what the GOP intends to do to federal programs (and to the people who count on them) if it takes total control of Congress? But there he was on April 1, declaring with a straight face that, "We [Republicans] believe that we owe it to the country to offer an alternative to the status quo. It's just that simple."

Sure, it's simple. He just Xeroxes the same stale budgetary flimflams that he always puts out, even though the public keeps upchucking at the sight of them. Ryan's "alternative" to the status quo is the status quo ante, taking Americans back to the harsh days before there were any programs to help unemployed, elderly, sick, and other people in need.

Ryan turns Medicare into a "We don't care" privatized program, and he wants to outright pull the plug on the new health care law that extends coverage to millions of people, replacing it with ... nothing. Hey, it's just that simple! His budget scheme also slashes job training, education, infrastructure repairs, medical research, public broadcasting, the arts, and ... well, pretty much anything that regular people need.

Still, he claims he's "helping" people – in an ideological, Republican-y way. For example, Ryan explains that whacking food stamps "empowers recipients to get off the aid rolls and back on the payrolls." What payrolls, you ask? That's not my problem, says the guy drawing $174,000 a year and a gold package of benefits from the government he pretends to despise.

Yeah, let 'em eat right wing ideology! I wish it were an April Fool's joke – but Ryan's joke is on us.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.
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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

News, United States Congress, Medicare, food stamps, entitlement programs

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