Weekend Update 03-31-2012

So, Paul Ryan’s plan would make the Bush tax cuts permanent and add additional tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations reducing revenue by an eye-popping 10 trillion dollars over the next decade. The CBO notes that the Ryan “plan” basically envisions eliminating the entire federal government except for Defense, Social Security, health programs, and interest payments by 2050. It provides no funding for anything else at all. Think about that for a minute. That’s not any sort of a “responsible” plan. Either Ryan is insane or, more likely, his plan is a deliberate fraud and he’s nothing but a con man. Revenue loss? Nothing or very little will offset them. Nor will the federal government somehow be virtually eliminated. So basically Ryan wants to steal more of the nation’s wealth for himself and his other buddies, add it to the country’s credit card and skeedaddle into the sunset. Of course, if he actually manages to do it, he and his insanely greedy compatriots will actually manage to destroy this country, which would seem to undermine the basis of the riches they are attempting to purloin. But then, people in bondage to the passions of greed and hubris probably can’t see the outcome of their actions. Oh, and Ryan wants to give poor people less health care too. I guess we know what the GOP vision for health care really is now that they’ve rejected their own long-standing reform plan (the one President Obama managed to actually enact). The rich will get health care and everyone else can die. Aside from the basic immorality of that attitude, it’s not socially sustainable. A good dictator knows you have to provide a certain level of safety and services to the people or they will eventually rebel.

Lauren Weinstein puts it well. If they are truly ready to overturn the ACA, then the Supreme Court is ready to effectively murder millions of people. Hitler and the Third Reich deservedly went down in infamy for slaughtering six million. Arguably our health care system has killed at least that many already with millions more waiting in the wings. This is what our radical far right has been reduced to supporting. Unfortunately, they might just have a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court. This expresses the moral hazard well. If you don’t have health insurance by choice (a different issue) then you are essentially gambling that our society won’t just let you die. I would not you’re both right and wrong in your assessment. We won’t deny you emergency treatment, but there are a host of potentially life-saving measures we will deny you. Regardless, though, your “gamble” is a form of insurance funded by the rest of us. The only real question is whether or not you should shoulder some of that responsibility or if we should foot the whole bill on your behalf. As far as I can tell, the right wing wants to be leeches on society. Or is there another way of interpreting their position?

Krugman is one of many who has stated it well. Frankly, we’re spoiled by the Supreme Courts that have presided since at least the mid-20th century (and probably somewhat earlier than that). Whether you agreed with a given ruling or not, they cared about the Constitution, the rule of law, and were careful about precedence even when overturning it. The Supreme Court has over that span earned the respect of the American people. What most people don’t recall (or never studied) is that those were hard-won gains. Through a significant portion of our history, the Court was filled with people receiving a cushy lifetime appointment as a political pay-off — and not necessarily even lawyers or judges. That was particular true throughout what we now call the Gilded Age. During that period, the rulings of the court were often awful and followed the political and ideological winds. The Court was hardly respected at all by anyone. The course on which this court is set may very well lose the Supreme Court its hard-won respect from the last century. It will again become simply another tool of whichever party is able to seat a majority on it rather than operating as a truly independent third branch of government. It’s a shame, really. But you know what’s said about those who fail to learn from history.

And yes, Gingrich totally went there. I would say I was shocked. But I’m not.

And does the current Supreme Court deserve any respect whatsoever? Not if you take the former Reagan solicitor general seriously.

I took my daughter to the Anne Rice signing at Book People last Friday. Looks like they caught us on video at the signing and posted it to Anne Rice’s youtube channel. (We’re the first ones in it.) Anne is extremely gracious and took the time to speak briefly to everyone who came to the table as she signed the books. My daughter was on cloud nine! (She’s a huge reader.)

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