The House of Representatives voted to pass the Paul Ryan Budget Plan. That is to say the House Republicans minus ten dissenters, voted passed the plan. Without even the slightest democratic support this deficient-reducing legislation will never pass the Democratic controlled Senate. It is hardly worth the toilet paper it is printed on. This bill was not about policy but politics and there is a vast difference between the two. Policy is the foundation of our country, it is the means by which the government serves and protects its citizens. Whereas politics is the art of selling fundamental ideals disguised as policy.
Because the Ryan Plan has no hope of ever feeling the soft and vigorous stroke of the Brown OBomber’s John Hancock, it is a political agenda and not a policy driven statute. The Ryan Budget plan called for all the things that would make Rush Limbaugh cream his pants, if he could still fit into pants. Massive spending cuts that would send the federal government by more than half a century, drastic conversion of Medicare to resemble something like a soup kitchen, and alter the tax code into something that would enrage Warren Buffet and elate Donald Trump. Whatever happened to pragmatic solutions some ask? Oh yeah, it’s an election year, duh. From its conception, Republicans never meant for this plan to become law. If it somehow did become law, I believe that many Republican Congressmen would lament their support. They have to know that it is just political maneuver and not sensible policy making.
The real question that Congress now faces is how to reduce the deficit pragmatically before the spending cut triggers, set in place as part of the last debt ceiling compromise, cut entitlements and military spending, something neither party wants. It is important to note that we have been down this road before under the less hostile conditions of a presidential election year. The Speaker of the House, which we will call Big-Boehner, attempted to create a pragmatic debt reduction bill that he and the Brown O’Bomber negotiated down to a tentative gentlemen’s agreement last summer.
The deal, referred to as a grand bargain between the two party heads included compromises on spending cuts, Medicare reform, entitlement changes, and a complicated revenue increase arrangement that acted like a tax increase under the guise of the expiration of the Bush-era tax-cuts. The deal left a sour taste in both Republicans and Democrats alike. Neither side was going to get what they really wanted but both sides would get something they both would like to have, and it would reduce the deficit. In the end the bargaining broke down over misunderstandings, lack of support for continued negotiations that would weaken fundamental principles on both the right and the left, and the failure to understand the radicalization of the congressional right. Perhaps by design, both Big-Boehner and the Brown OBomber blamed each other for collapsing the grand compromise, which would have been a legacy-building step into history for both statesmen.
With summer approaching like a ten year old cannonballing into a pool, American politicians prepare for a new showdown over debt reduction, tax cuts, entitlements, and government spending. The hope is that more political figures will take to heart the pragmatic view of Otto Von Bismarck, one of the few good German political leaders of history, who said “Politics is the art of the possible.”