On Monday’s installment of NOW, we discussed New York magazine writer Jonathan Chait’s (excellent and very informative) article “The Legendary Paul Ryan.” A lot has been said about the Ryan budget – and, no doubt, a lot more will be said – by folks on both sides of the aisle. While there remain many mysteries and unanswered questions regarding the specifics of Ryan’s plan, Chait highlights a key component of the budget: programs for the poor are one fifth of the federal budget – but they absorb 62% of Ryan’s cuts. “You could call all this a ‘deficit reduction plan,’” writes Chait, “but it would be more accurate to call it ‘a plan to cut tax rates and spending on the poor and sick.’” As we go into the general election and each side debates the merits of the plan (cough: Mitt Romney), this seems like something that every American should know. In other words: THIS IS THE STUFF THAT HAND-HELD LAMINATED CARDS ARE MADE OF, AMERICA.
Some folks may have thought I was “kidding” when I suggested that we do just that – but, as should be apparent by now, we never joke about lamination or hand held cards on this television program. And so our talented team of artists and producers has made a double-sided card with relevant Ryan stats, as well as choice nuggets from Mr. Chait’s piece. In the coming months, we expect to be debating budgets and the American social compact quite a bit. Next time someone casually makes reference to the “moderate” Ryan budget, we’ll all be able to remind him (or her) that it uninsures up to 57 million Americans.