Refreshing Paul Ryan’s bad memory

Refreshing Paul Ryan's bad memory
Refreshing Paul Ryan's bad memory
Associated Press

In anticipation of President Obama’s economic address this afternoon, congressional Republicans made an announcement of their own overnight: they intend to fight tooth and nail to slash public investments, regardless of the economic effects, on everything from infrastructure to environmental protections, health care to energy efficiency, law enforcement to transportation.

Looking at the GOP plan, one starts to get the impression that Republicans hold some kind of personal grudge against struggling American families, as evidenced by plans to cut “education grants for poor students and slash Community Development Block Grants to a level below the funding during the Ford administration – and Ford created the block grants.

House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) said, in reference to the president, “His priorities are going nowhere.”

No, of course not. It’s not like the American public twice elected him to the nation’s highest office by fairly wide margins, right?

This, however, was the talking point that rankled.

“It’s about time we cut some spending around here,” said Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Here’s the problem: Ryan’s inability to remember the recent past is becoming a cause for concern. In 2011, Congress and the White House agreed to a deficit reduction package that cut government spending by roughly $1.5 trillion. That’s “trillion” with a “t.” Then Washington cut spending even more with the ridiculous sequestration cuts that hurt the country on purpose.

It’s one of the reasons government spending has stalled during the Obama era and the deficit is shrinking at its fastest pace since World War II.

If the typical American doesn’t remember this, that’s a shame. When the chairman of the House Budget Committee – a guy the Beltway perceives as a numbers wonk – doesn’t remember this, it’s far more discouraging.

Indeed, this is a reminder of my ongoing thesis: Paul Ryan has the worst memory in American politics.

Ryan doesn’t remember that he used to refer to his own plan to end Medicare as “vouchers.”

Ryan doesn’t remember taking credit for the sequestration policy he later condemned.

Ryan doesn’t remember learning about Democratic alternatives to the sequester.

Ryan doesn’t remember what happened with the 2011 “super committee.”

Ryan doesn’t remember Bill Clinton’s tax increases.

Ryan doesn’t remember the times he condemned social-insurance programs as “taker” programs.

Ryan doesn’t remember all of the times he appealed to the Obama administration for stimulus funds for his congressional district.

Ryan doesn’t remember his marathon times.

Ryan doesn’t remember how much he was inspired by Ayn Rand.

Ryan doesn’t remember his own speeches.

As we’ve discussed, everyone can be forgetful once in a while, but the Republican Budget Committee chairman seems to forget rather important details and developments so often, it’s unsettling.

Unless, of course, his memory is fine and Ryan is simply prefers near-constant efforts to mislead the public. That couldn’t be, could it?