Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Paul Ryan presidency

My prior post argues that Obama's attacks on Romney's perceived economic competence should focus on what Romney has promised to do as president. As a model, I cited Obama's critique of the Ryan budget last month, which detailed the effects of Ryan's proposed spending cuts if they are spread evenly across all programs.

Today, Ezra Klein details the extent to which a Romney presidency would hew to the Ryan blueprint:
We don’t have to pore over every decision Romney made in Massachusetts to discern what he would do in Washington if elected. Romney and the Republicans in Congress have explained exactly what they intend to accomplish -- and their plans are remarkably in sync.

The budget prepared by Paul Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, and the Romney campaign’s general-election platform look quite similar. Both would cut taxes while flattening the tax code. Their Medicare-reform plans look similar; Ryan even modified his original draft to make it look more like Romney’s, which allows seniors to choose between traditional fee-for-service Medicare and private options.

Their plans to increase defense spending are alike, as are their plans to cut domestic spending and to turn Medicaid, food stamps and other safety-net programs over to the states.

Because it’s difficult to imagine a scenario in which Romney is elected and Republicans don’t hold the House and win control of the Senate, Republicans wouldn’t be stymied by Democratic opposition. They would have the votes to pass their agenda. True, they won’t get a filibuster-proof majority of 60 in the upper chamber, but Ryan’s budget is, well, a budget, which means it could be passed through the budget reconciliation process -- and couldn’t be filibustered. To enact a radical change of direction, Republicans need only a simple majority of votes.

Given that stark reality, perhaps I should rephrase my initial question: Why are we spending so much time discussing what Romney did at Bain ... instead of what he will do as president?
 That's it!  Bring on the bulleted lists of the effects of spending cuts in the Ryan-Romney budgets.

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