* Jonathan Cohn has an excellent analysis of the Paul Ryan budget, how it would impose hardships on seniors who rely on Medicare, and why the changes to Medicaid could be even more consequential. As Cohn rightly keeps telling us, the Medicaid piece isn’t getting the attention it deserves.
* Last year, the Center on Budget and Priorities claimed the last Ryan plan would would likely produce “the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history.”
Well, CBPP’s analysis of the new Ryan plan is in, and it is every bit as devastating, again underscoring how little has changed:
Ryan’s new budget is just as extreme. Its cuts in programs for low-income and vulnerable Americans appear as massive as in last year’s budget, and its tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans could be larger than in last year’s.
In addition, in critical ways the budget is exceedingly vague — and, as a result, its claim to reach balance in ten years is hard to take seriously. It leaves unspecified hundreds of billions of dollars in budget cuts as well as the several trillion dollars of needed tax expenditure savings to pay for its proposed deep cuts in income tax rates. Thus, the budget’s fiscal claims rest on massive magic asterisks.
Read the whole thing.
* Nice catch by Dana Milbank on a key line at Paul Ryan’s presser:
“Look, whether the country intended it or not, we have divided government,” Ryan replied, suggesting that Republicans somehow won the debate while losing the election. “Are a lot of these solutions very popular, and did we win these arguments in the campaign?” Ryan asked himself. “Some of us think so.”
No, these solutions are not popular, and it’s unclear how Republicans “won these arguments” if they didn’t, you know, win the election.
* Paul Krugman asks an important question about the Ryan plan:
Nothing has changed, except that the plan has gotten even crueler…the only really interesting question is how the VSPs will react. Have they had enough of the Flimflam Man? Or does hype spring eternal?
I predict hype does not spring eternal. But we’ll see.
* The fundamental imbalance between the two sides’ handling of the fiscal impasse really can’t be spelled out with any more clarity than Steve Benen has now done.
* A very sobering take on the fiscal fight from Steve Kornacki:
And so here we are in mid-March, with the sequester taking hold and another debt ceiling deadline looming in a few months. Maybe Republicans will end up allowing a drama-free debt ceiling increase and maybe Obama will ultimately get his grand bargain. But even if he does, he’s now on course to spend much of the first year of his second term waging the same fiscal battle his reelection was supposed to end once and for all. And, of course, there’s a decent chance he won’t get his grand bargain, and that the sequester is here to stay.
* I agree with Andrew Rosenthal that the degree to which the GOP is out of sync with public opinion on many major issues is an important and largely under-appreciated story.
* Catch of the day, courtesy of Jed Lewison: Ryan’s unfortunate slip-up at his presser today:
This to us is something that we’re not going to give up on, because we’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people.
* Mitch McConnell makes it official: We’re heading for another debt limit showdown in which Republicans will demand entitlement cuts for a debt ceiling hike. This, even as the sequester will intensify! Being the party of austerity-only and crisis-to-crisis governing is not sustainable over the long term.
* And the chart of the day: Matthew Yglesias demonstrates that the Senate Dem budget is a pretty reasonable, middle-of-the-road offer, even if won’t make the deficit hawks swoon:
I think the Pete Peterson crowd is going to look at this and say that it doesn’t really tackle the long-term drivers of deficit growth. The flipside is that it lays out a sustainable path over the next 10 years and does so without any drastic cuts to popular programs or asking the poor to pay a disproportionate price for deficit reduction.
ICYMI: My similar reaction here.