Today's Republican party doesn't look much like it did in Ronald Reagan's dayOne thing about the Tea Party-Republican extremists holding elected office now-a-days is their compulsion to follow partisan marching orders, no matter how dangerous and extreme.
This dynamic is worrying to some past Republicans such as Reagan budget director, David Stockman (1981–1985), who blasted the current GOP ticket's fiscal plan, such as it is, in a New York Times op-ed.
The Times column—likely not widely read among the rural, white working class sought by Romney and Ryan—ought to at least stimulate some thought before voters consider casting their votes for this most radical and least rational-minded presidential ticket in modern American history.
Writes Henry Blodget at Tech Ticker:
Stockman calls the budget an "empty conservative sermon" and "fairy tale" and says it will "do nothing to reverse the nation's economic decline and arrest its fiscal collapse."
Stockman's main complaint about the Ryan budget, which reflects his broader frustration with today's Republican party, is that it preserves massive and, in his view, unnecessary spending on Defense and other programs while screwing people who actually need help by cutting food stamps, Medicaid, and other efforts that lessen the pain of poverty.
Stockman also rails against the new "Wall Street-coddling" bailout Republicans like Ryan, who stand by and let the Federal Reserve fix interest rates, encourage speculators, crush savors, encourage overconsumption, and punish thrift.
Specifically, Stockman observes, Ryan's "phony" budget plan:
In short, Stockman says, Ryan's plan is "devoid of credible math or hard policy choices." Harsh words coming from a fellow Republican. But, then, today's Republican party doesn't look much like it did in Stockman and Reagan's day.
- Maintains Defense spending that is nearly twice the $400 billion (adjusted for today's dollars) that General Eisenhower spent in the 1960s
- Shreds the safety net provided by $100 billion in food stamps and $300 billion in Medicaid
- Does not cut one dime from Medicare or Social Security for another decade
- Includes no serious plan to create jobs
- Radically cuts taxes on the richest Americans while eliminating tax breaks that mostly help the middle class
- Fails to even consider a "value-added sales tax," which is the only way the country can begin to climb out of its budget hole