Paul Ryan Caught on Tape: ‘We’re Not Going to Give Up on Destroying the Health Care System for the American People’

Remember Kinsley’s rule: In Washington, a gaffe is when someone accidentally tells the truth:

Republican House Budget Committee Chairman PAUL RYAN: “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.”

The “new” Republican budget released by Ryan, the infamous zombie-eyed granny starver, is the same as the old budget he drafted — it voucherizes Medicare, repeals Obamacare and the rest. Why would Republicans phone in a new budget that’s the same as the budget that is unpopular in the polls and was rejected by Congress?

Paul Krugman cuts to the heart of it:

Republicans don’t care about the deficit. They care about exploiting the deficit to pursue their goal of dismantling the social insurance system. They want a fiscal crisis; they need it; they’re enjoying it. I mean, how is “starve the beast” supposed to work? Precisely by creating a fiscal crisis, giving you an excuse to slash Social Security and Medicare.

The idea that they’re going to cheerfully accept a deal that will take the current deficit off the table as a scare story without doing major damage to the key social insurance programs, and then have a philosophical discussion about how we might change those programs over the longer term, is pure fantasy. That would amount to an admission of defeat on their part.

The most famous quote about these matters came from Dick Cheney, back in 2003, when his administration was ramming another tax cut — one of the Bush tax cuts that eventually did so much to hobble the economy — through the Republican-controlled Congress. Speaking to then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, he said, “You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don’t matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due.”

Republicans only care about the deficit when Democrats are in charge.

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