Paul Ryan, who has been described as “Sarah Palin with a Power Point presentation,” is a clever illusionist, who claims he can perform an astounding balancing act on the federal budget.
He begins his stunt by dividing taxpayers into two brackets: the top paying 25%; the lower paying 10%. All taxes on capital gains, inheritance and interest would—abracadabra!—disappear, as would taxes for Romney and his buddies.
Follow closely, now, for the hand is, indeed, quicker than the eye. To perform his magic, Ryan needs to cut $4 trillion from the federal budget. Impossible, you say? In Ryan’s deceptive shell game, 40% will come from transportation and education funding and 23% from veteran and social programs. Voila!
In more hocus-pocus, Social Security and Medicare are cleverly shrunk. Then, presto! And approximately 44 million people will lose Medicaid coverage. Medicare, as we know it, would be replaced with vouchers for the purchase of private insurance beginning in 2023.
No wonder religious leaders are condemning these acts of political legerdemain. During their 17-city tour, “Nuns on the Bus” called the Ryan budget “immoral,” the “height of hypocrisy,” even “unpatriotic.” For those who claim churches can pick up the slack, sister Simone Campbell, leader of traveling nuns agrees, but only if each house of worship in the U.S. came up with an extra $50,000 annually for ten years. And, that, she concludes, is an impossible feat.
As politicians and magicians know, such sleight of hand as Ryan proposes is all done with smoke and mirrors and played to gullible, mouth-gaping audiences. For his next trick, Ryan hopes to help Mitt pull a rabbit out of the hat in November. If he can do that, he may replace Houdini as the Great Illusionist.