We must love boisterous blowhards. As Americans, we are fixated on people who make loud, definitive declarations so we can stand behind them waving our oversized number-one foam-fingers chanting: â€śGo team! Win!â€ť If you take away all the nebbishy number-crunching and bureaucracy â€“ which is most of government â€“ politics is all posturing and platitude landing.
Thereâ€™s an entire industry (cable â€śnewsâ€ť) solely devoted to bold assertions as entertainment. This means weâ€™re subjected to a colossal amount of failed predictions and prognostications. Yes, if both sides say theyâ€™re absolutely correct â€“ at least one has to be wrong.
But as Americans we like the courage it takes to stand up and be inaccurate. We hate handwringing and pandering â€“ itâ€™s just not fun to watch. We still like that swagger of a sure-of-himself cowboy. We love to love them, and we love to hate them â€“ which is why Republicans tout Congressman Paul Ryanâ€™s budget plan as â€śbraveâ€ť despite being unable to bring themselves to call it â€śpragmatic.â€ť
Ryan, widely admitted Ayn Rand fanboy who seems unaware that she wrote libertarian-fantasy fiction while collecting social security and Medicare, is the new GOP â€śitâ€ť guy. After the State of the Union, Ryan gave the rebuttal (dubbed a Debbie Downer), and his name is what the GOP wants you to think of since theyâ€™ve been re-branded as the fiscally fretful Tea Party.
And, in homage to Republican titles meaning the opposite of what theyâ€™ll actually do (e.g., The Clean Skies Act), Ryanâ€™s plan is titled, â€śThe Path to Prosperity.â€ť
In early April, Ryan wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed: â€śA study just released by the Heritage Center for Data Analysis projects that The Path to Prosperity will help create nearly one million new private-sector jobs next year, bring the unemployment rate down to 4% by 2015, and result in 2.5 million additional private-sector jobs in the last year of the decade. It spurs economic growth, with $1.5 trillion in additional real GDP over the decade. According to Heritageâ€™s analysis, it would result in $1.1 trillion in higher wages and an average of $1,000 in additional family income each year.â€ť
Ooh, a study! How authoritative! The Heritage Foundation also loved the Bush Tax Cuts. LOVED them. In April 2001, they released a study stating: â€śThe Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis (CDA) conducted a dynamic simulation of the proposals in the Presidentâ€™s tax relief plan. The final results show that the Bush plan would significantly increase economic growth and family income while substantially reducing federal debt.â€ť
The federal debt grew nearly $5 trillion under the Bush Administration.
And increased economic growth? New York Timesâ€™ economic journalist David Leonhardt wrote of the Bush Years, â€śIn the four decades that the Census Bureau has been tracking household income, there has never before been a full decade in which median income failed to rise.â€ť
1) Effectively pay off the federal debt;
2) Reduce the federal surplus by $1.4 trillion;
3) Substantially increase family income;
4) Save the entire Social Security surplus and increase personal savings;
5) Create more job opportunities.
They continued, â€śAs Chart 1 shows, over 1.6 million more Americans would be working at the end of FY 2011â€¦â€ť
You donâ€™t need to be an economist or have ever uttered the phrase â€śthink tankâ€ť to know each point, to put it gently, did not come to fruition.
To their credit the Heritage Foundation still has the report on their website, which is what I call actually â€śbrave.â€ť Especially since their â€śanalysisâ€ť was erroneous â€“ completely and unequivocally wrong. The limp excuse that the Heritage Foundation couldnâ€™t have accounted for 9/11 still doesnâ€™t explain why they continue touting the same failed policies over and over again. This time â€“ Ryanâ€™s. Trickle-down, supply-side, make-the-rich-richer policies have not done what they were supposed to do. In fact and in â€śreality,â€ť theyâ€™ve done just the opposite.
How will this time be different? It wonâ€™t.
But being louder and doubling down can effectively obscure the track record.