Points to Mitt Romney. Paul Ryan, unlike the last Republican nominee for vice president, is not a toy surprise from the bottom of a cereal box.
What we have in Ryan is the box — the package — for the flakes Romney sells. Now to see if America is buying.
Unlike his heartbeat-away predecessor, Ryan is a serious player. The seriousness of his plays should cause voters discomfort unless they are in the upper echelons of the tax strata. In the latter case, they now know they truly have a horse in the race, not just the standard-bearer many tea party types beheld as a show pony.
We'll not focus here on concerns about Medicare — Ryan's call to chop it into vouchers and put fixed-income seniors on a starvation diet. Everyone knows that somehow Medicare must be reined in, as with Social Security. (The question: How dramatically? Ryan's is the stuff of Hitchcock.)
No, let's focus on taxes, which is what Ryan's designs are really about.
As Matt Miller of the Washington Post points out, to call Paul Ryan a deficit hawk is to call Lindsey Lohan a police cadet.
Ryan is a spawn of decades of Republican deficit-by-design dogma and trickle-down brew. He is Grover Norquist's every wish — a guy who talks fiscal responsibility while acting irresponsibly.
If Ryan — and Romney, who has embraced Ryan's plan in Congress — truly were concerned about the deficitt, they would not propose tax cuts that would decrease taxes by an average of $250,000 on those making $1 million or more, according to an analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice.
If Ryan and Romney really cared about the debt being left in the laps of today's children and grandchildren they would make sure that billionaires and millionaires felt the pains associated with what needs to be done.
As an Associated Press analysis explains, the Ryan-authored budget cuts, while going easy on the Pentagon, would dramatically impede virtually every form of domestic spending: "highways, farm programs, NASA, weather forecasts, medical research and college aid."
Factor in tax policy, and what Ryan proposes regarding discretionary spending is the fiscal sorcery that got us in the very mess in which we find ourselves.
I second Matt Miller's swipe that Ryan is no fiscal conservative: "A fiscal conservative pays for the government he wants." Ryan's House-approved spending bill "wouldn't reach balance until the 2030s while adding $14 trillion in debt."
Why? One, because he would take defense off the table. Two: Of course, he would cut taxes.
Ryan wants to lower tax rates by compressing the current six brackets into two: 10 percent and 25 percent. The current top rate for the Mitt set is 35 percent. Ryan's plan also would cut the corporate tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent.
Yes, it's that old voodoo. With Ryan aboard, Romney shows his desire for a redo.
Did we say deficit by design? Indeed, for three decades, when in power, while talking "fiscal conservatism," his party applied massive doses of rationalization about the deficit as it grew, first under Reagan, then under H. Bush, then under H.W. Bush. The deficit was no problem when considered as a percentage of GNP, said Ryan's party. Whoopee. Let's wage war. Let's cut taxes.
What these Republicans were doing, of course, was looking forward to the day when the deficit would be so untenable that they could thrash the domestic programs they detested.
So, let's award points to Mitt Romney for informing voters exactly where he wishes the nation to head from here.
One other significant thing about Romney's choosing Ryan, mega-darling of tea party obstructionists. This comes with points for our president:
Now Obama gets to run against the institution that polls find in lower public repute than any other public institution this century: the 113th Congress.
Longtime Texas newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: email@example.com.