How Not To Cut Government
Matthew Yglesias calls out Paul Ryan for claiming to want to strengthen the “social safety net”:
[O]ne of Ryan’s oddest ticks is that along with a passion for reducing spending on programs that benefit poor people. . .he loves to talk about his devotion to the safety net!
Whether or not the entitlement state benefits poor people is debatable. But Ryan does indeed talk about his devotion to the “safety net” in an op-ed in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. Defending his new budget, Ryan says that “it strengthens the safety net by returning power to the states, which are in the best position to tailor assistance to their specific populations.”
Yglesias takes it as obvious that Ryan’s true conviction is that wealth redistribution programs are wrong, and that his paean to the entitlement state is therefore disingenuous.
I don’t have a view of where Ryan’s loyalties actually lie, but I do know this. Ryan severely undercuts the case for limiting government when he trumpets that his budget “strengthens the safety net.” Why? Because the clear implication is that anything that weakens the entitlement state is bad.
Ryan is handing the left the high moral ground when he should be seizing it. Ironically, it is Yglesias who, in characterizing what a “tax cutting Ayn Rand fan” should be saying, defends the limited government view more effectively than Ryan: “Keep the money in the hands of the job creators who earned it rather than handing it out to the moochers and looters . . . .”