At the New Republic, Jonathan Cohn writes,“Paul Ryan has released his new budget proposal, ‘The Path to Prosperity.’ It looks almost exactly like his old budget proposal.” Cohn continues, “That tells us a lot about Ryan’s priorities — and how little interest he and his allies have in moderating their views, even though the public rejected them last year. Imagine Walter Mondale returning to Congress in 1985 and proposing a budget that undid President Reagan's other words, the exact same thing he’d proposed in his losing campaign for the presidency. That will give you some idea of what Ryan is proposing.”

Yes, it’s exactly like that — except that Obama won 51 percent of the vote and 26 states, while Reagan won 59 percent of the vote (beating Mondale by more than 18 percentage points) and 49 states. (Mondale managed to squeak out a win his home state of Minnesota by 0.2 percentage points and less than 4,000 votes.) Oh, and Ryan is still the House Budget Committee chairman because, in 2012, the American people chose to give Republicans the vast majority of seats in the House of Representatives.

Nevertheless, apparently Ryan was simply supposed to go along with at least the gist of Obama’s budget. But even if, for some strange reason, he’d wanted to do that, it would have been impossible — since Obama is now more than a month late in submitting his budget, in plain violation of federal law.

Cohn also continues to make the false claim, in defiance of the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis, that Ryan’s proposed Medicare reforms would transform it into a “voucher” program (or a “voucher scheme,” as Cohn writes). In truth, Ryan’s proposal to give each senior premium support, which would be paid directly by the government to an insurer of that senior’s choice, no more involves vouchers than do existing federal programs like Medicare Part D (the Medicare prescription drug benefit) or the health program for members of Congress.

Cohn knows this, of course. But saying “voucher” allows him to falsely suggest that Ryan’s plan would leave seniors to fend for themselves — that they would receive a coupon in the mail (if the Post Office didn’t lose it first), would be left to negotiate with insurance companies on their own, and would presumably lose all of their health benefits if they were to lose their cherished coupon.

Such is the current degree of seriousness on the political left.

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