Paul Ryan's Grand Vision

Maybe the GOP's vice-presidential pick has a plan for the well-off, but what about everyone else?

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Illustration by Oliver Munday for TIME; Ryan: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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In Ryan's 2010 budget, all taxes on capital gains were lifted. By this standard, according to the Atlantic, Romney would have paid a tax rate of less than 1% in 2010, the only year for which we have his returns. In some of his proposals, Ryan has replaced the capital gains tax with a sales tax, or VAT, which would have the perverse effect of raising taxes on the middle class and poor while lowering them for the rich. In Ryan's world--in Rand's fantasy--average folks are taxed because they haven't had the good sense to become wealthy.

Because of the hilariously inappropriate tax cuts, Ryan's budget doesn't reduce the deficit very quickly, but it is imbalanced on the backs of the poor and elderly. I believe that poverty is often the result of inappropriate behavior--out-of-wedlock births, dropping out of school, crime and drugs--which should not be rewarded. But often it isn't, and common decency requires that we take care of the least of these. Ryan's Medicare proposal is Exhibit A when it comes to his casual inhumanity: he would force the elderly, many of whom are addled and decrepit, to make market choices in one of the most complicated, opaque markets around. Ryan's Medicaid proposal would eviscerate long-term care for the elderly poor. Republicans whine about class warfare, but what is this? It is a reversion to a more brutal, less humane state of nature. It is an "idea" whose time has gone.

MORE: The Ryan Budget: A Primer on What's Now the Hottest Topic in 2012

TO READ JOE'S BLOG POSTS, GO TO time.com/swampland

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