Let ’em eat cake…

The annual Ojai Playwrights Conference is in town.  That’s where a bunch of writers take money from locals like me to watch a half-finished play performed by people wearing t-shirts, jeans and sandals, reading from three-ring notebooks on a stage that has no scenery, no props, no music.  And it only costs $25 a performance.  What’s that all about?

Well it’s pretty damn good entertainment.  Even on a sweltering day like yesterday when we drove over to the Zalk Theater in the Makows’ still new electric hybrid Ford Focus.  I can’t get used to sitting in the back seat while the car pulls out of the driveway without a sound.  I want to yell “Hey Yoram, switch on the engine before you lose control of this thing.”

You say, how hot was it Saturday?   It was one of those days where all of the oxygen seems to have been squeezed out of the air.  You breathe but nothing happens.  You compare it to what it must be like on the surface of Mars where the bazillion dollar space oddity Curiosity is currently taking pictures of rocks and confirming their existence on a planet that just screams for a Starbucks iced coffee.

The heat of the day was preceded by the announcement of Mitt’s selection of straight man Paul Ryan.  In turn it was accompanied by a slew of pundits predicting the Ryan impact on the polling numbers.   These ranged from “it’s an early Christmas gift to the Obama campaign” to “Obama might as well pack it in and return to where he came from…Kenya.”

Try as I might, I could not make a legitimate case for believing that Ryan was simply a re-run of Sarah Palin after a sex change operation.  On the other hand, I thought back to that night four years ago when I went to Tony’s house right after the who-the-hell-is-she Snow Queen had made her acceptance speech at the Republican convention.  “She’s something else” Tony said.  “Going to be tough to deal with and a real boost for McCain.”  Gloom.  Doom.  Pack it in.  Fuggetaboudit.

My own carefully researched conclusion is that Ryan was picked because he’s got a one track mind and is not easily confused by the facts.  His track is straight and narrow…squeeze the little guy and give the juice to the big guy.  Or as lovely Marie is reputed to have said so succinctly, “What, no bread? Let ’em eat cake.”

Rather than plaguing poor Mitt with insisting on the redundant disclosure of his we-already-know-what’s-in-them tax returns, we can focus our attention on the likely impact of the much publicized Ryan Budget.  You surely have heard of it.  It’s the only thing that the Republicans deal with in the House when they’re not voting for the repeal of Obamacare, or finding new ways to return women to second class status in accordance with biblical law.

In order to free you up from watching anything until November 5th other than reruns of Have Gun Will Travel, here’s just a few things that you need to remember about Mr. Ryan’s philosophy.  Pay close attention because this is what Mitt, Paul and the Tea Party congress have pledged themselves to begin working on next January.

—You will have the pleasure of getting a healthcare voucher that you can use to pay for an unstipulated set of benefits  from the friendly  insurer of your choice.  If the voucher doesn’t cover your needs, tough.  Ryan insists that this will bring competition to the marketplace, something that we have tried and failed at for the last hundred years and that no other civilized country would even dream of.  If you find yourself in an alley dragging your non-covered hernia behind you, eat cake.

—States will receive Medicaid block grants and can stipulate who gets what benefits and how much.  An estimated fifteen million people will lose their current healthcare coverage, especially in Texas.  Let ’em eat cake.

—Ryan is a staunch supporter of the privatization of Social Security.  That’s where you, as a highly qualified financial analyst, will decide where to invest your retirement funds.  And, if you should put all your beans into a Lehman Brothers clone or a Bernie Madoff look-alike, eat cake.

—Ryan’s stance on abortion equals or exceeds that of Michele Bachman.  No abortions, period.  Even if the life of the mother is in danger.  He co-sponsored a bill defining fertilized eggs as human beings, even though they can’t eat cake.

—His most recent budget would shrink government spending on everything but entitlements and defense by two-thirds.  That includes silly things like education, law enforcement, highways, job training for displaced people, Pell grants for students, and food stamps for the hungry.  Cake for everyone.

—The non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities had this to say about the boon that will accrue to the wealthy based on Ryan’s tax cuts…In essence, this budget is Robin Hood in reverse — on steroids. It would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times (and possibly in the nation’s history).

—Catholic Bishops responding to Ryan’s proposed cuts in the safety net  said in an April letter to the House that this proposed budget will hurt hungry children, poor families, vulnerable seniors and workers who cannot find employment. These cuts are unjustified and wrong.  Mr. Ryan responded by saying that he was helping the poor by eliminating their dependence on government.

He really meant to say let ’em eat cake.  And if that doesn’t work, squeeze all the oxygen out of the air.

10 Responses to “Let ’em eat cake…”

  1. 1 Bobbie Boschan August 12, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    This is a keeper, Fred…Always appreciate your clarity! I wonder what flavor cake we will be eating!


  2. 2 Irvin Lucks August 12, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Brilliant-I will pass your analysis on to others


  3. 3 Anne Shrage August 12, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    This takes the cake! I will certainly echo your words..when all the discussion about Ryan comes up…


  4. 4 Dick Matthews August 12, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    Thanks for this, Fred. Although I cannot see why everyone’s reaction is not like this, I have an uneasy feeling that there are a substantial number who believe that if only we could arrest out all these illegal freeloaders and cast them into the exterior darkness where they belong, there would be more than enough for the clearly deserving who are suffering at their their greedy hands.
    Regards to you and Ila


  5. 5 leila August 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    I like chocolate cake, but then my doctor does not allow me to eat it.
    I will share mine with you so it will not go to waste.
    love ya all


  6. 6 Alice Witkowski August 13, 2012 at 4:38 am

    I will pass this one to my demo friends to use with their nutso Rep friends..don’t be mistaken in our 55+ almost all jewish community there are a lot of repub who don’t want to help anyone but themselves.


  7. 7 michael August 13, 2012 at 5:58 am

    Mmm… Martian cake? Higgs cake? I can see him saying, “We don’t need science research, it’s too expensive”, and cutting all these programs.

    And then, 20 years from now, with no science geeks growing up, no research, we are far behind all the other countries, and no one bothers with our opinions or even wants our dollars anymore.


  8. 8 leo August 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Sharp and insightful.

    Thanks fredila.


  9. 9 Nancy August 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Mr. Ryan’s brave stand on Medicare doesn’t actually effect anyone over 55 (because they vote). It doesn’t even take effect for 10 years, which makes it an odd way to be either a stimulus or deficit reduction plan now. And if anyone thinks they can bind Congress to something 10 years from now, they are eating a very suspicious type of cake (probably more like brownies).


  10. 10 Sheila August 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    In the doldrums of the early afternoon when i have already worked too much, I greatly appreciate your insightful and VERY amusing musings.


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