Green Room

The New York Times’s “cramped vision”

posted at 7:08 pm on August 12, 2012 by

The usual suspects are rending their garments over the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s running mate. Witness the New York Times editorial, Mr. Ryan’s Cramped Vision (a title that has to take a prize for irony, n’est ce pas? The New York Times complaining about someone’s narrow view of the world? Have they no mirrors at the Gray Lady offices?).

In this piece, the paper’s opinionaters are so distraught over the selection of Ryan for vice presidential candidate that they are forced to side with Catholic bishops who’ve objected to the Ryan budget. (NYT ♥Catholic bishops—when did this happen?) And, of course, while the Times’s editorialists worry about the underprivileged under Scrooge Ryan, they tsk-tsk over the bounty he will provide for the wealthy:

All of this will be accompanied, of course, by even greater tax giveaways to the rich, and extravagant benefits to powerful military contractors. Business leaders will be granted their wish for severely diminished watchdogs over the environment, mine safety and food quality.

“Tax giveaways?” For the love of God, can we please get rid of dishonest euphemisms like this? A tax break just lets you keep more of your own money. It doesn’t take money from some unsuspecting naïf and hand it out to a wealthy fat cat in a cutaway and top hat. You might not like that fat cat having so much money, but guess what? It’s not your money, and it’s not your judgment to make. Stop thinking of the economy like it’s a Monopoly game, for crying out loud. Can’t we at least expect that level of sophistication from the “paper of record?”

But, wait, there’s more. The Times ends their wail with:

Mr. Romney had already praised the Ryan budget as “excellent work,” but until Saturday the deliberate ambiguity of his own plans gave him a little room for distance, an opportunity to sketch out a more humane vision of government’s role. By putting Mr. Ryan’s callousness on his ticket, he may have lost that chance.

A “more humane vision of government’s role”?  “Mr. Ryan’s callousness?”

That’s in the eye of the beholder, NYT. From a conservative’s vantage point – even from some liberals’ view – it’s the height of callousness to ignore the fiscal challenges our country faces. And it’s grossly inhumane to continue funding programs that do not open the door to opportunity but instead stymie initiative and self-respect. And…asking other people to fund these ineffective programs is not compassion, unless you’re using a relativist definition that takes into consideration how self-righteous the “takers” feel when purloining neighbors’ cash for their “good deeds.”

This compassion/humane argument always steams me. It’s as if liberals like those at the New York Times are rock solid sure that their approach confirms how compassionate they are, and anyone who disagrees and wants to try other ways to help those in need…is just a scurrilous scumbag who wants to reap profits instead of helping people. Nice caricature. Makes disagreements so much easier when you can smugly assume the mantle of virtue while portraying your adversaries as heartless profiteers.

Whenever I’m confronted with this kind of reasoning, I end up thinking of …drivers who annoy me by waving on left-turners while backing up traffic.

You know the type. You’re sitting in a long line at a light, and someone up ahead gets the notion to “help” an oncoming left-turner by stopping and waving them through the intersection, even when doing so might create a hazard for the turner.

The waver has no idea who is more deserving of moving forward. For all he knows, the line of cars behind him might contain a mother rushing a sick child to the doctor, or a father hurrying to see his daughter in a school play or even a spouse hoping to make it to the airport before her loved one flies off for a deployment…and the left-turner could be a drug dealer on his way to his latest score. No, all that matters to the waver is how good he feels about himself for doing something “nice” for someone else.

That’s what these noxious editorialists are like. They assume because they think the action is humane and compassionate, it must be—after all, they’re thinking of it! And they’re good people! Break out the champagne! Who cares whether the policies they advocate actually work to bring people out of poverty into opportunity? What really matters is how good these do-gooders feel about themselves.

That’s a “cramped vision,” if ever there was one.

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You might not like that fat cat having so much money, but guess what? It’s not your money, and it’s not your judgment to make.

“Fat cats” having money means that they can pay me to do something for them. I like that.
Tax them more, and they will not work as hard to make that money, and the tax will mean that they have even less of it to pay me with. I don’t like that.

Count to 10 on August 12, 2012 at 7:17 PM

How callous of Paul Ryan to try and solve the problems Obama ignores.

magicbeans on August 12, 2012 at 7:28 PM

I think the CBS interview was great…Scheiffer tried his hardest to put them on the defense about the tax returns but Mitt and Paul handled it great…Romney/Ryan 2012

Txjewelya on August 12, 2012 at 7:39 PM

The NYT has the cramps all right…most of them coming from Krugmans continous PMS.

HumpBot Salvation on August 12, 2012 at 8:39 PM

I blame the Disney character Scrooge McDuck for the idiotic view the left has of wealth.
In the Scrooge McDuck comics, Unca’ Scrooge keeps his wealth in the form of gold, coins, and cash in a secret vault hidden in the mountains where he goes to swim in his money.
Leftists seem to think that’s how wealth is really held, rather than as investments in the markets and businesses that employ the middle class. They also seem to think that wealth is a fixed quantity that flows from one place to another rather than being a variable that is created and destroyed.

single stack on August 13, 2012 at 8:44 AM

Someone ought to do a comparison of Democrats’ attacks on Ryan this year and back in 2010.
I’ve heard a bunch of left wing commentators saying how easy it will be to make him look bad (he wants to kill grandma, he wants poor people to starve, etc.), but I think we’ve heard all this before. Why would the New York Times, or anyone else think that an argument that didn’t work in the midterms will work now?

Mahna Mahna on August 13, 2012 at 9:02 AM

I trust the NYT about as far as I can throw a 50 ton boulder.

sadatoni on August 13, 2012 at 9:56 AM

environment, mine safety and food quality.

The NYT really should do basic research, (I know too much to ask right?), environmental protections, mine accident rates, and incident rates of food borne illnesses have all steadily improved over the last few decades under both Dem and Rep administrations.

The data does not lie, but the NYT surely does.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on August 13, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Brilliant piece, Libby! We should all post snippets of this article on the NYT comments page and watch liberal heads explode. It’ll be fun. Their rage will be breathtaking…but only because we’ll be laughing so hard.

idalily on August 13, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Will the NYT’s writers ever figure out the difference between compassion & coercion?

Olo_Burrows on August 14, 2012 at 4:17 AM