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Walden Shrugs 

For implicitly endorsing the brutal and destructive philosophy underlying Paul Ryan's plan, Greg Walden gets THE BOOT.

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Last week saw the premiere of a movie based on Atlas Shrugged, the hernia-inducing monster of a novel by Ayn Rand. The unanimous consensus of critics was that it bombed.

Also last week, House Republicans - including the 2nd District's Greg Walden - premiered a turkey of their own: a plan aimed at trimming the federal deficit by $4.4 trillion over the next 10 years. Its twin pillars are (a) if you're rich the government will make you richer, and (b) if you're not rich the government will throw you under the bus.

The plan is the handiwork of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Ryan is a self-professed avid admirer of Ayn Rand and her crackpot philosophy, and his plan shows it.

In The World According to Rand, only the rich and successful have any real value to society. They provide all the brains, talent and creativity to make things work; everybody else is more or less a parasite, a "moocher" or a "looter" sponging off the energy and ability of his betters. Since the rich and successful are the only worthwhile members of society, they deserve the rewards - not just more of the rewards, but all of the rewards.

Thus Ryan's plan proposes to reduce the deficit by, among other things, permanently continuing George W. Bush's tax cuts for billionaires and reducing the top corporate and individual income tax rates to 25% from 35%. (Considering how well trickle-down tax policy worked under Bush, what we clearly need is a much bigger trickle.)

For the looters and moochers (that's you and me) Ryan prescribes harsher medicine. He wants to "reform" (read: "kill") Medicare by turning it into a voucher program in which seniors will get limited subsidies to buy private health insurance. (Considering what a great job the private sector already is doing at providing affordable coverage for Americans under 65, this idea looks like a real winner.) He also wants to make Medicaid a block grant program, meaning states would get a limited annual amount of federal funds and would have to trim health care for low-income residents accordingly.

Initial indications are the "looters" and "moochers" are not eager to embrace Ryan's Randian vision of Utopia. Early polls show more than 70% of Americans strongly oppose the Medicare proposal, in particular. And with Democrats in control of the Senate and White House, the Ryan plan has about as much chance of becoming law as the Atlas Shrugged movie has of copping next year's Best Picture Oscar.

Still, by voting for Ryan's plan - and implicitly endorsing the brutal and destructive philosophy underlying it - Greg Walden and the rest of the House Republicans have given the finger to hundreds of millions of hard-working Americans.

It's not going to make a damn bit of difference what we say about Greg Walden. The Republican Party could get a blue-assed baboon elected in the 2nd District - and someday probably will. But for our own personal gratification, and as a gesture on behalf of the rational and compassionate voters in his district, we're giving him THE BOOT anyway.

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