Paul Ryan doesn’t get it
US Rep. Paul Ryan ran two races last fall. He went one-for-two. The House budget chief won reelection as a sort of consolation prize, but he lost the race that really counted — a bid to trade his House seat for the vice presidency. The loss stemmed, in large part, from Ryan and his deficit-slashing budget. Democrats were running against Ryan and his budget long before the Wisconsin rep jumped on board Mitt Romney’s presidential ticket, and the pairing of Ryan and Romney gave President Obama a fat target to bash, repeatedly, right through Election Day. November’s presidential election was, in large part, a referendum on Paul Ryan’s ideas about deficits, Medicare and Medicaid. Ryan lost this referendum badly. So, obviously, he’s now back at work in Washington, pushing the same platform that cost him a job promotion in November.
Ryan unveils his new budget today in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column. “The truth is, the nation’s debt is a sign of overreach,” he writes. “Government is trying to do too much, and when government does too much, it doesn’t do anything well. So a balanced budget is a reasonable goal, because it returns government to its proper limits and focus. By curbing government’s overreach, our budget will give families the space they need to thrive.”
A companion piece in the Journal’s news hole notes that the budget blueprint is “almost identical to the Republican presidential platform in 2012.” It pushes Medicare toward private markets and block-grants Medicaid. It wipes away Obamacare, even as the GOP opposition to the health care expansion has splintered.
Ryan’s November loss genuinely caught him by surprise. So he may not see this coming, but Democrats think Ryan is so politically toxic, they’re planning on pillorying him for a second straight election cycle. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is currently eyeing 14 House Republicans who are candidates to try jumping to the Senate in 2014; the DSCC is going to run against every one of them by campaigning against Ryan. According to the Journal, the DSCC sees the House “preparing to walk the plank on the new Republican budget,” and they couldn’t be happier about it.
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A Lowell Sun editorial slams Democratic lawmakers for rejecting a bill that would have required a 24-hour review of last-minute amendments to the state budget. The headline? “Bacon Hill protects its sausage factory.”
The MetroWest Daily News makes the annual Sunshine Week plea for more transparency from state lawmakers, who are the only ones in New England who are not subject to open meeting and public records laws.
Just 6 percent of state tax filers submit paper forms, rather than filing electronically, a figure state officials would like to push as close to zero as possible.
A former Lawrence teacher is the third school district employee to be charged in a bid-rigging and kickback scheme, the Eagle-Tribune reports.
Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt is seeking to remove the police and fire chiefs in his city from the ranks of Civil Service. He says his choice for chief shouldn’t be based on a test score, the Salem News reports.
The Herald’s Inside Track blows a kiss to Boston Mayor Tom Menino.
The Securities and Exchange Commission charges the state of Illinois with securities fraud for failing to disclose the risk of its pension investments, Governing reports. A settlement will allow the state to pay no fine and admit no wrongdoing, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The Colorado Senate passes gun control measures, the Denver Post reports. The US Department of Veterans Affairs says it will not comply with a New York law requiring mental health providers to report potentially dangerous individuals to state authorities, the Albany Times-Union reports.
The Democratic US Senate candidates take to the airwaves.
A 2014 run for governor by Scott Brown looks less likely, the Globe reports, after he lands a job focusing on the financial services sector with the law firm Nixon Peabody.
Former US attorney Michael Sullivan’s website in his run for the Republican nomination for US Senate looks a lot like Richard Tisei’s site during his run for Congress last fall, and it’s no coincidence.
Christopher Dickey, the Middle East correspondent for Newsweek, says Cardinal Sean O’Malley should be the next pope, the Daily Beast reports.
A new study by British researchers shows that analyzing Facebook “likes” is an extremely accurate way to predict people’s personalities and — like you didn’t see this coming — use the information for focused marketing and advertising.
The state Supreme Judicial Court ruled it is illegal for stores to ask credit card customers for their ZIP codes because it can be used to data-mine personal information.
The New England Casino Dealer Academy is ready to train you to work a blackjack table when Massachusetts casinos open their doors.
Pia Durkin, the superintendent of Attleboro schools, has been hired as superintendent in New Bedford to try to turn around that city’s struggling system.
With merger fever gripping the state’s hospitals, Paul Levy wonders if bean counters are the best people to run a health care system.
Crown Drug in Lynn is closing after 28 years, and owner Ted Ball is moving to Rite Aid down the street, the Item reports.
A New York judge overturns a New York City regulation barring the sale of sugary sodas, NPR reports (via WBUR).
US Rep. Ed Markey wants a knife ban reinstated on commercial flights. The TSA recently decided that passengers can again carry small knives on planes.
T union leaders are speaking out after the latest assault on an MBTA bus driver, the 22nd attack on a T employee this year.
The owner of a Middleboro company that had entered into a deal to supply Cape Wind with steel foundations for its turbines says his firm was “used” by the developers and he now doubts the project’s commitment to using domestic products. Here is an AP story (via WBUR) on the dispute.
The coal-burning Brayton Point power station in Somerset has been sold to a private equity firm.
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A former Quincy landlord was convicted in federal court of evading taxes and diverting federal housing money in a $4 million scheme that dated back to 1999.