I’m tired of divided government. It doesn’t work very well,” Ryan said recently at a Washington forum. “We’ve gotten some good things done. But the big things—poverty, the debt crisis, the economy, health care—these things are stuck in divided government, and that’s why we think a unified Republican government’s the way to go.” Ryan isn’t going to let congressional Democrats stand in his way, either: he plans to rely on the powerful budgetary tool of reconciliation, allowing much of his agenda to override Democratic opposition with a simple majority vote. With the GOP already in control of Congress, all Ryan needs is a President Trump to shred America’s social safety net.
Ryan, of course, was the author of budget manifestos marking out the right’s governing vision during the Obama age. Among other things, Ryan hoped to voucherize Medicare and send seniors into the private insurance market. He wanted to liquidate Medicaid and cut the poor a tax credit instead. He’d shower the wealthy with some $6 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade, paid for with deep cuts to programs for the poor like food stamps and Pell Grants. At one time, he intended to partially privatize Social Security—a conservative dream deferred for the time being.