So, now, nearly a week after Michael Brown was shot to death, we learn that he was a suspect in a robbery. This is so damn convenient. Suddenly, Michael Brown has been changed from a man minding his own business, a victim, into a criminal trying to evade arrest. One would figure, and this could be just me, that this piece of crucial information would’ve been released at the time of the shooting. (Here’s the police report.)
Ferguson was quiet last night. There were demonstrations and protests, but it appears that there was no violence. This the first good thing that I have been able to write about Ferguson, Missouri in nearly a week.
I wish I could write something thoughtful and insightful about Michael Brown and the events that happened in Ferguson, Missouri. I really can’t. Although there are lots of people forming opinions and writing long dissertations, there really aren’t that many solid facts. I know that Michael Brown was shot after an altercation with police. I know that he was unarmed. I know that the police handled the situation extremely badly. This led to violent clashes with police over the next several days. That’s about all I know. (We just found out, six days after the shooting, that Michael Brown was a suspect in a convenience store robbery. Was this mistaken identity? Was he really the suspect who robbed the convenience store of cigars?)
Remember Paul Ryan and his “Path to Prosperity” budget proposal? The last three or four years Paul Ryan has been the conservative economic guru in the House. He was the one who put together a proposal that reflected conservative values. He talked about the president’s 2012 budget proposal and described it as “Autopilot spending [that] will soon crowd out all other priorities in the federal budget, with spending on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and interest on the national debt eclipsing all anticipated revenue by 2025. Borrowing and spending by the public sector will crowd out investment and growth in the private sector.” A funny thing has happened, none of the doom and gloom which Paul Ryan predicted with his crystal ball has actually come true. As Paul Krugman points out, the problem with Paul Ryan’s budget was really twofold. First, deep spending cuts in aid to the poor. At the same time, there would be the budget cuts for taxes on the rich. Secondly, the Paul Ryan budget (actually there been multiple budgets over the last four years, all labeled as paths to prosperity, all with the same flaws) rely on mysterious closing of loopholes in order to balance the budget. None of the tax cuts are paid for. I continue to wonder why anybody takes Paul Ryan seriously. I guarantee you that if I proposed a budget on Capitol Hill which cuts aid to the poor along with wonderful tax cuts in aid to the rich and, on top of all of that, I actually have mysterious ways (think of Barbara Eden in I Dream of Jeannie with her arms crossed) in which all of this math works out, I would’ve been laughed out of Washington. So, why does anybody listen to Paul Ryan anymore?