Was Malthus ever a drunk frat boy?
Inquiring minds want to know:
[Rep. Paul] Ryan: So, the health care entitlements are the big, big, big drivers of our debt. There are three. Obamacare, Medicaid, and Medicare. Two out of three are going through Congress right now. So, Medicaid—sending it back to the states, capping its growth rate. We’ve been dreaming of this since you and I were drinking out of a keg.
[Rich] Lowry: I was thinking about something else, he was thinking about reforming Medicaid.
Ryan: I was, I was! I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. We are on the cusp of doing something we’ve long believed in.
Paul Ryan is in desperate need of a visit by three ghosts. He clearly took the wrong lesson from Dickens:
``At this festive season of the year, Mr Scrooge,'' said the gentleman, taking up a pen, ``it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir.''
``Are there no prisons?'' asked Scrooge.
``Plenty of prisons,'' said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
``And the Union workhouses?'' demanded Scrooge. ``Are they still in operation?''
``They are. Still,'' returned the gentleman, `` I wish I could say they were not.''
``The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?'' said Scrooge.
``Both very busy, sir.''
``Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course,'' said Scrooge. ``I'm very glad to hear it.''
``Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude,'' returned the gentleman, ``a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?''
``Nothing!'' Scrooge replied.
``You wish to be anonymous?''
``I wish to be left alone,'' said Scrooge. ``Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough: and those who are badly off must go there.''
``Many can't go there; and many would rather die.''
``If they would rather die,'' said Scrooge, ``they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides -- excuse me -- I don't know that.''
``But you might know it,'' observed the gentleman.
``It's not my business,'' Scrooge returned. ``It's enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people's. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!''
Probably occupied him since he was drinking from a keg, back in college.
(It occurs to me just now that Scrooge's last comment is a swipe at Candide. Clearly, since Marley later tells Scrooge: "Mankind was my business!" Which is another thing Ryan needs to learn.)