Representative Paul Ryan recently announced the Republican long-term budget plan. He calls it, jokingly perhaps, “Path to Prosperity.”
It is a roadmap to hell for the American Economy, the security and solvency of the American family, and the democratic political system of the United States.
Ryan’s plan is to make himself a hero by leading a bunch of first-time (and without much doubt, last-time) legislators into a battle to cut the budget over the dead bodies of mostly poor and elderly Americans. Of course, Obama will veto this legislation, if it gets to his desk, which it probably will not.
Ryan’s plan is simple, really. Do away with Medicare, using a voucher system instead…no matter what they call it. Give Medicaid money to states in a block grant. Turn Social Security into a private retirement system, basically a moveable 401K. Cut billionaire taxes by another 10%! Hello! More tax cuts for the rich!
Let’s understand something. All these social programs have been in place for a long time. They were already built into the Federal budget when Ronald Reagan took office. But when he cut the top rate from 74% down to 28%, he had no mandate to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. But that is how it turned out, or how Ryan and his Neocon buddies see it turning out. Reagan gave big tax breaks which cut revenues, which caused deficits, which accumulated under Reagan, Bush and Bush, and now the Republicans want the middle class and the poor to pay for them.
In fact, the Neocon-Republicans just did it again to the American People a month after they were re-elected. They gave another $800 billion in tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. The same people who had spent $13 trillion more than they took in over 20 years!
The stupid American people even recently elected these same idiots and crooks to a majority in the House of Representatives. Understand this: Since Ronald Reagan we have given tax breaks in about the same amount as the the national debt to the American People by simply borrowing the money from the Federal Government. And we, some of us–Republicans–continued to vote those crooks into office.
If Ronald Reagan had said that his budgets would simply starve the government to the point that, one day, government–after years of not enough money to operate–would have to cut back on those programs, no one would have voted for him. Who would? Who would vote for someone who would give tax breaks to millionaires while stealing the money to pay for those tax breaks from the American people, from the funds they had paid-in to Social Security and Medicare and taxes for Medicaid over countless decades?
The Ryan proposal effectively ends Medicaid by converting the amounts dedicated for Medicaid now sent to the states into block grants. So, for example, when someone like a Governor Walker or a Governor Kasich, who only care, literally only care, for their wealthy Republican supporters, get a block grant from the Federal government, how much of that do you think will go towards Medicaid? These men are racist, elitist, and totally insensitive to the needs of the People. Kasich is an ex-Wall Street opportunist. Walker is a political hack, backed by the multi-billionaire ultra-conservative Koch Family.
The Republican Path to Oblivion tries to cut $6 trillion out of the spending for the next 10 years and reduce the budget by $4.4 trillion. That would be a nice job if it were done properly, but the fact is that the only ones paying the bill in Ryan’s plan are those who earn less than $100,000 per year and the elderly and the destitute.
We recently were involved in a ransom of about 4 million unemployed people. In order to keep them alive and somewhat functioning, with unemployment payments, the Neocons demanded that the government give the rich another $800 billion in tax cuts, which we borrowed from China.
So, after demanding that we give the rich more tax breaks, the Republicans organized all their recently elected governors to try to kill public sector unions. We know that they are not serious about the budget. They are serious about politics and about labor. The Republicans no longer believe in the Middle Class.
The Middle Class will be severely restricted by the Ryan budget. Anyone under 55 will need to begin to save large amounts of money for retirement. Anyone under 55 will need to get good health care and try not to fall ill. Here’s why.
Part of the Ryan proposal is to change Social Security for those under 55. Then he wants to make changes. We’ll address those changes, but first, the facts. Right now (and this is from the Report of the Trustees of the Social Security system) Social Security can pay all recipients for the next twenty-five years (until 2026.) It has, by the way, currently a $2.5 trillion dollar surplus.
But even if we did nothing, the Social Security system would still pay 78% of what it pays right now to recipients. With modest adjustments, for example, moving the top income category on which the Social Security tax is deducted from $106,000 to $180,000 and doing nothing else, Social Security would go on just as it does now for another 75 years. That gives us plenty of time to come up with alternatives and additional retirement programs.
There seems to be a threshold of about $2000 per month plus Social Security where most people can survive and cover their costs and the out-of-pocket Medicare contributions.
Those contributions were reduced last year by President Obama but now the Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act.
Ryan ultimately wants to do away with Social Security and replace it with something that will make money for American businessmen, in particular, Wall Street businessmen. And we know how they do that. They do it by offering you something of no value and then pocketing the difference between what it is actually worth and the amount for which they sold it to you. Guess who get the bad end of that deal?
Ryan’s specific plan on Medicare is to reduce the subsidies to seniors gradually until senior citizens are basically on their own to buy health insurance from the health insurance industry. Here’s why that is not a good idea. First, the older you get the more expensive private health insurance is. Second, Ryan wants to kill…repeal…Obamacare.
What that means is that you, as a senior, must go out, without those cooperative pools that Obamacare set up…because the Ryan plan does away with them…and try to negotiate, perhaps on little more than your Social Security check and not much else a health insurance policy. In terms of policy, that equates approximately with cruelty to animals.
There is no way that an inexpensive policy will come from an industry that fought tooth-and-nail and $400 million last year to keep 45 million Americans from getting some kind of health care. Do you want to bet your latter years in poverty against Paul Ryan’s soulfully sincere attitude?
He voted for $800 billion in tax cuts for the rich while holding the unemployment benefits of 4 million laid-off Americans hostage. Must he and his pals start spraying bullets around a hospital nursery or an old people’s home before Americans understand that they do not care. They do not care.
They will take away Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security and lose no sleep. Think of them as Nazis, smiling arrogantly and denying they are doing anything wrong, while down the street the trains are loading up Jews for Buchenwald. Next time, it will be your turn. Then it will be too late. Now is the time to act.
Let’s understand where we are. In 1981, Ronald Reagan ended 30 years of very solid economic performance in this country when, after successfully working with Paul Volcker to curb inflation, he took the advice of radical economists and cut the revenues of the country basically in half in one year.
The budgets went immediately out of balance, and the supposed growth in the economy that would restore balanced budgets never occurred. But only Bill Clinton, without one single Republican vote, would raise taxes. He was able to balance the budget in the last three years of his presidency. Then came Bush II and we have a $14 trillion national debt.
So, this debt is nothing new. So, why do we now have these urgent concerns? In 2009, two economists, Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff, published a study that said those nations who have had over 90% debt to GDP ratio have severe financial problems for years to come including reduced productivity compared to other countries.
There is no doubt that Reinhart and Rogoff make good sense, but one also needs to know that the U.S. has had national debt of 110% and paid it off in the most productive period of the country’s history, the period from 1946 to 1979. So, yes, we definitely need to cut our national debt, but you cannot expect the people who incurred 90% of it to cut it.
The Republican plan to cut the budget is a complete sham. It has propositions in it, like unemployment numbers below 5% that no economist believes can happen and home sales at twice the rate of home sales at the height of the recent real estate bubble. Those numbers will never occur again in our lifetime, if ever. At least, let’s hope not.
So, in summary, the Republican plan does nothing, as Clinton did (and in a smaller way George Bush the First did) to raise revenues. It simply cuts a variety of programs that Republicans want to cut anyway. Next, it is entirely predicated on the repeal of the Obama health care reforms, and on a further reduction in income.
Yes, the final irony is that one feature of the Ryan plan is more tax cuts. Cuts! That’s right. Ryan wants to “simplify” the tax code by reducing the top rate from its current 35 percent to a new low of 25%, but remaining revenue neutral. What does this mean? It means the top rate (on millionaires and billionaires) goes down, but the revenues stay the same…because they raise more taxes from the rest of us.
So there you have it. It is all a scam. Think of the last 30 years. All the discussion and fear mongering and accusations and demonstrating and electing lobbyist-pandering Neocons was done always to get in a position to cut taxes for the rich supporters of the Right Wing—just one more time.