Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) rolled out the long anticipated Republican budget at a news conference Tuesday promising it will balance in just 10 years—down from the 25 years in last year’s version. As with his past budgets, he promises to balance the budget despite giving new tax cuts to the top 2%.
He says he will pay for the tax cuts by cutting $5.7 trillion dollars in spending over the next ten years and closing “loopholes” which he still refuses to identify.
“By living beyond our means,” Ryan said, “we’re stealing from the next generation. By promising a higher standard of living today, the federal government is guaranteeing a lower standard of living tomorrow,” Unless we change course, we will have a debt crisis.”
However, Ryan is giving a higher standard of living “today” to the top 1% of income earners by cutting their tax rate to 25% down from the 39.6% he voted for in January.
Medicare voucher still part of new plan
The “new” budget includes virtually the same Medicare plan that Ryan put forward last year, giving seniors the option of purchasing private insurance on an exchange and receiving "premium support" payments. “Premium support” is the terminology Ryan uses instead of “voucher” but despite the nomenclature, it is a distinction without a difference. People age 54 and younger would see changes starting when they retire in 2024.
Ryan said seniors agree because he and Romney carried the over 65 group. They lost the under 54 age group, however, and they are the one's who will suffer under his plan. Ryan dodged the issue of Social Security saying President Obama and Congress should work that out. What could possibly go wrong there?
Spending cuts the centerpiece
The Ryan Budget will cut spending $5.7 trillion dollars over 10 years based on the CBO baseline, or $4.6 trillion on Ryan’s own baseline. Despite the facts, Ryan said that is a faulty assumption to think that spending will be severely reduced.
The reason Ryan says that is that his budget increases defense spending. He does that by taking all the cuts from the rest of the budget meaning education, infrastructure, and safety net programs be cut disproportionately.
As with every Ryan budget, this document keeps faith with Ryan’s role model author Ayn Rand. The real objective is social engineering not deficit reduction. The budget will dismantle the safety net and shift the burden to the states and local governments in order to put more wealth in the pockets of the wealthy while hurting the poor and vulnerable.
A whopping 59% of his budget cuts come from health care programs for the poor. He is pushing Medicaid onto the states which will have to drastically cut funding and raise taxes to offset the lost federal funding. Ryan does this even though 8 GOP governors have adopted the Medicaid provisions in the Affordable Care Act.
In addition, Ryan cuts Pell Grants, eliminates green energy programs, job training, education, clean air and water programs, and food stamps.
Budget full of misleading assumptions few details
In order to make his budget “balance” in 10 years while cutting taxes and increasing defense spending, Ryan plays games with the assumptions. Ryan’s budget repeals Obamacare. However, on further review, he repeals all the benefits of Obamacare, but keeps the revenue contained in the Affordable Heath Act. These are the same “taxes” he and Mitt Romney screamed about in the campaign.
Ryan keeps the $600 billion in Medicare cuts in Obamacare without the benefits to seniors in order to pay for the tax cuts in this budget. Ryan makes unrealistic assumptions on economic growth to create the optics of a balanced budget.
The Ryan Budget will not become law. This is all about theatrics. Ryan wants to keep his credentials as a deficit hawk even though the budget does not reduce the national debt. He seems to have a vendetta against health care for the non-rich.
The Senate will pass a budget that the House will not agree to either. So then what? Unfortunately instead of doing something new and bold, Ryan chose to do the same old thing the same old way not caring if there is a different result.