Oh Lord, here we go again. The GOP’s alleged boy genius, Ayn Rand fanboy and “zombie-eyed granny starver from Wisconsin” Rep. Paul Ryan, released his latest version of the “Path to Prosperity” aka the “Road to Perdition” budget on Tuesday. This latest version from the GOP’s flim-flam man is even less economically serious than his previous deeply unserious budgets.
The sad part is that the “very serious people” of the Beltway media will continue to portray this charlatan as a very serious person who should be taken oh so seriously — really because he is all that the GOP has to offer by way of an alleged intellectual (sic).
Remember just a few weeks ago when this “good Catholic boy” was talking about how his budget would address poverty and help the poor — while citing the racially charged pseudo-science of eugenics to blame inner-city blacks for poverty? Yeah, about that. I am sure the Nuns on The Bus and the Catholic bishops are going to be as displeased with this budget as they were with the previous iterations of his budget. Somebody is going to be doing a great deal of penance to get right with God.
The New York Times reports, Ryan Budget Would Cut Food Stamps and Medicaid Deeply:
Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin on Tuesday will lay out a tough, election-year budget that he says will come into balance by 2024 [through the use of the magic asterisk again], in large part through steep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps and the full repeal of President Obama’s health care law, just as millions begin to see its benefits.
But even with those cuts, Mr. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, is counting on a boost of economic growth to balance the budget, a boost he says will be gained by reducing the deficit. Many economists believe such dramatic spending cuts — especially those affecting the poor — would have the opposite effect, slowing the economy and lowering tax receipts.
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The budget resolution, which will be formally adopted by Mr. Ryan’s committee on Wednesday, will serve more as a 2014 Republican campaign manifesto than a legislative agenda. Spending levels for this fiscal year and next were fixed into law in the budget plan approved in December.
Senate Democrats do not intend to draft their own budget, and if Republican leaders cannot muster the 217 votes to pass the Ryan plan, it may never come to a House vote. Those votes would not be easy to get. Democrats will oppose it almost unanimously, and some Republicans may shy away, too — either because it does not cut spending enough or it cuts it too much.
Still, the plan — Mr. Ryan’s third comprehensive spending and tax blueprint — will set the battle lines for the midterm elections. Democrats have launched a pre-emptive attack on it, while most Republicans are ready to embrace its ambitious policy prescriptions.
“Is this year’s House Republican budget, with its even more extreme budget cuts, really just a bad April Fools’ Day joke?” asked Representative Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House Democratic whip.
The budget violates some tenets that both parties have tried to observe since the budget fights of 2011 and 2012. Those fights preserved a practice of cutting defense and nondefense programs almost equally while sparing the poorest Americans from the worst of the belt-tightening.
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In all, Mr. Ryan says, spending would be cut by $5.1 trillion over the next decade. More than $2 trillion of that would come from repealing Mr. Obama’s health care initiative, the Affordable Care Act, a political move that has become much more difficult with the closing of the first enrollment period. As many as 10 million Americans have gotten health insurance through the law, either through private policies purchased on insurance exchanges, through expanded Medicaid or private policies purchased through brokers but subsidized by the law.
As with past budget proposals, Mr. Ryan seeks to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, then turn the health care program for the poor into block grants to the states — saving $732 billion over the decade. He would also cap and block-grant food stamps, starting in 2020, cutting that program by $125 billion in five years. The budget relies on imposing new work requirements on food stamp and welfare recipients.
Such an approach “empowers recipients to get off the aid rolls and back on the payrolls,” Mr. Ryan writes. [His “hammock” theory of economics. Funny how this does not apply to government subsidies and tax credits to major corporations receiving corporate welfare. Where’s your “free market” economy now, Randian?]
Mr. Ryan renews his controversial call to eventually convert Medicare to a “premium support” [vouchers] program whereby seniors could receive subsidies to purchase private insurance instead of taking the government’s fee-for-service coverage. Mr. Obama and other Democrats savaged that proposal in 2012, but Republicans said they had little choice but to renew it. [Why, because your alleged boy genius keeps proposing it? Throw this fraud under the bus.]
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The savings from that Medicare change barely show, since the new voucher system would not be available to retirees before 2024. Medicare would still be cut by $129 billion over the next 10 years.
But the toughest cuts would come from domestic programs that have already been reduced steadily since 2011, when Republicans took control of the House. Mr. Ryan’s 2024 domestic spending figure would be lower in nominal dollars than such spending was in 2005. Adjusted for inflation, it would be a 29 percent cut from today’s levels, and 28 percent below the average level of Bush administration spending.
Federal subsidies for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, as well as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting “can no longer be justified,” he says.
All funding would be eliminated for the Clean Technology and Strategic Climate Fund, set up to combat global warming, because such efforts are “not a core U.S. foreign policy function.” [Anti-science climate change denier — Catholics believe in being good stewards of God’s creation — he must have missed that lesson in Catechism class.]
Amtrak subsidies and AmeriCorps would be eliminated, along with money for biological and environmental research at the Energy Department’s science laboratories. [Owned by the carbon lobby.]
Mr. Ryan again calls for a dramatic overhaul of the federal tax code but, pointedly, does not adopt the detailed proposal laid out in February by Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan, the Ways and Means Committee chairman (who announced his retirement on Monday). Mr. Ryan says the individual income tax system should have just two rates, 25 percent and 10 percent, while the corporate tax rate should be set at 25 percent. [This would shift the tax burden to lower-end taxpayers from upper-end taxpayers and corporations, most of which avoid paying taxes now.]
Charles Pierce at Esquire, who despises this charlatan as much as I do, gets it right in Mr. Ryan’s Opus:
This is going nowhere, obviously, but it once again illustrates that Ryan’s devotion to zombie-eyed granny-starver does not arise from his profound concern about The Deficit, but, rather, is based in a nearly theological opposition to the government’s efforts to do anything except raise an army and protect the prerogatives of the upper classes. (A top rate of 25 percent? Lovely.) He wants to destroy Medicaid not because of its alleged fiscal problems. He wants to destroy it because he doesn’t think it should exist as a government program. There’s no point to pretending otherwise. He is trying, always, to pick a fight with a century of progressive legislation. Someone really should give him one.
Why are we forced to endure such an obvious fraud and charlatan? The GOP’s flim-flam man has got to go.