24 January 2011

Paul Ryan's Dark Future for America

This is an excellent piece by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) on just how dark the future envisioned by Republican Fiscal Darling Paul Ryan... (who will give the Republican Response to the State of the Union Address tomorrow)... really would be. Here's a key excerpt:
We don't know exactly what Ryan will say in his response to the president. But we do know plenty about what this self-proclaimed budget hawk has already said. He laid it all out in a document he calls "A Roadmap for America's Future." In it was his simple plan for health care reform: destroy Medicare as we know it by giving seniors a fixed dollar voucher and sending them off to find an insurance company that will cover them. That's after raising the age of Medicare eligibility. He also revives the discredited idea of privatizing Social Security and raising the retirement age. Good luck, Grandma!

He enthusiastically joined every Republican to vote to repeal the health care bill, despite the independent, non-partisan Congressional Budget Office declaring that repeal adds $230 Billion more to the deficit. "The CBO is entitled to its opinion," declared Speaker John Boehner. Dismissing the CBO is equivalent to throwing the umpire out of the baseball game and replacing him with your team's coach. But that's just exactly what the new Republican rules allow -- if they disagree with the CBO, they simply throw out the call.
There are big winners in Paul Ryan's "Roadmap" and you can guess who they are. He would cut taxes for the wealthy, completely eliminate the corporate income tax, and create a value added tax. According to the Tax Policy Center, his plan would raise taxes for the bottom 95 percent of American wage earners and cut taxes for the top five percent. The top 0.1 percent would see an average tax cut of $1.7 million -- every year!
I would add to this that 55% of Americans recently polled (CBS/NYT) about what one thing they would cut to ease the debt (an intrinsically biased question, since a large percentage of economists counsel against cutting spending during a serious recession)... said cut military spending. This beat cuts to social security and medicare combined by more than 2:1.

Boehner likes to crow about "having an adult conversation." I say, yes, let's. The American people get it that we can no longer afford the American Empire and the dubious military adventures in Central Asia, let alone whether they were ever worthwhile. The American people understand that you don't restore prosperity by gutting the Middle Class and creating a whole new underclass of poverty-stricken seniors and a sixth of the population without access to health care. And the American people expect fairness, where the very rich pay their fair share. A lot of these questions aren't framed properly to elicit the true thinking of the majority, but I believe that if given the chance to actually vote on the issues, what the majority of our country really wants is for government to get out of the business of crony contracting, get out of the business of fighting wars halfway around the world, and let's start the huge job of enabling and building a renewed production economy here at home, that can grow and create jobs at home for our people, so we don't even have any need to talk about impoverishing our old people and disenfranchising tens of millions from basic health care. That is the America the people want, not the dark, plutonomic future the likes of Paul Ryan envisage.

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