Paul Ryan’s budget passed the House of Representatives today with 12 Republicans joining all the Democrats in voting against it. It will go nowhere in the Senate and has no chance of being signed by the president.
It’s a piece of fiction. Repeal ACA and offer no alternative. Cut domestic spending by putting the burden on the poorest people in America as if that will stimulate the economy. Make Medicare a premium system so people over 65 can purchase private health insurance, despite studies after studies pointing out that Medicare delivers health care more efficiently than any private insurance. Make SNAP benefits a block grant so conservative leaning states can cut it. Cut tax rates for the wealthy even though his Republican colleague, David Camp, found it can’t be done without losing revenue. AND make sure to include a huge burst of economic growth, even though years of government austerity have shown there is no burst of economic growth when government spending is so low.
That Paul Ryan is considered an intellectual heavyweight in the GOP is astonishing as a freshman economics major will find this budget riddled with flaws. If he is the GOP’s intellectual heavyweight, this is a real problem because it makes clear the lightweight thinking that’s passing for public policy in our politics these days.
I can’t resist giving the Democrats some points to use against any Republican who voted for this budget:
- Show a child on SNAP with an empty plate. Show a business lunch that is on expense account. The voice over will say that the GOP budget will allow the business lunch as a deduction, but will not feed the child for a fraction of the price of that lunch.
- Take pictures of our pot hole roads (my street in Pittsfield is particularly bad) with someone who just broke her car’s suspension driving while noting that though there was no money to fix the pot hole, there was enough money to subsidize a corporate jet.
- Interview a homeless family couch surfing while waiting for their Section 8 subsidy. Here the wait is three years. Show how a family can get write offs for the mortgage deduction on their 12,000 square foot house.
- Remind people that many poor families had to shiver through the winter given the reduction in heating assistance, but don’t forget to tell them that our taxes subsidized the oil companies.
This budget makes me angry. Cutting benefits to the poorest people in this nation is heartless. Allowing tax credits, especially those which benefit the wealthiest in our nation, to remain is callous. Keep the benefits for the poor and change the tax credits by cutting or eliminating them would have the same effect on the actual budget. Furthermore, by supporting the poor over the rich, there will be a greater multiplier effect on the economy (Mr. Ryan, in case you were not aware we have a consumer-based economy. It’s well-known by about every freshman economics major that when a poor person receives a dollar the person will most likely spend it, whereas a wealthy person would save it.)
As a side issue, the GOP refuses to raise the minimum wage. So, they cut benefits. They refuse to raise the minimum wage. They keep this nation on an austerity budget so we can’t stimulate the economy through job creation for infrastructure projects. (Mr. Ryan, the civil engineers rate our infrastructure a D+. Moving our infrastructure rating to something better than third world status will generate lots of jobs.) Taking these into account with the budget they passed, it’s borderline evil.
I wish I could be sanguine about the Democrats shredding this budget, but I don’t. They’re too scared to run hard against wealth because that’s what’s funding their campaigns.
Which is why the Supreme Court ruling McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission really bummed me out. Yet more money to make those in power less able to advocate for those who are poor and on the margins. It only serves to widen the income and wealth gap in this nation.
If we want to see proof of how misguided that ruling was, today’s vote tells it all.