Ryan’s Hope

RyanBudgetPaul Ryan’s budget, according to Andy Borowitz, gets an endorsement from Ayn Rand and Marie Antionette from Hell. With this budget proposal, Paul Ryan is clearly saying, “let them eat cake”. The budget pits Medicare recipients against Medicaid recipients. It benefits the rich and the military industrial complex on the backs of the poor and middle class. Ultimately, it paints a future of austerity for America for years to come. The best way to discern whether or not a plan is concocted by the GOP is to observe what kind of division it creates. GOP stratagem is always to divide and conquer.

If Romney/Ryan had won the White House, the United States of America would have been well on its way to becoming a third world economy. By the way, that is the plan of the GOP, and their right-wing supporters are too ignorant to get it. Ryan’s budget confirms what I have been saying all along. The GOP only wants the wealthy elite to prosper, and the poor and vulnerable can simply struggle or die. There is something morally reprehensible about the GOP’s vision for America vis-à-vis the Ryan budget.

Ryan’s budget is a rerun of his prior budgets with tweaks here and there. It is noted that Ryan’s budget hypocritically appropriates from Mr. Obama. He has no original ideas of his own, apparently. The budget hits on the three majors for the GOP, 1) spending cuts; 2) lower taxes for the rich and 3) rejection of ObamaCare. With this budget, the GOP government haters continue their attempt to “starve the beast”.

Ryan’s attempt at balancing the budget is based on many assumptions but does not detail when his proposals go into effect which leaves us to guess when deficits actually get cut and by how much. His budget calls for discretionary spending levels that are lower than what Congressional Budget Office (CBO) assumes. Discretionary spending is defined as spending done by Congressional appropriation on a yearly basis. This basically means he wants to cut spending for things like education, veterans, EPA, etc. His budget reduces transportation spending and extends the lowering of discretionary spending caps set by the 2011 Budget Control Act to 2023. Basically, Ryan’s budget relies on deep cuts to discretionary spending with the exception of defense spending (defense spending is also part of discretionary spending).

Ryan’s budget, again, proposes Medicare reform by reintroducing the creation of a premium support plan by 2024 otherwise known as a Medicare voucher plan. The voucher plan offers seniors a fixed amount to buy private health insurance. Anyone 55 or over is supposedly not impacted, but future seniors would have a choice between traditional Medicare (fee-for-service) and the premium support (voucher) system. The voucher plan would also limit what the government pays. Notably, Ryan maintains the $716 billion savings that President Obama made to Medicare within his budget. How hypocritical. Slam the President for this Medicare savings during the campaign, and then add the savings into your own budget proposals not once, but twice.

What a surprise. Ryan proposes to do away with parts of ObamaCare by repealing subsidies for Americans who buy health insurance via the exchanges and also by repealing the expansion of Medicaid. Ryan’s budget simply put kills Medicare and Medicaid as we know it today. His budget proposes Medicaid block grants where states would assume a greater level of autonomy relating to how the program is set up, who is eligible or how much participants must pay. Ryan’s budget also proposes Food Stamp block grants impacting eligibility by imposing time limits and work requirements. Federal employees would also be required to contribute more money to their own pension plans.

As it pertains to revenues, Ryan’s budget collects the same amount of revenue as projected by CBO over the next 10 years. Ryan’s budget repeals ObamaCare tax revenues that pay for insurance subsidies, but it still relies on its revenue for his budget. How is this possible? Ryan indicates that tax reform will replace this revenue. The budget relies heavily on the hope that Congress will complete tax reform by 2014. Tax reform GOP style proposes two tax rates at 10% and 25%, repeal of the alternative minimum tax, lowering of the top corporate rate to 25% and changes the rules for international taxation. Fantasy!

Let’s sum it all up. The CBO will not analyze the Ryan budget since it is only a proposal, and it is not backed by any legislation for achieving its dubious goals. This budget is basically dead on arrival in the Senate. Of course, the White House has rejected Ryan’s budget and rightly defines the budget as a “wrong course for America”. Let’s hope that come the 2014 elections, this budget is placed securely about the neck and shoulders of the GOP.