What the GOP/Ryan Road to Ruin Budget Does

Ends Medicare guarantee for seniorsEPI:

The budget resolution eliminates Medicare as we know it, shifting costs onto seniors.

Raises health care costs for seniors CBO:

Under the proposal, most elderly people would pay more for their health care than they would pay under the current Medicare system.

In fact, seniors will pay twice as much@NancyPelosi:

#GOP budget up for vote on Friday ends Medicare & seniors will pay 2x as much for health care: http://twitpic.com/4k5h05

Napkin Drawing

Gives tens of billions of dollars in tax subsidies to Big OilCenter for American Progress:

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2012 budget resolution is a backward-looking plan that would benefit big oil companies at the expense of middle-class Americans. It retains $40 billion in Big Oil tax loopholes while completely eliminating investments in the clean energy technologies of the future that are essential for long-term economic growth.

Slashes health support for seniors in nursing homesThe Hill:

Ryan budget criticized for potential cuts to nursing-home care

Cuts education for children and raise college costs for nearly 10 million students Center for American Progress:

This means a significant cut to federal kindergarten-through-12th-grade education funding is in his sights… In addition to cuts to K-12 education, the Ryan plan would also cut Pell Grants by returning them to pre-stimulus levels. This is a cut of more than $800 in each student’s maximum Pell Grant award, which would impact millions of young Americans who depend on critical financial assistance in order to attend college.

Makes tax cuts for the wealthiest permanent, adding $1 trillion to the deficitPaul Krugman:

The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan’s total tax cuts. That’s not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population.

As Jonathan Chait wrote in Newsweek yesterday, the GOP/Ryan budget is a “War on the Weak“:

…Viewed as an effort to reduce the debt, Ryan’s plan makes little sense. Many of its proposals either have nothing to do with reducing deficits (repealing the financial-reform bill loathed by Wall Street) or actually increase deficits (making the Bush tax cuts permanent). It relies heavily on distant, phantasmal cuts…

Ryan’s plan does do two things in immediate and specific ways: Hurt the poor and help the rich. After extending the Bush tax cuts, he would cut the top rate for individuals and corporations from 35 percent to 25 percent. Then Ryan slashes Medicaid, Pell Grants, food stamps, and low-income housing. These programs to help the poor, which constitute approximately 21 percent of the federal budget, absorb two-thirds of Ryan’s cuts.

Ryan spares anybody over the age of 55 from any Medicare or Social Security cuts, because, he says, they “have organized their lives around these programs.” But the roughly one in seven Americans (and nearly one in four children) on food stamps? Apparently they can have their benefits yanked away because they were only counting on using them to eat.

Ryan casts these cuts as an incentive for the poor to get off their lazy butts. He insists that we “ensure that America’s safety net does not become a hammock that lulls able-bodied citizens into lives of complacency and dependency.” It’s worth translating what Ryan means here. Welfare reform was premised on the tough but persuasive argument that providing long-term cash payments to people who don’t work encourages long-term dependency. Ryan is saying that the poor should not only be denied cash income but also food and health care…

The class tinge of Ryan’s Path to Prosperity is striking. The poorest Americans would suffer immediate, explicit budget cuts. Middle-class Americans would face distant, uncertain reductions in benefits. And the richest Americans would enjoy an immediate windfall…

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And Ezra Klein in the Washington Post today writes, “it is not courageous to attack the weak while supporting your party’s most inane and damaging fiscal orthodoxies. But the problem isn’t just that Ryan’s budget is morally questionable. It also wouldn’t work.”:

…Ryan’s savings all come from cuts, and at least two-thirds of them come from programs serving the poor. The wealthy, meanwhile, would see their taxes lowered, and the Defense Department would escape unscathed. It is not courageous to attack the weak while supporting your party’s most inane and damaging fiscal orthodoxies. But the problem isn’t just that Ryan’s budget is morally questionable. It also wouldn’t work.

…Take it from Robert Reischauer, who directed the Congressional Budget Office from 1989 to 1995 and now leads the Urban Institute. “If this is a competition between Ryan and the Affordable Care Act on realistic approaches to curbing the growth of spending,” Reischauer says, “the Affordable Care Act gets five points and Ryan gets zero.”…

To understand why Reischauer gives Ryan a zero, you need to understand the technical trick that gives Ryan his savings. His proposal says the federal government’s contributions to Medicare and Medicaid can’t grow at more than the rate of inflation. Then he told CBO to score his plan based on that assumption. That’s where his money comes from. But it’s nonsense…

Health-care costs don’t grow at the rate of inflation. Ever…

[Alice] Rivlin’s worry is that Ryan’s plan won’t control costs so much as shift them to seniors. And the CBO agrees with her. It concluded that Ryan’s privatization plan would actually add to Medicare’s costs. In 2030, traditional Medicare insurance, CBO estimates, would only cost 60 percent as much as the private options Ryan is offering. But under Ryan’s plan, seniors would pay two-thirds of the cost, while under traditional Medicare, they’d pay only 25 percent.

That’s not cost control. That’s cost-shifting. And even assuming Congress would turn a deaf ear to the cries of seniors, it wouldn’t solve our nation’s fiscal problems. It would just shunt them off the federal budget and onto family budgets, and make them worse…

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