Last month, Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) released a budget plan along with GOP Sens. Rand Paul (KY) and Mike Lee (UT) that purports to cut $5 trillion out of the federal budget over 10 years. The plan included about $4.2 trillion in direct spending cuts (with the rest coming from reduced interest payments on the debt and the sale of government assets).
The senators claim that these reductions are simply “real, sustainable spending cuts.” However, as McClatchy reported, about 70 percent of the deficit reduction in DeMint’s plan is placed right onto the backs of low-income Americans:
A plan by Republican U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina to slash the federal budget deficit would hit the poorest Americans especially hard, directing 70 percent of its $4.2 trillion in spending cuts at safety-net programs intended to help tens of millions of low-income people.
The plan proposes $20 billion in cuts that would affect the affluent. It suggests almost $3 trillion in cuts that would affect low-income Americans, leading one liberal economist to call the plan “cruel.”
“It’s cruel,” said Andrew Fieldhouse of the Economic Policy Institute. “It’s inexcusable to cut supports that help those adversely affected by the economic downturn.” Alan Viard, who was on the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush, added that “this plan places a disproportionate burden on low-income groups.”
Even with tax revenue at a 60 year low, DeMint proposes no new revenue other than from one-time sale of government assets, which is obviously not a sustainable revenue source. Interestingly, he also does nothing on Medicare, even while walloping Medicaid and means testing Social Security.
This is hardly the first time that DeMint has been the right-wing id on economic policy, as he also put forth the Senate Republican stimulus plan, which consisted of nothing but huge tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy. He simply shows what the right-wing would do if it had absolute control of the budget: gut the social safety net while largely sparing the richest Americans any pain.