The Five Biggest Failures Of The Latest Ryan Budget
Today, for the fourth consecutive year, House Republicans released a budget spearheaded by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). And for the fourth consecutive year, it is a budget that only works for the wealthiest individuals and special corporate interests at the cost of America’s middle- and working-class families, seniors, and the economy. Budgets, as we said when President Obama put out his in early March, are a reflection of a political party’s priorities and values. We can only say that we wish the latest effort from Ryan and the GOP caucus were an April Fool’s joke. Sadly, it is not.
Here are the five most regrettable pieces of the latest Ryan Budget:
1. Returns To The Same Failed Trickle-Down Tax Policies Of Past Republican Proposals. The Ryan Budget proposes giving generous tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest among us while in effect raising taxes on middle- and working-class families. It calls for reducing the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, and lowering the highest income tax bracket from 39.6 percent to 25 percent. Meanwhile, as analyses of identical previous tax proposals showed, there is no way to implement these tax cuts in a deficit-neutral way without raising taxes on the middle-class.
2. Leaves Working-Class Families Out In The Cold. As in years past, The GOP Budget contains a number of proposals to radically cut programs that many working people rely on. For one, the budget repeals the Medicaid expansion provision in the Affordable Care Act and slashes $1.5 trillion over ten years from the program that covered 67 million people in 2012, including 32 million children. It also cuts $125 billion over ten years from the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), also called food stamps. These draconian cuts are just two of many choices made that attack programs which support working-class and struggling families.
3. Makes Wild And Misleading Claims About The ACA. Unsurprisingly, Ryan’s latest budget document calls for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. But it includes additional language missing from previous budgets that makes some pretty crazy claims about the law. In a possible preview of the GOP’s election-year rhetoric, Ryan warns that the law “will undermine the private insurance” and would “eventually lead to a single-payer system.”
4. Radically Alters Medicare. It’s long been a hallmark of Ryan’s budget proposals to dismantle traditional Medicare and replace it with a voucher system. Premiums for traditional Medicare would increase by 50%, forcing seniors out of Medicare and into the private insurance market. And while last year’s plan allowed those age 55 and older to remain in traditional Medicare once they became eligible, this year’s plan forces 55-year-olds into a new voucher system.
5. Doubles Down On Misguided Austerity Through Investment Cuts. Austerity has failed. Crucial investments have already fallen to historically low levels due to sequestration. The latest GOP budget ignores those facts, and offers more enormous cuts to middle-class investments in infrastructure, science, and education.
BOTTOM LINE: The economy is simply not working for most Americans. But instead of trying to build an economy that works for everyone by addressing our many economic challenges head on, the Ryan Budget ignores them and continues to advocate for failed conservative policies that only benefit the wealthiest people and corporations.