A Sneak Attack on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Everything Else
We are now frighteningly close to a default on our obligations with just two short weeks to go until Aug. 2. So what is the GOP doing? Offering up more pointless political stunts and wasting precious time by putting forward radical bills that have absolutely no chance of passing the Senate and which the president has already promised to veto.
The House of Representatives today considered and passed the so-called “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan (more accurately described as the “Duck, Dodge, and Dismantle” plan), a plan that is just like the GOP’s disastrous budget plan passed earlier this year — except much, much worse. This new plan — the GOP budget plan on steroids — is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that would require almost immediate, deep spending cuts. And instead of merely doing this by legislation, this plan would impose the GOP’s budget on America by manipulating our Constitution. Under this plan, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security would come in for deep cuts in the years to come.
Another pernicious element of the plan worth noting is that it also includes re-writing the Constitution in such a way as to make it nearly impossible to raise taxes — ever. While Medicare and Social Security can get slashed by a mere majority vote, raising taxes would require a 2/3 vote in both the Senate and the House. (If that kind of arrangement sounds familiar, it’s because that’s how the badly broken budget process in California works.)
What It Means
The centerpiece of the plan is as devious as it is wonky — cap on total government spending at 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product, a level of spending so low it has not been seen since 1966. While this overall cap cleverly disguises the scope and scale of the plan’s cuts, here’s a chart from the Center for American Progress’ Michael Linden and Michael Ettlinger that illustrates what the GOP’s “dangerous and disingenuous plan” could mean in practice (hint: massive cuts):
Then Versus Now: Why We Can’t Run the Government Like It’s 1966
It would seem fairly obvious that we can’t go back to the level of government spending we had in 1966, given the numerous differences between then and now. Here’s how today’s America stacks up against 1966 America (click here for full size):
Instead of radical bills and half-baked gimmicks, it’s time for the GOP to support a reasonable plan — including substantial new revenues — that will reduce the deficit and save us from the economic calamity that would result from a default on our obligations.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
Hundreds of Palestinian children were arrested and detained for weeks on end by the Israeli Defense Force, and 34 minors under the age of 14 were tried in military courts over the past five years, according to a new report by human rights group B’tselem.
Noam Sheizaf examines Israel’s new anti-boycott law and observes, “In the clearest choice it ever faced between the occupation and democracy, Israel has picked the occupation.”
Exclusive documents acquired by Think Progress offer new revelations about the first four years of funding for the neoconservative Foundation For Defense of Democracies.
Politics has a moral dimension, whether we want to admit it or not.
Bill Clinton would invoke the 14th Amendment to end the deficit crisis “without hesitation.”
Despite the Senate’s confirmation of the first openly gay male federal judge, federal judges are retiring at twice the rate new judges are being confirmed.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is fighting the nation’s budget deficit, one dollar bill at a time.
People with disabilities are suing the state of Tennessee over cuts to medical assistance, arguing that the loss of in-home nursing and personal assistance services will send them to group homes.
The Bachmann surge continues.