The House Republicans just passed a bill today that comes down to this. Huge tax cuts for anyone making $1 million a year to be paid for by turning Medicare into a voucher plan…eliminating the Medicare guarantee for future Seniors, making huge cuts to early education, programs like food stamps, Pell grants, Medicaid and federal employee benefits. The plan would increase spending in defense presumably to pay for a Republican led war in Iran.
This bill if enacted by a Republican president in 2012 would shift huge costs to seniors who will be on Medicare in the coming years. But more than that – this bill breaks a commitment made in 2011 setting up a deficit battle 3 months prior to the election as Republicans try to steer the argument to one of ‘cutting spending” rather than improving the economy. This is not a test…it could be America’s reality. This is the single most extreme budget that either the House or Senate has passed in modern history.
In addition to huge tax cuts for millionaires – the Republicans are breaking from their agreement to cut defense spending and instead are focusing on “food stamps, healthcare programs, and federal worker retirement benefits”.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities did an analysis and they wrote yesterday:
The budget resolution developed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) would make significant changes to Medicare. It would replace Medicare’s current guarantee of coverage with a premium-support voucher, raise the age of eligibility from 65 to 67, and reopen the “doughnut hole” in Medicare’s coverage of prescription drugs. Together, these changes would shift substantial costs to Medicare beneficiaries and (with the simultaneous repeal of health reform) leave many 65- and 66-year olds without any health coverage at all. The plan also would likely lead to the gradual demise of traditional Medicare by making its pool of beneficiaries smaller, older, and sicker — and increasingly costly to cover.
The author Paul Ryan (R-WI) claims that his bill will raise more than $400 billion more in revenues in 2013 than the government expects to receive in 2011 ($2.3 trillion). Except that’s all just smoke and mirrors because the bill would give an average of $265k a year in tax cuts to millionaires; somehow – he’s giving huge tax cuts but the government is going to receive an additional $400 billion in one year alone. To put that into perspective – eliminating the Bush era tax cuts for those making over $250k a year is expected to raise only $80 billion a year…so – yeah…buyer beware.
ABC News reports:
Ryan’s budget blueprint claims less than $5 trillion relative to the president’s budget proposal, and spends $3.5 trillion less over 10 years than the current spending levels. It also brings deficits below 3 percent of GDP by 2015. It would raise $2.73 trillion in tax revenue in 2013, leaving a $800 billion projected deficit for 2013 compared to $3.53 trillion in budget outlays.
But the price paid by Congress will be big: wrecking havoc with hard-fought bargains under the Budget Control Act and inviting another shutdown fight with Senate Democrats and Obama unless the House again reverses course.
When lawmakers return in mid-April from their spring recess, House and Senate Appropriations Committees must write their annual spending bills using two sets of instructions now— instead of one as envisioned under the Budget Control Act. And the Republican resolution orders six other House committees to quickly come up by April 27 an additional $261 billion in 10-year savings to substitute for automatic reductions in defense in January—under the same Budget Act.
The Armed Services Committee is exempted entirely—breaking faith with the spirit of the August accords. And instead, food stamps, healthcare programs, and federal worker retirement benefits are prime targets, together with a heavy bet on upwards of $50 billion in long-term savings attributed to proposed medical liability reforms.
Zero Democrats supported the bill; 10 Republicans voted against it. To see a list of the Yeas and Nays – see the roll call HERE.
The Hill gets one of the House Republicans who was against it on the record:
In a statement Thursday, McKinley emphasized that he has voted to cut more than $5 trillion in government spending, but said the House budget was unacceptable.
“I can’t support a plan that cuts Medicare, removes widely-used tax credits for homeowners and health care, and still doesn’t balance the budget for 28 years,” McKinley said.
This budget is setting up a battle in an election year to turn the discussion into one about deficits and “cutting spending”, “reducing government”. The Republicans almost sent the economy off the edge of the cliff last year pushing the government into the midnight hour without any promises as to whether or not it would fulfill it’s obligation to pay it’s bills under the Constitution. The Republicans negotiated a deal to reduce the deficit by an additional $1.2 trillion over 10 years or immediate sequestration would kick in…huge cuts in defense and big cuts in Medicare providers (not benefits to seniors). Except – Republicans are now backing away from that commitment and now trying to put the deficit issue front and center in the summer time.
Reuters explains what the Republicans just voted for relative to it’s impact on Medicaid and Medicare:
The Ryan plan would deeply cut the Medicaid healthcare program for the poor by turning it into block grants for states, and it reprises his effort last year to prevent Medicare from “going bankrupt.” It proposes a voucher-like system to help seniors buy private health insurance or access to the traditional fee-for-service Medicare system.
Steve Benen from MaddowBlog gives his analysis:
I won’t rehash all the details again, but let’s not forget, this is a budget plan that ends Medicare’s guaranteed benefit, takes health care coverage from millions of Americans, radically redistributes wealth in the wrong direction, slashes taxes on the very wealthy, and would ”take food from poor children, make it harder for low-income students to get a college degree, and squeeze funding for research, education, and infrastructure.”
ThinkProgress says Paul Ryan is being dishonest about his plan.
The HuffingtonPost points out that the House GOP budget would cut funding for HeadStart and other early education programs that would affect 2 million kids over the next 10 years:
The plan, proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who chairs the House Budget Committee, would eliminate slots for about 200,000 children in 2014, according to an analysis by the National Education Association. Over the next decade, the NEA estimates, more than two million children would lose opportunities to attend Head Start centers as a result of the cuts.
As it stands, only 30 percent of eligible children participate in the program, but children’s advocates tend to argue that the program should be expanded, not diminished.
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