I say it all the time – who we elect into government matters. Income inequality is one of the largest issues of our time because that topic branches out into so many other topics. Once you determine why there is a huge income gap…you start to figure out how to fix it i.e. focus on education, reducing teenage parenthood, work for welfare programs, etc etc.
You know – if I were an elected official with a like minded Congress – I could easily ensure that you pay only a one percent tax rate. You heard me right…I could propose a budget where you pay only 1% in taxes. All I would have to do is cut all funding for the military, social security, medicare, medicaid, education, roads and bridges, protection of air, food and water, etc. Would you vote for a candidate proposing that trade off? Well that’s what Republicans are proposing only they say…you’re not really losing anything at all.
But as we have written about in Mitt Romney’s Budget Doesn’t Care About Poor People Either and yesterday in Paul Ryan’s New Plan: Huge Cuts to Safety Net, Medicare, Medicaid to Pay for Tax Cuts For Wealthy - the Republicans have a track record of paying for huge tax cuts for the wealthy by completely gutting the social safety net. This regressive policy and continuation of “trickle down economics” this time in super steroid form is simply put – bad for people.
A safety net is something that ANYONE at any time can need. If you’re in the middle class – you could still be one paycheck away from falling into a deep economic depression…losing your house, your car, putting pressure on a marriage, etc. You’re much more likely to need the safety net than you are likely to become a millionaire. The safety net is insurance; you never know when you are going to need it.
And as we said yesterday:
In other words – the Paul Ryan budget is going to have a significant cost to future Seniors just like the original Paul Ryan plan..as he attempts to revive a “voucher plan” that he calls “premium support”. The only support future Seniors are likely to get is the support of higher healthcare costs as Paul Ryan’s plan shifts the burden of guaranteed healthcare for future Seniors from government to the individuals themselves. That IS a continuation of the Republican war on the middle class, and that IS how they’re going to pay for their tax cuts for millionaires.
Ezra Klein goes into detail to explain how the Republican party is cutting programs that help the poorest Americans in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthy:
So the cuts to programs that mainly help the poor are correspondingly deep. The $1.5 trillion the Affordable Care Act was going to spend on subsidizing health insurance for low-income Americans is gone. But then Medicaid and other non-Medicare health programs take an $800 billion cut on top of that. Education and worker training loses $200 billion. Income security loses $800 billion. These are huge cuts.
And that’s just in the first 10 years. As time goes on, the scheduled cuts become much deeper in programs for the poor than in programs for the rich. Medicaid, for instance, is only allowed to grow at the rate of inflation, while Medicare can grow at GDP+0.5 percent, which is substantially higher. Food stamps also see their growth capped at a low rate, while Social Security is left untouched. And while Ryan does take aim at tax breaks that he says benefits the wealthy, he intends to close them and use the proceeds to fund a tax cut.
Brad Plumer points out some other significant cuts to the budget:
Over the next decade, Ryan plans to spend about 16 percent less than the White House on ‘income security’ programs for the poor — that’s everything from food stamps to housing assistance to the earned-income tax credit. (Ryan’s budget would authorize $4.8 trillion between 2013 and 2022; the White House’s would spend $5.7 trillion.) Compared with Obama, Ryan would spend 25 percent less on transportation and 13 percent less on veterans. He’d spend 6 percent less on ‘General science, space, and basic technology.’ And, compared with the White House’s proposal, he’d shell out 33 percent less for ‘Education, training, employment, and social services.’”
The Washington Post Editorial Board isn’t a fan:
There is no credible path to deficit reduction without a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases. This is the fundamental conclusion of every responsible group that has examined the issue, most prominently the Simpson-Bowles commission, and it is the fundamental failure of the budget blueprint released Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.). Instead, and unfortunately, Mr. Ryan’s plan lunges in the opposite direction. He dangles the carrots of lower income and corporate tax rates. He says he would maintain tax revenue and in fact have it grow to 19 percent of the gross domestic product by 2025. Yet he fails to do the hard, and politically treacherous, work of specifying what deductions and credits he would eliminate in order to make all that happen.
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