We should begin with the understanding that Paul Ryan’s budget will become law at about the same time I become Queen of England. His budget blueprint, while DOA, is little more than an exercise in fiscal tyranny. More than anything, it’s a peek into the black, inner recesses of the Republican soul. Ryan begins from the assumption that virtually every social program must be forced to sacrifice in order to finance tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. It’s a premise as mean-spirited and heartless as it is draconian and self-interested. Ultimately, it’s about propping up the 1%, the segment of the population that pays the freight for the Republican drive to gain and maintain political power. It’s distressingly corrupt and immoral.
Perhaps most telling about Ryan’s true intent and allegiance is where and how he chose to roll out his plan. It wasn’t at a town hall of his constituents in Wisconsin that he allegedly represents. No, it was to the group he recognizes as his base: the readers of the Wall Street Journal. Clearly, Ryan cares about the middle class voters of his district in southeastern Wisconsin only insofar as he needs their votes every two years to keep his job.
More than anything, Ryan’s budget blueprint sends a clear and unmistakable message to the poor, the middle class, the sick, and the elderly (65% of whom disapprove of Ryan’s plan, rising to 84% when they recognize the real impact:
GO TO HELL.
Isn’t it time we get real and see Ryan’s intellectual dishonesty and ideological immorality for what it truly is?? His budget punishes the poor severely for having the temerity to be poor, and it would decimate our health care system. It’s the worst sort of social engineering, in that Ryan’s budget would create a far less fair and generous America. It’s immoral, it’s un-American, and it’s just plain wrong.
Aren’t we better than this? Has the social contract really become a casualty of rampant greed and self-interest?
Though I’ll admit to frequently having serious misgivings about the motives and ideology of the Catholic Church, even a group like Catholics United could hardly ignore the mean-spirited Social Darwinism that makes up the core of Ryan’s budget:
“Ryan’s budget emulates Randian principles by decimating safety net programs and turning them into voucher-based systems, ostensibly ignoring the human dignity of the most vulnerable in society. Catholics United calls on Congressman Ryan to sincerely examine his conscience and recognize the devastating impact his Rand-inspired budget will have on the most vulnerable in society. The social Darwinist teachings of Ayn Rand have consistently been denounced by major Catholic leaders as antithetical to Catholic doctrine,” argued Catholics United, while the group’s executive director, James Salt, said: “This is not the time for political ideology to trump human dignity. The recently-released budget saddens me as it’s clear Congressman Ryan continues to follow the teachings of Ayn Rand, not Jesus Christ. For Catholics, there is no debate on this issue: the needs of the poor and vulnerable take preference over the needs of the wealthy and powerful—period. It’s puzzling and frustrating Congressman Ryan and so many self-proclaimed Catholics in Congress ignore this fundamental Catholic teaching.”
The sad reality is that neither Ryan nor his Republican colleague care about human dignity. They’re quite willing to create a world based on Social Darwinism, where those who have are given even more, and those who don’t have are left to fend for themselves and fight for the remaining scraps. Ryan’s budget represents perhaps the most naked, egregious assault on the social contract we’ve seen from the GOP yet. It’s a plan that doesn’t even bother to camouflage its true mission: shifting the tax burden onto the poor and middle class. It’s a budget designed to further subsidize the 1% at considerable expense to the 99%. The end result would be the solidification and perpetuation of a two-tier society, in which the implied responsibility of the lower tier is to serve and support the interest of the upper tier.
Ryan has built his house on the soft sand of vagueness, dishonesty, and Objectivism, which would further cleave the divide between the 1% and the 99%. Ryan’s intent may not be to stoke social unrest, but it’s hard to imagine that the 99% would take this sitting down.
The House Republican budget hides this truth by refusing to disclose who will pay what rates or detailing what will happen to the tax provisions that middle-class Americans rely on—from the tax exclusion for employee health benefits to the mortgage and charitable deductions to the tax credits for parents and working families. Rep Ryan’s document is even vague on whether basic features of the tax system, like personal exemptions and the standard deduction, would be altered—though to make his plan add up these features might have to be on the table as well. At the same time, the House budget plan is very clear on the fact that it protects the biggest tax breaks for the rich.
While key details of the plan are deliberately hidden from public view, the thrust of the proposal is clear: It proposes an enormous, fiscally irresponsible tax cut for the rich—a bigger giveaway than former president George W. Bush ever dared to propose. For middle-class families, on the other hand, the House budget outline would raise taxes at the same time it cuts government investments and services on which most Americans rely.
The result would be a massive tax shift from the wealthy to the middle class, accelerating the income inequality that plagues our economy.
Ryan’s budget is the expression of the draconian economic views of Mitt Romney, the GOP’s presumptive Presidential nominee, who’s said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” The truth is that Republicans in general, not just Ryan and Romney in particular, utterly detest the poor and middle class. They will pander to them in the knowledge that they must somehow deceive the 99% into voting for them, but beyond that the GOP cares little for, and thinks even less about, the 99%.
In a perfect world, the American Sheeple would begin asking themselves what kind of America they want, and if Ryan’ vision dovetails with that. Paul Krugman, the smartest man in any room graced by his presences, asks
Are people finally willing to concede that Ryan is not now and has never been remotely serious? And — I know this is probably far too much to ask — are they going to do a bit of soul-searching over how they got snookered by this obvious charlatan?
The time is certainly now if that’s to happen…but if past is prologue, the American Sheeple will vote as they usually do- based on fear, ignorance, and propaganda. In the end, they’ll largely do what Fox News Channel tells them to do. They’ll continue to elect those who make no bones about not giving a damn about the well-being of the 99%.
Ryan would cut $770 billion over 10 years from Medicaid and other health programs for the poor, compared with President Obama’s budget. He takes an additional $205 billion from Medicare, $1.6 trillion from the Obama health-care legislation and $1.9 trillion from a category simply labeled “other mandatory.” Pressed to explain this magic asterisk, Ryan allowed that the bulk of those “other mandatory” cuts come from food stamps, welfare, federal employee pensions and support for farmers.
Taken together, Ryan would cut spending on such programs by $5.3 trillion, much of which currently goes to the have-nots. He would then give that money to America’s haves: some $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, compared with current policies, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.
Ryan’s justification was straight out of Dickens. He wants to improve the moral fiber of the poor. There is, he told the audience at the conservative American Enterprise Institute later Tuesday, an “insidious moral tipping point, and I think the president is accelerating this.” Too many Americans, he said, are receiving more from the government than they pay in taxes.
It’s time to recognize the reality of Ryan’s big “GO TO HELL!” directed at the 99%. Ryan will “protect” the poor and the down-trodden by cutting anti-poverty programs and funneling the savings to the 1%. In Ryan’s Rand-speak, “repairing the safety net” is a dishonest euphemism for cutting the most vulnerable among us loose and forcing them to fend for themselves in order to finance tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.
Beyond the micro aspects of Ryan’s budget blueprint, there’s also the macro, and there’s one undeniably reality: austerity simply doesn’t work in a recession. If you think I’m kidding, take a good look at what’s happening in Europe, particularly in Ireland and Greece. Reducing government spending is a recipe for prolonging the recession. Disinvesting in America will not facilitate recovery, it will actually retard and perhaps even reverse it.
In the final analysis, Ryan’s budget blueprint is a recipe for failure…and he wants America to believe that he’s presenting an honest option for the future, one far superior to the President’s proposal?
So what’s it going to be, America? Do we stand up for ourselves and reject those who want our votes but don’t work for our interests? Do we cave to those who attempt to distract us by focusing on the President’s skin color, his religion, and or his birth certificate? Do we acquiesce to the propaganda and fear-mongering and elect those who care nothing about making America a better, stronger, more competitive, and more compassionate place?
We have the power to choose. I pray we possess the wisdom to choose wisely.