It is a debate over whether the “Path to Prosperity” [A.K.A. ‘The Roadmap to Middle-Class Extinction 2.0’] is paved on the backs on seniors, students, the disabled, and less privileged children while at the same time giving price-gouging oil companies tens of billions of dollars in subsides and giving millionaires and companies that ship U.S. jobs overseas massive new tax breaks that never manage to ‘trickle-down’ to anyone else.
Ryan and Mitt Romney say “yes.” The facts and the American people say ‘no’ to the budget that Puts Millionaires Before Medicare/Medicaid Beneficiaries, Puts Corporations Before Kids, Puts Wall Street CEO's Before Middle-Class Jobs, and Puts Oil Subsidies Before Students.
First, why call it the Ryan-Romney budget? Does Republican Presidential Frontrunner Mitt Romney Support It? Emphatically, Yes.
- Politico, 3/20/12, ‘Romney endorses Ryan budget’ : “I'm very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It's a bold and exciting effort on his part and on the part of the Republicans and it's very much consistent with what I put out earlier…This budget deals with entitlement reform, tax policy, which as you know is very similar to the one that I put out and efforts to reign in excessive spending. I applaud it. It's an excellent piece of work and very much needed.”
- Romney: “Take a look at the Ryan [“premium support” Medicare] plan. We're on the same page and same verse on that.” [Romney CPAC speech, Feb. 10, 2012]
- And remember, Romney vowed to sign the even more extreme Medicare plan House Republicans passed last year. According to MittRomney.com, Dec. 8. 2011: “Romney Answered “Yes” When Asked Whether Or Not He Would Sign The [FY 2012] Ryan Plan.”
Who Wins Under the Ryan-Romney Budget? The Richest 1%. Corporations that Outsource American Jobs. Big Oil Companies. Big Insurance Companies. Wall Street.
- “The [Ryan-Romney] budget would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times (and possibly in the nation’s history).” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 21, 2012]
- “Paul Ryan’s Budget Includes $3 Trillion Giveaway To Corporations, The Rich” [Think Progress, March 20, 2012]
- $40 BILLION SUBSIDY FOR OIL COMPANIES: “Ryan’s (R-WI) proposed FY 2013 budget resolution would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion for companies such as Exxon”: [Center for American Progress, March 20, 2012]
- Ryan budget would repeal the Affordable Care Act and make legal again the worst insurance company abuses, allowing them to once again deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions, rescind coverage when people get sick, and impose lifetime or low annual dollar limits on the amount of care people can get.
- LETS WALL STREET BANKS OFF THE HOOK: “On financial regulation, Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget basically cuts-and-pastes its recommendations from last year: it wants to repeal parts of Dodd-Frank that give new power to federal regulators to break up big banks” [Washington Post, 3/20/12]
Then Who Makes All The Sacrifices Under the Ryan-Romney Budget? Seniors. Women. Students. Children. Americans with Disabilities. Veterans. The Environment. The Middle-Class.
- TRADITIONAL MEDICARE THREATENED, BENEFITS CUT, HIGHER OUT OF POCKET COSTS
I. "Shifts substantial costs to Medicare beneficiaries" According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities “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 (CBO) projects that under the Ryan budget, federal Medicare expenditures on behalf of an average new beneficiary would be $400 to $700 (6 to 11 percent) less in 2023, $1,200 to $2,200 (14 to 23 percent) less in 2030, and $5,900 to $8,000 (35 to 42 percent) less in 2050 than under current law.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 28, 2012]
Slashes Medicare Benefits by Raising Eligibility Age to 67: “The plan would gradually raise Medicare’s eligibility age from 65 to 67 for people turning 65 in 2023 and thereafter, even as it repeals health reform’s coverage expansions. This could leave 65 and 66 year olds who can’t get employer-based coverage out in the cold. People with modest incomes generally wouldn’t be able to afford the prices that private insurance companies would charge to cover people in this age bracket.”
[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 21, 2012]
II. AARP: “By creating a “premium support” system for future Medicare beneficiaries, the proposal is likely to simply increase cost for beneficiaries while removing Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage — a guarantee that future seniors have contributed tothrough a lifetime of hard work…The premium support method described in the proposal – unlike private plan options that currently exist in Medicare — would likely “price out” traditional Medicare as a viable option, thus rendering the choice of traditional Medicare as a false promise. [AARP letter to membership, March, 21, 2012]
III. CBO: Policies Would Cut Medicare Benefits: “CBO said it’s possible that seniors would face higher costs under the Ryan plan, and said other possible side effects include “reduced access to health care; diminished quality of care; increased efficiency of health care delivery;less investment in new, high-cost technologies; or some combination of those outcomes.” [The Hill, 3/20/12]
IV. “GRADUAL DEMISE OF MEDICARE”: “The plan also would likely lead to the gradual demise of traditional Medicare by making the pool of Medicare beneficiaries smaller, older, and sicker — and increasingly costly to cover.”
[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 19, 2012]
V. “Fewer Health Services” Thanks to Ever-Shrinking Private Insurance Vouchers: “Once seniors reached the age of eligibility for Medicare, they would receive a premium-support voucher to help them buy coverage… Seniors who couldn’t afford to spend more than the voucher amount likely would have to purchase insurance that covered fewer health services as time went by, since the voucher likely would not keep pace with increases in health care costs.”
(See What You Need to Know About Premium Support) [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 21, 2012]
DECIMATES MEDICAID, Leaves Millions of Seniors, Disabled On Their Own: “This budget contains enormous cuts to the Medicaid program, endangering health care coverage for over 60 million Americans, including 16 million seniors and individuals with disabilities and 33 million children.”
- Coverage for today’s 1 million nursing home residents would be at risk, and quality and staffing in nursing homes would likely degrade.
- Benefits allowing 3 million elderly and disabled individuals to remain independent and in their homes today would be at risk.
- “At Least 48 Million Could Become Uninsured Under Paul Ryan’s Budget” [Think Progress, March 20, 2012]
- Hikes Women’s Insurance Premiums: By repealing the Affordable Care Act, Ryan proposes to derail this important new consumer protection for women: "In 2014, insurers will not be able to charge women higher premiums than they charge men. Before the law, women could be charged more for individual insurance policies because they were women. A 22-year-old woman could be charged 150 percent the premium that a 22-year-old man paid.” [WhiteHouse.gov, March 20, 2012]
For America’s Veterans, an $11 Billion Cut: Huffington Post, March 21, 2012 by Jon Soltz, Co-Founder of VoteVets.org, Iraq War Veteran: GOP Budget Doesn't Even Say the Word "Veteran" : “Without saying the word "veteran," the budget tells us a lot about what they think about veterans. The budget calls for across the board spending freezes and cuts. If enacted, the Ryan GOP budget would cut $11 billion from veterans spending.”
- College Made Less Affordable for Millions With Fewer Pell Grants Available: “The Department of Education would be cut by more than $115 billion over a decade. 9.6 million students would see their Pell Grants fall by more than $1000 in 2014, and, over the next decade, over one million students would lose support altogether.” [Office of Management and Budget, March 21, 2012]
- Climate Change Exacerbated: “Clean energy programs would be cut by 19 percent over the next decade, derailing efforts to put a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, retrofit residential homes to save energy and consumers money, and make the commercial building sector 20 percent more efficient by 2022.” [Office of Management and Budget, March 21, 2012]
- Denies Food, Health Care and Education Services to Underprivileged Children: “Roughly two million slots in Head Start would be eliminated over the next decade — cutting 200,000 children from the program in 2014 alone // The Ryan budget reportedly also cuts SNAP (that is, food stamp) benefits by $133 billion over ten years… increasing hunger and hardship among poor children // “The Children’s Health Insurance Program would shrink from its current 2 percent of the gross domestic product to 1 percent in 2030.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 21, 2012; Office of Management and Budget, March 21, 2012; New York Times, March 20, 2012]
- “Massive Hidden Safety-Net Cuts” : “In fact, the Ryan plan proposes to cut spending for non-health mandatory programs by $1.2 trillion below the spending projected for these programs under current policies. Moreover, you cannot achieve those savings without making very deep cuts in the crucial safety-net programs in this category, such as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), Supplemental Security Income for the elderly and disabled poor, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, the school lunch and other child nutrition programs, and unemployment insurance. [CBPP Off the Charts Blog, March 21, 2012]
How Much Would All These New Tax Breaks for Millionaires and Big Corporations Cost Us? $4.6 Trillion – with a T.
- “The Tax Policy Center (TPC) reported that the four major new tax cuts in the Ryan plan —cutting the top income rate to 25 percent and creating a lower tax bracket of 10 percent, cutting the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent and exempting from taxation the profits that U.S. corporations earn overseas, repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax, and repealing the tax increases in health reform — would cost $4.6 trillion in lost federal revenue over the next ten years (not counting the overseas corporate profits exemption). All four revenue-losing measures would disproportionately benefit wealthy Americans.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 21, 2012]
Doesn’t the Ryan-Romney Budget at Least Rein in the Deficit as Promised? No, It Would "Explode" It.
- “The Ryan budget cuts taxes by $4.3 trillion over 10 years; and it cuts spending by $4.2 trillion over the same period. Since the former is larger than the latter, the deficit would marginally go up.” [Washington Post’s Plum Line, March 20, 2012]
Atlanta Journal Constitution, March 30, 2012: 'Why Paul Ryan’s budget would explode the deficit’
Will It Create Any Jobs? Quite the Opposite. Millions of Middle-Class Jobs Put in Jeopardy.
- § “Paul Ryan’s latest budget doesn’t just fail to address job creation, it aggressively slows job growth…the shock to aggregate demand from near-term spending cuts would result in roughly 1.3 million jobs lost in 2013 and 2.8 million jobs lost in 2014, or 4.1 million jobs through 2014.” [Economic Policy Institute, March 21, 2012]
- “Every federal dollar cut from Medicaid means almost $2 cut from the state economy because states match federal spending. A cut of $1.7 trillion in federal spending [as Ryan proposes] over the next decade would mean a total cut of nearly $3.4 trillion in healthcare spending for state and local economies, causing a significant loss in healthcare jobs and investments. [FACT SHEET, Democratic Staff of the Energy and Commerce Committee, March 20, 2012]
How popular are the proposals in the Romney-Ryan budget? Not just Unpopular…They’re Radioactive.
- In Kaiser Family Foundation’s February tracking survey, 70 percent of Americans said “Medicare should continue as it is today, with the government guaranteeing seniors health insurance and making sure that everyone gets the same defined set of benefits,” while 25 percent said “Medicare should be changed to a system in which the government would guarantee each senior a fixed amount of money to put toward health insurance.
- According to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll from 2011, most Americans oppose the idea of converting Medicaid into a block grant. More than half wanted to see no reductions at all in Medicaid spending.
- NBC News/WSJ Poll: “74 Percent Of Americans Support Ending Big Oil Subsidies” [Think Progress, March 13, 2012]
- Reuters/Ipsos poll: “Most Americans back "Buffett tax": Nearly two-thirds of Americans support imposing a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on those who earn $1 million or more a year. [Reuters, March 14, 2012]
What Are Other Editorial Boards Saying About It?
- New York Times, March 20: ‘The Careless House Budget’ : “It is one where the rich pay less in taxes than the unfairly low rates they pay now, while programs for the poor — including Medicaid and food stamps — are slashed and thrown to the whims of individual states. Where older Americans no longer have a guarantee that Medicare will pay for their health needs. Where lack of health insurance is rampant, preschool is unaffordable, and environmental and financial regulation are severely weakened.”
- Washington Post, March 20, 2012: ‘Paul Ryan’s dangerous, and intentionally vague, budget plan’ : Mr. Ryan proposes a budget path that would leave government unable to fulfill essential functions.
So the Only Question that Remains Is: Will House Republicans – who already voted overwhelming last year for Ryan’s previous radical budget that end Medicare as we know it – vote next week for the “Roadmap to Middle-Class Extinction 2.0” written by and for Wall Street and Corporate America that:
ü Punishes Seniors and People with Disabilities w/Higher Out-of-Pocket Costs and Less Care
ü Leaves 48 Million Americans Uninsured
ü Leaves Disadvantaged Children Hungry and Without Coverage
ü Makes College Less Affordable for Millions
ü Puts Big Insurance Companies Back in Charge
ü Allows Insurance Companies to Again Treat Woman as a “Pre-Existing Condition”
ü Adds to the deficit and subtracts millions of middle-class jobs
ü Irresponsibly Gives Millionaires and Corporations that Outsource Jobs Trillions of Dollars in New Tax Breaks
ü Makes the Worst Health Insurance Industry Practices Legal Again, Doles Out Billions in Subsides Price-Gouging Oil Companies, Lets Wall Street Banks Off The Hook
But, You Already Know the Answer to That Question.
*ADDITIONAL ANALYSES FROM The CENTER FOR AMERICAN PROGRESS
- Michael Linden on its six failures
- Topher Spiro on draconian Medicare and Medicaid cuts
- Daniel J. Weiss on Big Oil subsidies
- Michael Linden on failed debt reduction
- Daniella Leger on people of color
- Melissa Boteach and Katie Wright on harming the most vulnerable (CAP Action)
- Joy Moses on poverty
- Seth Hanlon on shifting the tax burden onto the middle class
- Heather Boushey on job destruction
- Adam S. Hersh and Sarah Ayers on disinvesting in America
- Diana Epstein on education cuts
- David Madland and Christian Weller on Social Security cuts
- Julie Margetta Morgan on Pell Grant cuts
- Top 10 Problems with the Plan
Link to the original article on Americans United for Change