|Yes, Ryan's budget may be an "American Dream" for himself and the greediest and least patriotic among us that he truly represents but for the rest of us it is a continuation of the American nightmare of the last several decades. A nightmare in which working Americans make less money, have their jobs outsourced, and are forced to bail out wealthy bankers and Corporations who in turn give less and less back to the country that made their wealth possible.
And Ryan's budget extends this holiday to the very few. After having their taxes slashed over the last thirty years or so the Ryan budget would continue the "trickle-down" failures and indeed would give even more away to the very few at the expense of the rest of us. Ryan like any Republican whines about paying taxes. He subscribes to the failed ideology that if taxes are low for him and his ilk, somehow it will "trickle-down" to the unwashed masses:
"If enacted, this budget would promote economic growth and opportunity starting today, with bold reforms to the tax code and a credible, principled plan to prevent a debt crisis from ever happening," said Ryan.
"The president and his party leaders are now insisting that Washington take trillions of dollars from hardworking Americans in an effort to lock in ever-higher government spending. If we've learned anything over the last three years, it's that this approach won't work."
This is the first great lie pushed off on us by Ryan and his handlers. The real truth is that Obama's budget does not ask for trillions of dollars from working Americans but simply asks folks like Paul Ryan, who sit in their ivory towers while the rest of us do the real work to pay their fair share after being given a free ride for the last thirty years or so. Working Americans will not see their taxes go up one red cent:
Under current law, the Bush tax cuts implemented in 2001 and 2003 will expire at the end of 2012. The sunset was part of a deal struck between the Republicans and the White House to extend the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers for two more years rather than let them expire at the end of 2010. Obama's budget proposal would extend the tax cuts for individuals earning less than $200,000 and couples earning less than $250,000. The IRS says that 138 million of the 142.4 million tax returns in 2008 had a gross adjusted income of under $200,000, so the vast majority of taxpayers would not see their income taxes go up.
Similarly, Ryan also claims Obama's "budget imposes $1.5 trillion in tax increases on job creators and American families," a claim we found to misleading when he first made it in February. That figure is a 10-year estimate and nearly half of it would come from making no change in current law - that is, current law would allow the Bush tax cuts to expire for upper-income earners, as we just described.
But that is the point. Ryan wants to balance the budget on the backs of working Americans so folks like himself do not have to sacrifice. In Paul Ryan's world the only folks that should sacrifice are the working poor, who will lose their social safety net as people like Paul Ryan sacrifice nothing:
Ryan's budget plan acts on the Republicans political theory that looks to reduce the deficit almost entirely through cuts to federal spending. Democrats, on the other hand, are continuing to push for a combination of spending cuts and tax increases.
However, the saddest and most disgraceful part of the Ryan budget and his defense of it is this. While Republicans cry about "class warfare", Ryan initiates generational warfare. His budget shamelessly panders to senior citizens in an attempt to get them to throw younger Americans and the benefits they have earned under the bus:
"The president is hunkered down in campaign mode, and seems intent on dividing Americans for political gain instead of offering credible solutions to our most pressing fiscal and economic challenges," said Ryan. "And his party leaders in the Senate? They're about to go another year without a budget."
"Our budget saves and strengthens Medicare by proposing to put 50 million seniors, not 15 unaccountable bureaucrats, in charge of their personal health care decisions."
Ryan's budget would cut more than $5 trillion more than President Obama's proposal, reduce spending in 2013 and 2014 compared to 2012, and revive his proposal last year to turn Medicare into a health insurance supplement program for anyone younger than 55.
And of course as always with Republicans the fear they monger, this time to senior citizens is based on a huge lie:
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act says the advisory board "shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums." Also, the board isn't made up of Washington bureaucrats. The 15 voting members will be appointed by the president in consultation with congressional leaders; they must include doctors and other health care professionals, economists and health care finance experts, and representatives of consumers and seniors, as the American Medical Association explains. There will also be three non-voting members: the Health and Human Services secretary, and the administrators of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Health Resources and Services Administration.
Who should seniors really be scared of?? Paul Ryan who would reinstate the Medicare Part D "doughnut hole" and force seniors to pay thousands more out of pocket for their medicines:
First, Ryan's budget plan does indeed reinstate the so-called "doughnut hole," a gap in Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage. As the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said: "The proposal would repeal the provisions that created the Independent Payment Advisory Board and that expanded subsidies for the 'coverage gap' in Part D (a range of spending in which many enrollees have to pay all of their drug costs, sometimes called the doughnut hole)."
The gap in coverage occurs when a beneficiary's drug costs (both Medicare and out-of-pocket spending) reach a certain point - $2,840 in 2011. After that, a beneficiary would - before the health care law, at least - have to pay all costs until his or her out-of-pocket costs reach $4,550 and drug coverage picks up again. The health care law provides a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs in the gap and calls for slowly closing the gap until it's gone in 2020. Ryan's plan would repeal this provision of the health care law, and, beginning with 65-year-olds in 2022, create a new version of Medicare in which seniors get government subsidies to help pay for private coverage.
And what does the Ryan plan truly have in mind for those of us under 55? We will be paying a greater part of our costs under his Medicare reform and will NOT have the same options as members of Congress as Ryan claims:
Ryan's proposal would change Medicare so that beneficiaries would get a so-called "premium-support payment" to help purchase private insurance, instead of being on the current fee-for-service system. In 2022, the average payment would be $8,000 for those age 65. The payment amount would increase based on the age of the recipient and the consumer price index for urban consumers, or CPI-U. But the "premium-support payments" wouldn't keep pace with growing health care costs, according to the Congressional Budget Office, meaning that many Medicare beneficiaries would have to pay a larger percentage of their coverage as costs increase. CBO projected that under Ryan's plan, the government would pay 39 percent of the cost of a private insurance plan in 2022 and 32 percent in 2030.
So, while the government's contribution for insurance for members of Congress stays basically the same, proportionally, the contribution would actually decline over time for future Medicare beneficiaries. And the percentage the government would pay for seniors is also much lower than what the government pays for federal employees.
In conclusion when Paul Ryan and the Republicans start talking about extending the American dream all of us better beware. While they indeed want to extend THEIR American dream of no responsibility to their country and never-ending greed for 99% of Americans their dream is a nightmare. It not only extends class warfare against the working class but shameless attempts to start a generational war between younger and older Americans.
The sad part is in the end whether you are under or over the target age of 55 under the Paul Ryan Republican plan we all lose. Well, 99% of us anyway.