Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The GOP Budget Proposal For 2015 And Beyond

Paul Ryan is the Chairman of the House Budget Committee.  This editorial summarizes Ryan's budget proposal.  The House will approve the budget even though it has no chance of being approved by the Senate.  They will use the budget proposal as a campaign weapon in the midterm elections.

I tell my students that budgets provide them with everything that they need to know about a political party's values.  The Ryan budget tells us everything that we need to know about Ryan's values. His budget makes the tax system less progressive by reducing the top marginal tax rate from 39.5% to 25%.  This is exactly what one would expect from a political party organized on behalf of our plutocrats.  They will have even more money to funnel to the GOP in return for the tax cuts.  We also learn about Ryan's values when we examine his spending preferences.  He would gut Medicare, which is very popular program, by turning it into a voucher program that enables the elderly to purchase private insurance.  The insurance industry would be very happy to receive the premiums that fund Medicare.  The elderly would be less happy because the value of the vouchers would not increase at the rate of healthcare price inflation.  Spending on Medicare would be reduced by $700 billion.  The Ryan budget would also make large cuts in discretionary spending programs that primarily benefit the less well off in our society.  Those cuts enable Ryan to increase the military budget for a nation that already spends almost as much as the rest of the world on national defense.  Since we face no enemies capable of attacking us militarily,  the primary purpose of the budget increase is to feed the military industrial complex that Dwight Eisenhower warned us about following the end of WW ll.  Apparently, we also need a powerful military force to reinforce our dominance in the global economy.

The GOP will sell its budget to the public by claiming that it will reduce federal budgets and the national debt.  They will also tell us that cutting taxes will actually increase tax revenues by expanding the economy.  The Voodoo economics, packaged originally by Ronald Reagan, is alive and well in the GOP.  There is no evidence to support voodoo economics but evidence is not needed to support an article of faith.

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