Saturday, March 30, 2013

Does Paul Ryan Know His Side Lost in 2012?

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By Brad Bannon

If you're the parent of young children, batten down the hatches. Under the budget proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., fewer children will get the head start in life they need in order to compete in the new global marketplace.

Ryan this week released a budget plan almost identical to the one he proposed last year which was the fiscal plan at the center of the losing Republican cause. Last year Americans had a clear choice between economic and budget philosophies and they voted Democratic. Does Ryan know that Democrats won the election last year? He should because he was half of the losing GOP presidential ticket.

In case Ryan and other Republicans missed the news, Americans re-elected President Obama to another four-year term and Democrats picked up two—count 'em, two—seats in the U.S. Senate. Democratic candidates actually won more votes in races for U.S. House of Representatives than Republicans but the GOP's creation of safe districts—the British call them rotten boroughs—artificially protected the party's majority in the lower house.

Elections have consequences. Last year Americans had a clear choice between two presidential candidates and two different economic and budget philosophies. The former Massachusetts moderate Mitt Romney called for deep cuts in programs like education and Medicaid, increases in the Pentagon budget and no new taxes. The president offered a balanced plan of cuts in domestic and Pentagon spending and higher taxes on corporate America and rich people. Last year, there were almost 5 million more Americans who went with the president and his program than there were who voted for Romney, Ryan and their brand of trickle-down economics. Please alert Ryan because he apparently did not get the memo.

The Ryan budget is an accounting of mistaken priorities. If you're the parents of a four- year-old kid who wants a head start in life, you're on your own. But if you're an oil company executive you're standing in high cotton. The Ryan budget rips the education programs that are investments in the future of our sons and daughters who need to compete in the global economic struggle. Some of these cuts have already kicked in because of the sequester so don't be surprised in September if your kid can't get into a preschool program, is in larger elementary or high school class or has a harder time getting a college loan. But not to worry because the Ryan budget protects the $4 billion dollars in freebies that big oil gets from the feds every year. Shelling out big bucks to big oil is like bringing coal to Newcastle or scheduling new reality shows in prime time television.

The Ryan budget is also full of cheap budget tricks and double accounting. A healthy part of the programs cuts in the Ryan plan assumes that he will get his way and that Obamacare will be completely repealed. But Ryan knows damn well that it won't be repealed. First of all, only 1 in 4 Americans who voted last year favored a complete repeal of the president's health care reform plan. To end Obamacare, the Tea Party types would need 60 votes in the U.S. Senate. Even if all 44 GOP senators and a few Democrats vote to repeal Obamacare, Ryan is still short a dozen or more votes. In the very unlikely case the Senate does vote to kill health care reform, President Obama would have to sign the repeal into law. The president is more likely to give up smoking than end the crowning achievement of his first term.

Ryan also wants to have his cake and eat it too. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that Obamacare reforms will save the taxpayers billions of dollars over the next 10 years, But even though Ryan's budget assumes Obamacare will die, his fiscal plan includes the savings from health care reform anyway. Don't ask me, the GOP budget gimmicks don't make sense to me either.

Then there's the Ryan flip-flop on Medicaid. The president proposed $700 million in Medicaid cuts last year. Republicans including their budget guru, Paul Ryan criticized the president for making the cuts. During the presidential race last year, Ryan and Romney said they would restore the money to Medicaid if they were elected. Guess what is in the budget that Ryan proposed last week? Yes you guessed right, $700 million in Medicaid spending cuts.

A recent national survey by CBS News shows that a majority (56 percent) of Americans favors the president's plan for spending cuts and corporate tax increases to reduce the deficit. Only 1 in 3 (35 percent) Americans support the Ryan cut and run budget which severely cuts education and runs away from the responsibly we have to prepare our children for the new cutthroat world economic order. Kids you're on your own.

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