Broadly speaking: Rational views on the Republican's anti-working families budget plan

Purports to balance the budget but slashes programs for the poor, maintains tax breaks for the wealthy

(Washington, D.C.) Following is a statement by Alan W. Houseman, executive director of CLASP, the Center for Law and Social Policy, regarding the U.S. House budget proposal for FY 2012. The budget cuts workforce development programs, slashes spending on health care and nutrition assistance for low-income people by block granting Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and undoes health care reform. At the same time, the budget proposal cuts taxes for the richest households and sets an arbitrary cap on revenues below the levels needed to meet the nation’s priorities.

“The House has released a budget proposal that purports to set the nation on a ‘path to prosperity’ and to ‘strengthen the social safety net’ by slashing it. Behind that Orwellian rhetoric is a fundamental approach to government that limits the ability of those at the bottom to get the education and training necessary to acquire a good job, get nutritious food for their children or to access health care.

“The budget is highly political and as dubious and disingenuous for what it excludes as for what it includes. Tax increases and other revenue raisers are off the table, yet programs that alleviate poverty, promote opportunity and truly provide a ‘path to prosperity’ are targets for deep cuts.

“During a press conference today, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said the budget represents ‘our choice for America’s future.’ The problem is that the House choice isn’t consistent with the nation’s values.  Given a ‘choice’, people want to get jobs, contribute to the nation’s growth and pay taxes. Given a ‘choice’, Americans don’t want children to go hungry. Given a choice, Americans want a government that works as well for Main Street as it does for the wealthy few.  America wants a path to prosperity for everyone.

“Leaders from the left and right, through the deficit commission and other venues, have called for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not lean on sleight of hand or the poor to fix the problems we face.  The House budget proposal pays lip service to this principle while violating it at every turn.

“As both the House and Senate continue to debate FY 2012 funding, we urge them to chart a true path to prosperity—one that feeds and clothes those in need, provides affordable health care, and supports job training and education from birth through college while making appropriate and reasonable changes to the tax code and entitlement programs.”

----EPI statement on proposed House Republican 2012 budget

John Irons, Research and Policy Director at the Economic Policy Institute, released the following statement on the proposed House Republican 2012 budget, which Representative Paul Ryan unveiled today:

The Chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, Republican Paul Ryan, released a proposed budget for fiscal year 2012 that rehashes failed economic thinking and the standard wish-list of right-wing policies. This budget is not a serious attempt to govern, but a warming over of long-dead economic proposals.

The budget, among other things, includes a plan to privatize Medicare by forcing recipients to buy insurance on the open market, to gut Medicaid by shifting costs to states and reducing funding, to cut taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals, and to reduce the nation’s ability to make needed investments by capping overall levels of federal spending. The plan would not only put the fragile recovery at risk, but it would also undermine economic growth and job creation for years.

This budget is impressive in its ability to not only inflict maximum harm on the economy, but to concentrate that harm on those most in need.  This will not only cost the economy hundreds of thousands (and perhaps millions) of jobs over the next five years, it will also destroy the social safety net and undermine policies that support the middle class.



“Priorities that are out of touch with basic American values”

“The budget plan released today by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) is a disaster for working people, retirees and those who rely on public services.  It’s not a real solution to our budget problems.  It freezes domestic spending at unrealistically low levels, while giving subsidies to corporations and more tax cuts for the wealthy.  It decimates important services and programs which working families depend upon, including Medicare and Medicaid, and lays the groundwork for slashing Social Security.  Instead of working together to put Americans back to work, Rep. Ryan – like his home state governor Scott Walker – is using our real economic problems as an excuse to cripple services for working families.

“This plan cuts Medicaid by as much as $1 trillion.  That means kicking seniors out of nursing homes, and denying primary care to low-income kids.  It will privatize Medicare and make coverage more costly and less accessible.  It breaks America’s promise to seniors and puts their health and retirement security at the whims of insurance companies.

“At a time when we should be pulling together, this is one more concerted attack on America’s middle class.  It reflects priorities that are out of touch with basic American values.  Americans do not want to see vital programs destroyed while corporations and the wealthy escape paying their fair share.  We will do what is necessary to oppose this plan and the politicians who support it.”

----More from the media...

“Mr Ryan's plan ends the guarantee that all American seniors will have health insurance.” – The Economist

“The plan would essentially end Medicare, which now pays most of the health-care bills for 48 million elderly and disabled Americans, as a program that directly pays those bills” – Wall Street Journal

“Ryan is grabbing the third rail of American politics with both hands” – New York Daily News

"It's like Survivor: Health Care." – New Republic

“Republicans intend to rig the game, scrapping the existing system and ending the guarantee of set benefits, while at the same giving beneficiaries a voucher that wouldn't keep up with costs.  This isn't "saving Medicare"; it's ending Medicare and screwing over seniors.” – Washington Monthly

“The reviews are even worse for Ryan's plan to turn Medicaid into a block grant program…In some states, that will mean patients -- the poor, disabled and elderly -- will suffer dramatic benefit cuts, particularly during tough economic times.” – Washington Monthly

“[I]t would still add more than $8 trillion to the national debt over the next decade” – Roll Call

“The plan includes a giant tax cut for the wealthy, as well as a complete dismantling of Medicare and Medicaid.  But it also includes a gift for Wall Street, in the form of a repeal of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law that protect taxpayers from having to bail out failed financial institutions.” – Think Progress

“It wouldn’t just leave more people uninsured than the Affordable Care Act does, but due to the Medicaid cutbacks, it’d probably leave more Americans uninsured than the status quo does, too. That’s not only morally unacceptable, but it’ll impede our efforts to bring down health-care costs systemwide.” –, Ezra Klein

“But some of the savings in Ryan's budget will be difficult to realize and others are ambiguous; further, it is not clear if his economic or revenue assumptions are credible…It is not clear where the much larger savings Ryan's plan envisions would be drawn from.” – National Journal/Atlantic

“In short, it looks like Republicans are once again trying to cut Social Security benefits.” – Center for American Progress

“Ryan’s op-ed introducing his budget lists Medicaid under “welfare reform,” reflecting the widespread belief that Medicaid is a program for the poor. That belief is wrong, or at least incomplete. A full two-thirds of Medicaid’s spending goes to seniors and people with disabilities.” –, Ezra Klein

“Ryan wants Americans to think of his Medicaid plan as "welfare reform." … In terms of the "welfare" aspect of Medicaid by far the largest set of poor people it covers are poor children. Is Ryan's view that these kids should have worked harder to have rich parents? – Washington Monthly

“The key takeaway here is that House Republicans believe seniors, people with disabilities, and low-income children have had it too easy, for too long.” - Washington Monthly

“Seventeen Democratic governors have signed a letter to congressional leaders strongly opposing the block grant idea. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) wrote a separate letter attacking the plan as well.” – Talking Points Memo

"A wholesale overhaul of Medicaid to block grants would likely lead to reduced benefits and eligibility, resulting in powerful negative repercussions for the millions of Americans who rely on Medicaid for their health and long term care," Nora Super, AARP's director of federal government relations for health, tells TPM. – Talking Points Memo

“Ryan Blueprint Rewards Millionaires and Corporate Donors While Decimating Medicare, Medicaid, and Affordable Care Act” - HCAN

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