Paul Ryan budget plan slammed by Obama as "social Darwinism"

Ryan’s Budget Plan hurts seniors and middle class but helps millionaires and defense. Photo: Paul Ryan has a prescription for America AP

WASHINGTON, April 4, 2012 — President Obama, during his speech before the news editors luncheon hosted by the Associated Press, zeroed in on the Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) budget proposal and the GOP candidates supporting it. The President didn’t pull his punches, going all out, in full campaign mode.

He accused Ryan and candidate Mitt Romney, who called the Ryan plan “marvelous,” of “social Darwinism” that “imposes a radical vision” on America. He singled out the Ryan egregious tax break for millionaires which would be paid for by gutting programs for the poor, the middle class, the disabled, veterans, seniors, college students, law enforcement, and even national parks.

Congressman Paul Ryan (D-WI) proudly holds his budget plan  (Associated Press)

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) proudly holds his budget plan (Associated Press)

Of course, Ryan fired back, defending the budget proposal that he has dubbed “Pathway to Prosperity” on his Facebook page, and telling ABC News that “The president’s attacks on our budget are as disappointing, as revealing as his attacks on the Supreme Court. It seems that he takes anyone questioning his vision of limitless government as a personal affront and he’s lashing out. That’s hardly the kind of leadership we were expecting when he ran for office.”

However, most Democrats are eager to see President Obama go full throttle, believing the Ryan Budget Plan makes a great campaign issue, especially with the presumptive GOP nominee Romney and Congressman Ryan now joined at the hip. They are already calling it the Ryan-Romney budget.

And it is a ripe target. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its report, requested by Congressman Ryan, showing his budget would severely shrink spending by 2050 on everything except for defense, which he would increase, Social Security, health care, and interest payments, taking the funding to nearly $1.2 trillion below the drastic funding caps Congress enacted in August 2011.

Add to this, Ryan plans to change Medicare, changing it into a voucher system with seniors having to make up the difference between what their insurance company will pay and the bills they receive for health care. Now there is a campaign issue that Democrats would love to use. 

Congressman Ryan's plan and your taxes (Associated Press)

Congressman Ryan’s plan and your taxes (Associated Press)

Next are the big tax breaks millionaires and billionaires would receive by lowering their tax bracket, which would cost the rest of us $4.6 trillion over the next decade. Supposedly, these tax cuts would be underwritten by closing loopholes and eliminating wasteful deductions.

Yet, as President Obama pointed out in his speech, “the Republicans in Congress refuse to list a single tax loophole they are willing to close. Not one. And by the way, there is no way to get even close to $4.6 trillion in savings without dramatically reducing all kinds of tax breaks that go to middle-class families — tax breaks for health care, tax breaks for retirement, tax breaks for homeownership.”

That tax cut adds up to at least $150,000 for every millionaire in America. And it comes on top of the two tax cuts that President George W. Bush handed out in 2001 and 2003.

The President outlined in his speech just what that $150,000 could buy: “A year’s worth of prescription drug coverage for a senior citizen. Plus a new school computer lab. Plus a year of medical care for a returning veteran. Plus a medical research grant for a chronic disease. Plus a year’s salary for a firefighter or police officer. Plus a tax credit to make a year of college more affordable. Plus a year’s worth of financial aid. 

“One hundred fifty thousand dollars could pay for all of these things combined — investments in education and research that are essential to economic growth that benefits all of us.”

With the government gutted, basically small enough to drown in the bathtub, as Grover Norquist of Americans For Tax Reform once so famously put it, this would be an America we would no longer recognize. In fact, would this even be America? Is this what Mitt Romney really wants?

Here is some of what would be decimated by these draconian cuts:

Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) listens to Paul Ryan  (Associated Press)

Governor Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) listens to Paul Ryan (Associated Press)

* basic research and support for defense, energy, medicine, manufacturing, education, and communications

* education from Head Start through college, veteran education, health care

* construction and repair of highways, tunnels, bridges, airports, ports, waterways and infrastructure that states can’t build or repair

* oversight of safe food and drugs

* enforcement of environmental standards to protect and restore clean water and air

* law enforcement from the FBI to ICE to Homeland Security

Is it any wonder President Obama called the Ryan budget “a prescription for decline.”

Yet this proposal, which is hailed as bold and is embraced wholeheartedly by the Republican Party, does not spell Morning in America, but Midnight in America, the witching hour.

If the deceptively named Pathway to Prosperity proposal does indeed become the cornerstone of the GOP platform and its vision for America, the American people will see through it very quickly, just as they did last year.

The Ryan-Romney budget plan could very well become the death knell of the Republican Party, taking with it the Tea Party as well, that Right Wing orchestrated movement that led to this sorry state of affairs for the once Grand Old Party.

To contact Catherine Poe, see above. Her work appears in Ad Lib in the Communities at the Washington Times. She can also be heard on “Democrats for America’s Future.”

She is also a contributor to broadcast, print and online media.


This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ WashingtonTimes.com. Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Catherine Poe

Catherine was named one of the top Progressives in Maryland along with Senator Barbara Mikulski and Congresswoman Donna Edwards. She has been a guest of President Obama in the Rose Garden.

As past president of Long Island NOW, she worked to reform women's prisons in New York, open the construction trades to women, change laws to safeguard battered women, and protect the rights of rape victims. 

Long active in Democratic politics, she served as the presidentof the Talbot Democrats in Maryland for six years and fought to getthe Health Care Reform bill passed.

Catherine has been published in a diverse range of newspapers and magazines, including Newsday, Star Democrat, Rocky Mountain News, Yellowstone News, and the Massachusetts Review.

If Catherine has learned anything over the years it is that progressive change does not come easily, but in baby steps. 

Contact Catherine Poe

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