Milbank on Ryan budget

Also really liked Milbank’s take on the Paul Ryan budget:

 Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, is on record as saying, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” And Ryan has just written a budget that supports Romney’s boast.

Ryan would cut $770 billion over 10 years from Medicaid and other health programs for the poor, compared with President Obama’s budget. He takes an additional $205 billion from Medicare, $1.6 trillion from the Obama health-care legislation and $1.9 trillion from a category simply labeled “other mandatory.” Pressed to explain this magic asterisk, Ryan allowed that the bulk of those “other mandatory” cuts come from food stamps, welfare, federal employee pensions and support for farmers.

Taken together, Ryan would cut spending on such programs by $5.3 trillion, much of which currently goes to the have-nots. He would then give that money to America’s haves: some $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, compared with current policies, according toCitizens for Tax Justice.

Ryan’s justification was straight out of Dickens. He wants to improve the moral fiber of the poor…

Ryan warned that a generous safety net “lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency, which drains them of their very will and incentive to make the most of their lives. It’s demeaning.”

How very kind: To protect poor Americans from being demeaned, Ryan is cutting their anti-poverty programs and using the proceeds to give the wealthiest Americans a six-figure tax cut…

Such a coupling — tax cuts that disproportionately help the rich and spending cuts that overwhelmingly hurt the poor — makes Ryan’s budget a political loser. His patronizing justification — that he is cutting support for the poor and the old in order to help them — adds insult. “If we have a debt crisis, then the people who get hurt the first and the worst are the poor and the elderly,” he reasoned.

And Ryan thinks the eventual Republican presidential nominee will campaign on this plan? “I’ve spoken to all these guys,” Ryan assured reporters, “and they believe that we are heading in the right direction.”

This explains a lot about the Republicans’ difficulty.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to Milbank on Ryan budget

  1. jrazz80 says:

    Couldn’t agree more. I am all for reform and making things more efficient, but these guys always try to sneak in these tax cuts too. Why can’t we just cut wasteful spending first, then cut taxes? Makes my head spin.

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