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So much fanfare, so little fare. And once you see it without the dazzling neon lights rippling across it, you won’t be a fan. Unless you’re a millionaire corporate executive.
“It” is the highly-ballyhooed Republican budget proposal. It was unleashed on us a few days ago in a high-voltage press conference by Paul Ryan, the GOP’s wonky ideologue who now chairs the House budget committee. Ryan dubbed his plan – Ta, TaTa-dah! – “Path to Prosperity.” And indeed it is… but prosperity for whom? That is the core question that should be asked about all prosperity claims.
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Ryan’s budgetary offering turns out to be deja voodoo all over again. Two-thirds of the $4 trillion in budget cuts in his proposal comes out of the hides of the middle class and the poor. Take Medicare – which Ryan does. He would defund and privatize this effective, efficient, and wildly-popular program of universal health care for seniors, replacing it with insurance vouchers that put seniors at the mercy of profiteering health care vultures. The vouchers would be worth about a third of what Medicare covers, so good-bye and good luck, old folks.
But health care coverage is not all that Ryan’s Republican “prosperity” plan cuts. The rich and corporations – poor babies – need another break, and the chairman delivers. Rather than paying a 35 percent tax rate on their fabulous incomes, Ryan generously cuts their rate to 25 percent – less than common working stiffs must pay. After all, promises the GOP’s new voodoo priest, this governmental giveaway to those at the top would naturally tinkle down to the masses, generating prosperity for every American – just at it did in the reign of George W’s presidency. You remember those golden years, don’t you?
As we say in Texas, never sign nothing by neon.
“The President Is Missing,” The New York Times,” April 11, 2011.
“Ludicrous And Cruel,” The New York Times, April 8, 2011.
“Paul Ryan’s Budget Not About the Budget… It’s About ‘Repealing the 20th Century’,” www.alternet.org, April 6, 2011.
“Paul Ryan’s Path To The Poorhouse,” www.thinkprogress.org, April 6, 2011.