What do you call people who use their power to line their own pockets by taking from people who can’t protect themselves? “Bullies?” “Thieves?”
What if they also lie about it and attempt to cover their tracks with irrational nonsense that would make Jabberwocky seem like a reference manual? Would they be “liars?” “Thieving liars?” How about “lying, thieving bullies?”
Judging by what’s happening today in American politics, the answer is inescapable . . . we’d all be forced to just call them Republicans.
Congressman Paul Ryan, the new chairman of the House Budget Committee recently released the Republican budget for 2012, and it subsequently passed through the House with all but four Republican members voting in its favor. Labeled the “Path to Prosperity,” the Ryan plan is touted to cut $6.2 trillion from President Obama’s budget over the next decade. But while this may sound promising on the surface, even a cursory look at the details leaves a person asking, “To whose prosperity does this path lead?
According to Ryan, the Republican proposal is “guided by the timeless principles of the American idea,” but unless he was referring to the principles upheld by the Robber Barons of the 19th Century, Ryan must be talking about another America. If the congressman was indeed talking about the United States, a nation that was founded on the notion of a government empowered by the “consent of the governed” to “form a more perfect union” that would “promote the general welfare,” then the only explanation is that the man is either ignorant of the facts of our founding, or he’s just an unethical self-serving liar!
The fact of the matter is that Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” is a full frontal assault on working Americans. It makes a mockery of our Constitution by subverting the federal government for the benefit of the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. In short, the proposal that Ryan refers to as the “new House majority’s answer to history’s call,” will end Medicare as we know it, replace Medicaid with block grants, make the Bush tax cuts permanent, and lower both the top individual and corporate tax rate to 25%.
Indeed, Ryan and the other social cannibals of the Republican Party like to talk about being adults while paying lip service to shared sacrifice, but as is evidenced by their budget proposal, the truth of their actions is a different matter. The Republican plan not only attempts to slash social programs to pay on the debt created by years of excess military spending, tax cuts for the rich, and banker bailouts, but it does so by first making matters worse.
In what has become SOP for the GOP, the Ryan plan will trim the tax bill of the wealthy by 29%, bringing it to its lowest level since 1931, and it will attempt to cover the loss in revenue by hacking at the discretionary services relied upon by everyone else.
So, the Republican plan is to address spending by gutting education, allowing our infrastructure to further decay, and slashing $1.6 trillion total from domestic discretionary spending, while shifting the burden for the high costs of healthcare onto seniors instead of addressing the root causes, and also ripping the heart out of Medicaid, which expends 87% of its costs to serve children, the elderly and the disabled. All told, the Ryan budget will reduce spending by $4.3 trillion over 10 years, but even though the justification for all of these draconian cuts is based on the deficit, Ryan and the snake oil peddling Republicans will actually give $4.2 trillion of that total back in tax cuts.
That’s right, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Ryan plan will reduce the deficit by all of $155 billion over 10 years. But what the heck, the deficit is really nothing but a policy bludgeon created and used by Republicans anyway. Since Ronald Reagan took office, the Republicans have been dedicated to increasing military spending, while cutting taxes, and as a result consistently ignoring the deficit and adding to the debt. The Ryan budget is no exception.
Just why the beltway press has referred to Ryan as “courageous” for proposing what appears to be standard fare for the Republican Party is more than a little curious. The truth of the matter is that the release of the Ryan plan may have been much more “careless” than it was “courageous.” Like the realtor who inadvertently reveals that the field behind that bargain-priced Tudor is slated for a chemical factory, the Ryan budget leaves no doubt regarding the true motives of the Republican Party.
Fortunately, this time around, people are paying attention. Blinded by their own lack of integrity, Republicans evidently believed that by grandfathering everyone 55 and over into the traditional Medicare system, they wouldn’t receive much pushback at their attempt to screw everyone else. But they were wrong. As it turns out, seniors who have learned that the Ryan plan will replace Medicare with a voucher system that will cause future retirees to reach into their own pockets for an estimated $12,500 each year for insurance, have reacted as if the change affected them personally.
Hurray for American seniors! In one town hall meeting after another, Republicans returning to their home constituencies are getting an earful about their illicit attempt to stuff their pockets with money gained by throwing future retirees to the wolves that run the profit-rich medical insurers.
Of course, the big-money Republican damage control apparatus is already underway trying to spin the dismantling of Medicare. Spending millions on bullshit television ads, the voucher system that Paul Ryan euphemistically refers to as “premium support,” is now being presented as a Republican attempt to “preserve Medicare.” Sadly, that preservation would be in name only, preserving the program in much the same way as a classic car is preserved by sending it through a car crusher. But hey, in the Bizarro World of Republican spin doctoring — rhetoric is reality.
So, where does this go from here? Nowhere. There is absolutely zero chance that the Ryan plan will pass the Senate and be signed by the president, which makes it all the more painfully obvious how ridiculously disconnected the Republican Party is from the reality of life in America. Why House Republicans would actually reveal their true agenda, knowing that it would never become law, is anybody’s guess. It’s like a thief giving his victim advanced warning — in writing. But be that as it may, the genie is out of the bottle, and he’s got “Republican doom” tattooed on his forehead.