House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan wrote an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal extolling the virtues of austerity while claiming anyone who disagreed with his plan to destroy Medicare was, ironically, going to destroy Medicare. While blaming Senate Democrats for the Sequester because they did not pass a budget Rep. Ryan offered a Greece style austerity budget while claiming to oppose austerity.
House Republicans have a plan to change course. On Tuesday, we’re introducing a budget that balances in 10 years—without raising taxes. How do we do it? We stop spending money the government doesn’t have. Historically, Americans have paid a little less than one-fifth of their income in taxes to the federal government each year. But the government has spent more.
So our budget matches spending with income. Under our proposal, the government spends no more than it collects in revenue—or 19.1% of gross domestic product each year. As a result, we’ll spend $4.6 trillion less over the next decade.
Our opponents will shout austerity…
Yes they will Paul, because it is austerity.
Another fun fact about Ryan’s budget is that it is predicated on the repeal of Obamacare. One of the central issues of the Romney-Ryan 2012 campaign is back in Ryan’s budget, despite the electoral defeat. So much for pragmatic budgeting. Rep. Ryan wants to re-litigate Obamacare and slash over $4 trillion in spending – something that he could not get even if he and Mitt Romney were victorious.
But the most absurd claim within a litany of absurd claims is that Paul Ryan is the defender of Medicare and that it is his critics, not he, that are going to destroy the program.
Our budget repeals the president’s health-care law and replaces it with patient-centered reforms. It also protects and strengthens Medicare. I want Medicare to be there for my kids—just as it’s there for my mom today. But Medicare is going broke. Under our proposal, those in or near retirement will see no changes, and future beneficiaries will inherit a program they can count on. Starting in 2024, we’ll offer eligible seniors a range of insurance plans from which they can choose—including traditional Medicare—and help them pay the premiums.
The other side will demagogue this issue. But remember: Anyone who attacks our Medicare proposal without offering a credible alternative is complicit in the program’s demise.
In case you missed it, Rep. Ryan wants to destroy Medicare and replace it with inefficient and ineffective private insurance plans but claims those not offering him a “credible alternative” are the ones who really, somehow, want to destroy Medicare. His love for Ayn Rand may be second only to his love for dishonesty.
Adopting this budget would destroy what is left of the safety net and, like austerity programs across the world have done, throw the country back into recession. Not to mention the budget would repeal President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. In other words, even as Obama looks for ways to shaft his base he can not go this far. Which begs the question what was the point of this Op-Ed? Opening statement for the 2016 campaign? An attempt to start the negotiating process way to the right? Because this budget proposal is going nowhere.