Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Ryan's Budget Proposal

There's a lot going on in the new budget put forth by Paul Ryan, primarily concerning medicare, medicaid, and taxes. Specifically, medicare would be turned to a voucher system, medicaid would be handled by block grants, and the tax rate for the wealthiest would be cut from 35% to 25%.

I have a couple questions about this, though. First of all, how is the voucher system any good for the people who rely on medicare? Sure, it looks good on paper, and it will result in lowering government operating costs, but it does not eliminate or reduce the cost of medicare. It simply transfers those costs to the individual. If this budget proposal is meant to help the economy, why would Ryan set out a proposal that would leave less money in the pockets of Americans for them to invest in the economy?

Second, what about the proposed medicaid block grants? Again, this solution doesn't actually solve the problem of skyrocketing health care costs, it just forces those who need medicaid to bear that financial burden. It would result in states receiving a set amount of money, which could change over time, and that's all there is. So, if more people request medicaid assistance, or if costs continue to rise, the money will run out and people will be left with nothing. How does this benefit the country?

Third, if this a budget that is designed to help us pull our way out of debt and reduce the deficit, why on earth would there be a proposed tax cut for the wealthiest Americans? How does this help anything? It's possible that, if this tax cut were not included, that the extra revenue could cover part of the medicare and medicaid costs. If there was an equivalent tax increase, that would only make it better. And remember, these are the wealthiest Americans, those making over $1 million a year. They can afford higher taxes. It's not like a higher tax rate will result in their losing their homes, being unable to feed their children, or educate them.

The problem with this budget is that the money it saves is meaningless since it is simply money that the people will be expected to pay. It does not cut costs, it does not make sense financially, and it doesn't help anyone except those at the top of the income bracket. If we're talking about ending the deficit and paying back our debt, how does a tax cut for billionaires make sense? The argument, as I understand it, is that upper-class tax cuts will turn into economic investment and job creation. I have never seen any evidence of this occurring, and so I'm pretty skeptical.

I was hoping for economic common sense, for solutions that would benefit the majority of Americans. Instead, we get a joke, an attack on the working classes, and more conservative BS. At least we won't have to see it passed. Let's hope the next proposal is better balanced.

Also, look at this claim by Paul Ryan. Apparently, he is also going to eliminate the unemployed.

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