The GOP presidential candidates' budget plans are riddled with such fantastic assumptions that no neutral observer could come away with any reaction other than that Republicans are so math-challenged they could not manage a lemonade stand, let alone the finances of a nation of 310 million people whose government spends $3.5 trillion a year. The Party is Over: Mike Lofgren
According to the New York Times, Ryan's budget would cut $3.3 trillion from low-income programs over 10 years and “leave millions of struggling families desperate for food, shelter and health care.” In all, more than 60 percent of the cuts would come from low-income programs. Roger Bybee (6/26/2012)
Health care is only one of the large and difficult problems America needs to deal with, ranging from infrastructure to climate change, all of which demand that we engage in a lot of hard thinking. Yet what we have instead is a political culture in which one side sneers at knowledge and exalts ignorance, while the other side hunkers down and pretends to halfway agree. Paul Krugman, New York Times 3/11/2011
if you want to balance the budget in 10 years, you pretty much must do it largely by cutting defense and raising taxes; you can’t make huge cuts in the rest of the budget without inflicting extreme pain on millions of Americans. Paul Krugman, New York Times 4/22/2011)
What is the Point of Budget Reporting ? (7/19/2013)
Politics of Disposability in Paul Ryan's World
An Unserious man (8/19/2012)
The Ryan Tax Plan Isn't A Plan (3/25/2012)
The Ryan Budget: A GOP Suicide Pact (3/19/2012)
Ryan ? Seriously ? (8/9/2012)
Joseph Stiglitz on the Budget (4/7/2011)
budget is probably the strongest statement of US priorities that we
have. In a democracy, It should reflect the
wishes of the people, but, according to polls,
it doesn't. When most
people do not agree with the opinions of the affluent, studies show that the
wealthy prevail. Much better results would result from the
Budget, which has been endorsed by Paul Krugman, Dean Baker,
Jeffrey Sachs and even Forbes magazine.
Republicans, in their misguided
austerity, are determined to make
smaller while benefiting their corporate backers. They intend to gut those
programs that they do not like anyway: Health Care reform, Public Broadcasting,
poverty programs, and, going against overwhelming public
opinion, Social Security, and
Medicare. They object to new spending for infrastructure...which we
need to stay safe and competitive. They oppose net neutrality. They seem determined also to lay
off public employees, and they are openly hostile to unions. (The right to join a union is one promised
by the UN
declaration of Human Rights.) So will layoffs, cuts to public
programs, union busting, improve the number of available jobs, or
the well-being of people ? No, it will punish the vulnerable,
weaken the economy but, arguably, enhance election prospects for Republicans. Also
they are for a flat tax, which will give
large tax cuts to oligarchs.
The deficit that we now have is in large part due to Bush's two wars that were off
the books and large tax cuts for the
wealthy. So is austerity
a good idea ? Nobel Laureate
Paul Krugman, Joe Stiglitz and
300 other economists signed a petition opposing budget cuts for
now. Because the Republican cuts are unwise and are accompanied by
tax cuts for the very comfortable, there will be little deficit
reduction. Cheney famously said deficits don't matter, and
Republicans aren't really trying to reduce them. Country club
Republicans favorite sport is dodging taxes... even if it costs us
our civilization and even the planet.
Since Reagan, working families have been sinking: wages flat, pensions disappeared, healthcare (when they could get it) unaffordable. They don't take vacations, and they often have no sick time. They need two incomes, two cars, expensive child care, and the cost of higher education is skyrocketing. They are in debt with little or no savings. (1) During the same time corporations reaped the benefit of higher productivity, and they got the rewards that formerly might have gone to workers. A large percentage of corporations paid no taxes, or even got refunds. Republicans deregulated, rolled back new deal financial stabilizers. The financial sector went out of control and the market crashed.
We have come to a new gilded age.
The vast majority are just scraping by, but the one vibrant part of
the economy is for luxury items. Since most people are maxed out,
there is no broad based demand. There will be little job creation.
We are back to the condition of the great depression.
So what are Republicans doing about this ? They are ready to cut Social Security, Healthcare, head start, higher education funding, and remove the right to collective bargaining. If private employees have lost benefits, then, according to Republican logic, so should public employees. In short, they want to kick them while they're down. They insist on tax cuts for the rich. The US has a host of new problems associated with income inequality. Welcome to the plantation. (2)
We might have repaired some of our decrepit infrastructure and,
at the same time, put some of the many unemployed back to work, but
Republicans said no. Republican governors refused money for
improved transportation. Instead, knowing that it will kill jobs,
they insist on budget cuts.
Republicans, in their push for States rights, held hearings so troubled States can declare bankruptcy, the better to renege on pensions and other obligations that they have dodged for a long time. They are keen to avoid new taxes, because they are deadbeats unwilling to pay the bills. They are all about the money, not the real condition of the country. The cuts being considered now will produce even more expensive side effects down the road: crumbling bridges, unaffordable education and healthcare, and social unrest.
Officially, the National Security budget is around twenty percent of the total, but that is but a fig leaf for the real number. In a lead editorial about the federal budget, the Day newspaper pointed out that the amount allocated for national security is about 20 percent. That could be the official number, but it is more like a third of the actual amount: upward of $1.2 trillion. Republicans took that part of the budget off the table.
There is the looming possibility of a Government shutdown, particularly if there is no agreement to raise the debt limit. That can cause a financial meltdown, especially if the bond market decides that Federal and State governments are no longer credit worthy.
Republicans have thrown a wrench into our formerly functioning government. (It would help a lot if we had range-voting to mitigate the problem, but that is not going to happen because the two-party duopoly is determined to wreck us before they give up their ideologies.) Republican Federal and State budget cuts, as envisioned now, will doom the economic recovery. A failed US economy could win elections for Republicans. That seems to be their plan.
We cannot have excellent infrastructure, top-notch
education, and a strong social safety net because we continue to
squander our now almost exhausted resources on the world's largest
military and a failed attempt at a
world-wide empire. In a real democracy, with a fully-disclosed budget that
reflects our values, we would reverse the importance of military
spending and spending for the well-being of our people.
Republicans want to shred the social contract, punish the vulnerable, kill jobs, increase poverty, reward the wealthy, contribute to economic instability, kill net neutrality, neglect crumbling infrastructure, ignore environmental degradation, perpetuate the world's largest military, deeply cut foreign assistance, and not reduce the deficit as much as simply staying the course: letting the Bush tax cuts expire.
Republicans don't care if they
crash the economy because
their one clear goal is to assure that President Obama accomplishes
nothing. If they shut down the Federal government, people should
call for a Constitutional
Convention. (3) Here's why you should veto their agenda.
How are Republicans like Jim Jones
P S Thank W again.
Federal Budget PrioritiesThe Federal budget is probably the strongest statement of US priorities that we have. In a democracy, It should reflect the wishes of the people, but, according to polls, it doesn't. Much better results would result from the People's Budget, which has been endorsed by Paul Krugman, Dean Baker, Jeffrey Sachs and even Forbes magazine.
Here's what we have:
The Shadow Budget (Matt Taibbi)
Austerity For Whom ? (pdf)
The Monstrous Ryan Manifesto (pdf) (1/26/2011)
See the forecast.
(1) See this Elizabeth Warren video (about an hour, though well spent): http://www.brasschecktv.com/page/642.html
(2) The Spirit Level, Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger: Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
(3) Why We Need A Constitutional Convention: http://www.seconnecticut.com/constitutional_convention.htm