House Republican Budget Offers Pain for Everyone but the Rich

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Katie Peters
Phone: 202.741.6285
Email: kpeters@americanprogress.org

House Republican Budget Offers Pain for Everyone but the Rich

WASHINGTON - Today, as House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his budget plan for the coming fiscal year, the Center for American Progress released an analysis revealing that the blueprint not only mirrors last year’s disastrous effort but also manages to reject what little bipartisan budget agreement was forged in 2011.

“This is not a serious budget proposal. It is specific about massive tax cuts for the richest 1 percent, big oil companies, and multinational corporations, but frustratingly vague about how the numbers could possibly add up,” said Michael Linden, author of the analysis and Director of Tax and Budget Policy at the Center for American Progress. “The budget ends Medicare and Medicaid as we know it, but lacks any plan to create jobs, create growth, and build the middle class.”

This year’s proposed House budget for fiscal year 2013 starting in October would once again end the Medicare guarantee, slash investments crucial to the middle class and to future economic growth, cut taxes for the rich, and protect taxpayer subsidies for oil companies. It again ignores current economic challenges by offering no credible job-creation measures, and it again places virtually the entire burden of debt reduction on the shoulders of those least able to bear it. Further, the new plan proposes spending levels well below those agreed to by both Republicans and Democrats just eight months ago.

The analysis outlines the six most important failures of the new House budget plan:

  1. Undermining the middle class. Nearly every important element of the new budget proposal from the Republican leadership in the House would weaken the middle class in America. The plan ends the Medicare guarantee of decent health insurance in retirement. It also slashes critical middle-class investments such as education and infrastructure by 45 percent and 24 percent respectively. It includes not a single new measure to help the nearly 13 million unemployed get back into a decent job. And on top of all that, the middle class would end up paying higher taxes as well.
     
  2. Rigging the system even more heavily in favor of the richest 1 percent. The new Ryan plan protects existing tax breaks for those at the top of the income spectrum, and then goes the next step and offers them huge new tax cuts. Rep. Ryan and his colleagues insist that the more than $3 trillion in tax cuts for the rich won’t result in lower revenue, but they are deliberately vague about how the numbers could possibly add up. The reality is that the only way to pay for such huge tax cuts for the 1 percent is to make the 99 percent pick up the tab.
     
  3. Ending the Medicare guarantee and raising health care costs for seniors. This year’s plan, just like last year’s, calls for replacing the Medicare system we currently have with a capped voucher that seniors would use to purchase health care coverage on the private market. Unlike last year, however, the new plan claims to maintain traditional Medicare as an option that seniors could choose to purchase. This sounds a little better, but in reality Ryan's latest health care scheme for senior citizens would inevitably result in a “death spiral” for Medicare that means higher costs for seniors.
     
  4. Undercutting the economic recovery. Not only does the House Republican budget plan fail to propose even a single new idea for spurring job creation, it would also force an immediate swerve into severe austerity. It’s an economic prescription that, as Europe is finding out, will make matters much worse.
     
  5. Deviating dramatically from a balanced approach to deficit reduction. Rep. Ryan’s new plan places the entire burden of deficit reduction on the middle class and the poor, and it would actually give the rich additional tax breaks at the same time. The numbers don’t even add up to real deficit reduction. The tax proposals alone would break the bank, and the spending cuts are unrealistic in the extreme.
     
  6.  Reneging on last year’s bipartisan budget agreement. Last summer's debt-limit deal, known as the Budget Control Act, included an agreement on overall “discretionary” spending levels—the money that Congress appropriates each year—for the coming fiscal year. The Budget Control Act passed both houses of Congress with wide bipartisan majorities and was signed into law by President Barack Obama in August last year. For his part, President Obama adhered to the enacted law when he presented his proposed budget for FY 2013 earlier this year. The new House Republican plan, however, completely reneges on it. It’s tough to see how a bipartisan deficit reduction agreement can ever be reached when even previously agreed-to bipartisan deals fall through.

Read the full analysis:

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The Center for American Progress is a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action. We combine bold policy ideas with a modern communications platform to help shape the national debate, expose the hollowness of conservative governing philosophy, and challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter.

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