By now most people who pay attention to what comes drifting out of Washington are aware of Paul Ryan and the GOP’s plan to reduce the deficit they entitled “Path to Prosperity”. The only problem with it is that it’s only really prosperous for insurance companies because it attempts to take direct federal funding for Medicare and Medicaid to the private sector via a block grant to the states.
This money will then be divided amongst people who the states deem worthy of needing it to buy private insurance on their own. Ryan and the Republicans must be clueless about how much insurance companies want to charge for premiums to seniors, children and the physically handicapped as well as not knowing that states like Texas, the state I live in, have a way of short-changing such groups.
The bill might have some credibility if it attempted to make equally significant cuts to their favorite campaign donors, the military-industrial complex as well as raise revenue in the form of higher tax rates for the millionaires and billionaires in this country, but there is none of that. God forbid these special interests groups have to suffer.
There is also an absence of eliminating outdated and unnecessary subsidies to big oil companies and big agribusiness.
That’s about $4 billion a year for oil subsidies and nearly $5 billion for huge corporate farming entities. So it comes as no surprise as we discover that Republicans are now backing away from their goose egg after polls reveal that a strong majority are opposed to it.
Those oil and agribusiness subsidies served their purpose in an earlier time in our history to foster job creation in their respective fields. But ultimately they needed to be phased out as these industries succeeded and earned comfortable profits to make it on their own.
We now need to take these give-aways back and put them into the new start-ups industries in technology and energy sources that will transform this nation from a fossil fuel-fed economy and a bloated military presence around the world to one where wind, solar, geo-thermal, hydropower and bio-fuels power our homes and businesses and national security is more efficient with fewer military personnel spread all around the globe.
Increased production of renewable energy sources would not only create high paying jobs lost over the last two decades to conservative-supported job outsourcing but would create a healthier environment that didn’t contaminate our air and water causing health issues that cut into our families budgets. Lower health care costs and an environment devoid of polluting toxins would put more money back into the pockets of consumers as well as many food supply businesses who worry about food source contamination.
Such despair and angst over reducing the federal deficit need not really be an issue however if Congress would seriously look at other options that DO NOT impact the least powerful people in this country in terms of financial resources and political pull. Again, falling back on polls, most Americans are not opposed to the wealthiest in this country paying greater amounts of taxes. If these rates were rolled back to the pre-Bush era of 38% when America was very prosperous, this would generate some $700 billion in extra revenue.
Other revenue could be obtained for more productive purposes in this country if we rapidly wound down the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are estimates of more than $1.8 trillion we could regain from current law spending levels over ten years if we brought out troops home and asked our allies to share more of the burden in their spheres of influence.
It’s time that a budget plan worked fairly and put the burden on those who are most apt to not only to afford it but would be equal beneficiaries of it. The income gap in this country is at historical highs and that hurts the economy in so may ways. When more people make less they spend less and businesses here in this country suffer. Fewer jobs are the result of a budget plan that spends less in areas where workers benefit rather than wealthy corporate interests. With some of these record high profits being made by Wall Street companies going into wages and job creation, they would be promoting their own self-interests down the road.
If all of this sounds to good to be true, it’s not. It is not only realistic but such a budget plan is already on the table and trying to bust its way through the GOP obstructionist efforts who insist that our deficit woes can only be resolved by taking from those who have the least and need the greatest help. It called The People’s Budget and was put together by the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives.
It follows a measured approach that claims it can reduce the deficit by $5.6 trillion and establish a budget surplus of $30.7 billion in 2021. It goes after the fat cats in this country who push the buttons of many in Congress that allows these wealthiest constituents to pay less taxes than most of those who make $50-$75 thousand a year.
It keeps Social Security and Medicare solvent by rolling back the taxable maximum on the employee side to the Reagan-era 90% rate from today’s 88% of earnings and eliminates the taxable maximum on the employer side. It promotes health care reform that works to eliminate billions in Medicare fraud each year and prevents health insurance companies from taking as much as 30 to 40 cents of every premium dollar you pay them for your coverage and putting it towards their excessive profits.
You can read the entire People’s Budget plan and the details here. Then you can write or call your Congressman and ask them why this hasn’t been placed on the floor of the House for serious consideration and why they are not supporting it more than the Ryan Plan; a plan most likely written with the assistance of corporate lobbyists.
The Ryan/GOP “Path to Prosperity” budget plan is not the courageous creation many conservatives pundits touted when it first came out.
The Washington Post says “It’s much more courageous to propose taxes on the rich and powerful than spending cuts on the poor and disabled.” Economists at the Center for American Progress say the People’s Budget “once again put[s] requiring more sacrifice from the luckiest among us back on the table“. And the Economic Policy Institute affirms that a “National budget policy should adequately fund up-front job creation, invest in long-term economic growth, reform the tax code, and put the debt on a sustainable path while protecting the economic security of low-income Americans and growing the middle class. The proposal by the Congressional Progressive caucus achieves all of these goals.” (emphasis mine) SOURCE
A tip of the hat to Ronni Bennett at Time Goes By for bringing this issue to my attention in a recent blog of hers.