Nobel economist Paul Krugman speaks out (selected quote and illustration below) on the sheer hypocrisy and disconnect from reality of the budget proposed by Rep. Ryan which was passed in the House this past week.
Ryan’s budget would give even more massive tax breaks to the super rich, gut the safety net for the poor, and it again seeks to destroy Medicare by turning it into a government welfare style voucher program. No amount of weasel words change these facts. The new program is no longer Medicare. End of discussion.
Rather than restoring taxes on the wealthiest 1% of the nation, which absurd low tax rates have contributed the current deficit levels, Ryan’s budget just throws more tax cuts at them. Meanwhile, as Warren Buffet and President Obama have pointed out, where is the justice when a billionaire does not pay taxes at at least the same rate as their secretary? It is a good question. The answer is simple. There is no justice.
The highest marginal tax rates were under the Eisenhower regime, approaching the upper 80’s percentage rate. That period also saw unstoppable investment, growth, and job creation. In fact, anyone who bothers to look at the tax rates vs. job creation for the past 100 years discovers that under higher marginal tax rates, the job creation rate is always the highest. And as those tax rates have dropped, the rate of investment and job creation has fallen to historical lows. Not that the facts and reality mean anything to the GOP and their master, Grover Norquist. Their true agenda is to destroy federal government, which they hate and do not believe in, pure and simple. By whatever means, and at whatever cost to the vast 99% majority of Americans.
As for the corporations, because Congress will not put a stop to the massive loopholes and off shore cheating of American corporations, they not only pay in reality taxes at the lowest rate in the developed world, many of the largest corporations pay no taxes whatsoever! There is nothing in Ryan’s budget to address this fact, of course.
The GOP is constantly screaming about welfare queens who are destroying America, but in this budget do absolutely nothing to stop the obscene subsidies to the oil companies, even while those companies are wallowing in record profits and record prices at the pump. For the GOP, welfare is only for the corporate oligarchy and the criminals in the banking and mortgage industry, to save them from their own criminal acts and failure. That’s OK.
Of course, as always, IOKIYAR. After all, for the GOP and the 1%, profits are for capitalists, losses are for socialism, because they can always turn to the government to bail them out.
Medicare, e.g., is one of the most successful government insurance programs ever. It operates with an overhead cost of five percent or less. People have paid their entire lives into this insurance program. It is NOT a welfare or entitlement program, other than in the sense that people who paid their entire lives into that insurance fund are ENTITLED to collect the insurance as medical care in their old age.
The Ryan budget would in fact turn Medicare into a welfare program, but slash benefits, increasing the annual additional cost to nearly $6,000 per senior citizen out of their pocket within just a few years. And who knows where it would end, with a party like the GOP in charge, which has fought Medicare and Social Security since their inception, and whose clear goal is not to fix them, but to destroy them.
And of course what the GOP fails to mention about Medicare is that they are basically refusing to cover the savings and investment that I and other senior citizens have made into the program our entire lives. This is not welfare. This is health insurance. My wife and I have paid into it since the program began, basically our entire adult lives. The GOP does not care. They will steal that money, just like any other money that is not nailed down, in their blind attempt to insure that the super rich and the corporate oligarchy have it all.
What is really fascinating is that most of these proposals in the Ryan budget require individual mandates of citizens, the very concept that the GOP has used to take the health care reform act to the Supreme Court in an attempt to destroy a program based on and modeled after the very nature of health care reform proposed by the GOP and their candidate Romney before the current law was passed. But then again, consistency and logic mean nothing to the GOP.
The hypocrisy and lies of the GOP are simply legion. Right now, given the words and acts of the GOP over the past couple of years, why any senior citizen or woman or Black or dark-skinned person, or member of a union, the police, or the fire fighters of this nation, would vote for a GOP candidate is beyond me, unless they simply have a death wish or are psychotic.
The GOP has become the party of the super rich, the corporations, and the aging white males of this nation, with one goal in life: protecting their wealth, and adding even more to it, even on the broken backs of the middle class, the poor, and the downtrodden. Their philosophy is simple: I’ve got mine, screw the rest of you.
To once again quote Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman on this so-called budget:
… The Ryan budget is a fraud; Mr. Ryan talks loudly about the evils of debt and deficits, but his plan would actually make the deficit bigger even as it inflicted huge pain in the name of deficit reduction. But is his budget really the most fraudulent in American history? Yes, it is.
To be sure, we’ve had irresponsible and/or deceptive budgets in the past. Ronald Reagan’s budgets relied on voodoo, on the claim that cutting taxes on the rich would somehow lead to an explosion of economic growth. George W. Bush’s budget officials liked to play bait and switch, low-balling the cost of tax cuts by pretending that they were only temporary, then demanding that they be made permanent. But has any major political figure ever premised his entire fiscal platform not just on totally implausible spending projections but on claims that he has a secret plan to raise trillions of dollars in revenue, a plan that he refuses to share with the public?
What’s going on here? The answer, presumably, is that this is what happens when extremists gain complete control of a party’s discourse: all the rules get thrown out the window. Indeed, the hard right’s grip on the G.O.P. is now so strong that the party is sticking with Mr. Ryan even though it’s paying a significant political price for his assault on Medicare.
Now, the House Republican budget isn’t about to become law as long as President Obama is sitting in the White House. But it has been endorsed by Mr. Romney. And even if Mr. Obama is reelected, the fraudulence of this budget has important implications for future political negotiations…
[W]hat we learn from the latest Republican budget is that the whole pursuit of a Grand Bargain was a waste of time and political capital. For a lasting budget deal can only work if both parties can be counted on to be both responsible and honest — and House Republicans have just demonstrated, as clearly as anyone could wish, that they are neither.
The following photoshop image of a scene from a George Clooney film has been making the rounds to describe the profound incisiveness of Prof. Krugman’s commentary. I think it sums it up very well.