The vision of a Republican budget was presented by Rep. Paul Ryan this week and the only thing some of his colleagues on the right don’t like about it is that it doesn’t do enough to punish the poor and working class while it coddles the rich and insulates corporate power.
For progressives, the Ryan latest budget—like those before it—represents a clear view into the Republican mindset in which austerity economics rule and the vision of shared prosperity is eviscerated by attacks on social programs, including Medicare, higher education grants, food and poverty assistance, job training initiatives and others.
Also familiar in the pattern of budget politics, however, is that while the Ryan budget—unpopular as it is among all sections of voters—receives round coverage, the progressive alternative, as contained in the Better Off Budget presented last month, continues to be ignored in the media conversation.
According to Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Ryan budget, dubbed by its author as a “Path to Prosperity,” as anything but that for most Americans.
“Affluent Americans would do quite well,” under the plan, said Greenstein in a statement, “but for tens of millions of others, the Ryan plan is a path to more adversity.”
According to the CBPP analysis, the Ryan budget would:
- The Ryan budget includes every major benefit cut in the harsh SNAP bill that the House passed in September, which CBO estimated would end benefits to 3.8 million low-income people in 2014. The budget also would block-grant SNAP in 2019, with further steep funding cuts. States would be left to decide whose benefits to cut — poor children, working-poor parents, seniors, people with disabilities, or others struggling to make ends meet. They would have no good choices, as SNAP provides an average of only $1.40 per person per meal.
- Ryan proposes to cut Pell Grants by more than $125 billion over the next decade. He would freeze the maximum grant for tenyears, even as college tuition costs continue to rise. The maximum Pell Grant already covers less than a third of college costs, compared to more than half in earlier decades. Yet under the Ryan budget, the grant would fall another 24 percent by 2024 in inflation-adjusted dollars. (Some of that reduction is in the budget baseline, but Ryan would substantially enlarge it.) He also would make some moderate-income students who get modest help from Pell Grants today entirely ineligible.
- — His budget calls for at least $500 billion in cuts to mandatory programs other than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP, Pell Grants, farm programs, civil service programs, and veterans’ benefits. A substantial share of spending in this category is for low-income programs, including the EITC, the low-income component of the Child Tax Credit, the school lunch and other child nutrition programs, and Supplemental Security Income, which helps very poor people who are elderly or have serious disabilities.
President Obama made headlines by calling Ryan’s proposal a “stinkburger” on Wednesday, while Tea Party acolyte and former vice presidential GOP candidate Sarah Palin called the plan “a joke” because it didn’t go far enough in eviscerating programs and slashing the budget.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT