Based on data published on his (Chairman Ryan’s) committee’s website he slashed Medicaid by more than $771 billion over 10 years, which would cut millions of poor children, seniors, and people with disabilities from eligibility. He is particularly savage on the category he lists as “other mandatory,” which includes programs such as Supplemental Assistance for Needy Families, Temporary Aid for Needy Families, and Supplemental Security Income—funding them at only 75 percent of the level the Congressional Budget Office estimates as necessary to maintain current service levels. An analysis by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities demonstrated that more than two-thirds of his budget cuts come from programs that help low-income families. Now he’s all of a sudden concerned about the poor?
So, if Rep. Ryan is not attacking the elderly for the purpose of helping the poor, why is he doing it? I think the answer is relatively simple: He needs to slash huge amounts from federal retirement programs to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy. His $5.8 trillion in overall spending cuts last year still left huge deficits because of his voracious appetite for tax cuts. Rep. Ryan proposed more than $4 trillion in tax cuts over the course of the decade, lowering the rate at which the wealthiest Americans pay taxes from the 35 percent level in the expiring Bush tax cuts to 25 percent. His plan would reduce total tax liabilities of many millionaires by more than 25 percent—to the tune of hundreds of hundreds of thousands of dollars or in some instances even millions of dollars per each millionaire.
So Rep. Ryan’s March 5 column about taking from the rich (defined as old people living on more than $20,000 a year) and giving to the poor is in fact about taking from the elderly and giving to the rich—akin to a double reverse in football. Let’s hope the defensive backfield in Congress stays alert.
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