Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tax Cuts for the Rich....again?

Despite nearly four years of national fiscal policy being done by continuing resolution one would think that the obstructionists, would come up with compromise plan. House Republicans, who are constitutionally vested with the power of generating budget proposals, have failed to draft a proposal that could pass the Senate and garner a Presidential signature.

The Paul Ryan House submitted their budget proposal for fiscal year 2014 this past Tuesday in yet another salvo in the perpetual budget wars in Congress.

Paul Ryan’s Budget Proposal offers no new solutions, gives no ground, and dogmatically adheres to “Republican-base” principles. In short, this proposal is more of the same tired Republican tropes.

Given his recent electoral loss, overwhelming polling opposition, and common sense one would think that, if a functioning government was part of the plan, that Ryan Republicans would have modified their budget proposals over the last six years.

Instead, just like his path to prosperity, the 2014 Ryan budget proposal plans to “balance” the budget by cutting spending through privatizing medicare, cutting taxes for the Oil and Gas industries, lowering marginal tax rates for upper income individuals, reducing government expenditures through the Pell Grant programs, defunding Obamacare, and an additional 900 billion, on top the sequestration, in cuts to non-defense discretionary programs like veterans’ health care, the FDA, the Consumer Product Safety Council, police, fire, and other vital public service programs.

If this sounds just like his previous proposals, thats because it is, complete with military exceptions and Wall Street handouts.

Just as with his previous budget proposals this newest iteration also fails to actually balance the budget. According to Michael Linden of the Center for American Progress, “Extrapolating to 2023 suggests that Rep. Ryan is missing about $840 billion of revenue in 2023 alone, and approximately $7 trillion over the entire 10-year period from 2014 through 2023.“

The Ryan proposal illustrates that over the last six years House Republicans have learned nothing. They still think that their failed ideology of tax cuts for wealthy Americans and businesses coupled with the gutting of social safety net programs will lead to a more prosperous nation.

The deficit this nation has is real, and needs to be addressed. But austerity programs and Ayn Rand style volunteerism schemes like those being proffered, yet again, by House Republicans have been shown to be ineffective and unsustainable.

One has but look at Greece, Italy, or Spain to see that drastic cuts to government spending are just as detrimental to the economy as an overly active government. Churches and charities are excellent supplements to government programs like Head Start and SNAP, catching those who fall through the cracks, but they are in no way capable of solving the logistical nightmare that is the modern day poverty trap.

When low income individuals become trapped by their circumstances and can’t move up the economic ladder the broader economy suffers. The power and dynamism of the American economy has always been derived from the purchasing power of a large and fluid middle class. Historically vibrant middle classes have been made possible by societies with progressive taxation, strong union membership, trust-busting, and reasonable regulation.

The Paul Ryan Budget plan does nothing to facilitate the economic mobility of those at the bottom, the very group of people poised to help drive America through another decade of growth and prosperity. Wealthy people save the extra dollar they make, the paycheck to paycheck crowd spends it. If this country is going to get back to 5% unemployment, it is going to need more people spending more money. Now is the exact worst time to cut back on government spending, because government is the only institution that is actually spending.