The Budget Man Cometh

Paul Ryan, Representative from Illinois, and his erstwhile Presidential running mate, Mitt Romney, lost the 2012 election. Not only did they lose it, but they lost quite substantially. Five million votes divided Obama from Romney. Republicans have yet to admit their defeat, and work for the good of the country. Quite the contrary, Ryan and his Republican playmates are doing everything they can to obstruct the business of Washington, and by so doing, obstructing the will of the people.

Paul Ryan has just released his budget. Republicans are stuck in a temporal loop, going over the same ground again and again. Paul Ryan clearly has too much to do, since the work that he is supposed to do, that is to say, produce a budget for the next fiscal year, is not being done. He has gone through the papers on his desk, dusted off his budget from 2011 and presented that to the country with a flourish. Then, John Boehner, appears before the press corp and claims that they have produced a budget, and they want to see President Obama’s budget, implying that the President is not doing his job.

The Constitution is quite clear on this point. The House of Representatives is in charge of producing budgets, not the President. They produce the budget, and he signs off on it if he so desires. That is how government works, or is supposed to. The great travesty is that this Congress, the laziest in history, keeps taking time off, a little vacation here, a two-week break there, instead of tackling the very real crises that face the country.

To show the country that they are doing something, Ryan waves his new budget around as though they have been hard at work on something other than a suntan. This budget is the same, tired, all-you-can-eat buffet for the wealthy that has marked Republican budgets for three decades. The poor and the middle class get the shaft and the wealthy dine on caviar and french champagne.

Republicans love to claim that they loathe deficits, that they are fiscally conservative, not tax and spend liberals. Yet, the facts show a different truth, that under Democratic presidents, the deficit shrinks, economic growth rises and the people do better. Under Republican presidents, the wealthy steal the farm, and the people are driven further into penury and destitution.

The details of Ryan’s plan do not just resemble the economic vision he presented to the people during his bid for Vice President, they are identical. He found the original from his 2011 budget proposal, dusted it off, put an attractive new cover on it, and presented it as though it were his latest burst of brilliance.

First, he wants to cut the top tax rate from 39.5% to 25%, after the American people said quite plainly through their votes that they wanted the wealthy to pay more tax. Ryan is not interested in what the people want, he wants what he wants, and to blazes with the people.

For three decades, ever since Prince Reagan was in power, the wealthy have grown wealthier, their incomes soaring above those of the middle class. The Middle Class has seen no growth in its real wages after inflation, while income of the wealthy has grown by double digits each year. Workers are vastly more productive than they were thirty years ago, but all those productivity gains have accrued to the richest people in the country.

Ryan claims that even if he slashes tax rates on the wealthy, he can still collect 19.1% of GDP in revenue. If you are going to cut tax rates for the very wealthy, the only possible way to maintain revenue to the Treasury is to increase taxes elsewhere. Ryan, must know this. If he does not, he should not have the position that he does in Congress. If he does, he knows full well that the only way to balance the books is to introduce savage increases in taxes on the Middle Class or equally savage cuts in services. There is no other way to cut the deficit, and keep government running smoothly.

Of course, we know that conservatives don’t want government at all. They want the American people to believe that the country will continue to run smoothly without roads, bridges, ports, airports, intelligence agencies, pollution controls, electricity, police officers, teachers, firefighters and all the things that are incumbent upon government to provide. They live in Wonderland, along with the March Hare and the Mad Hatter, mostly the latter. If government does not provide these facilities, they will not exist. It does not pay industry to provide those things.

Ryan and his conservative reprobates have a plan for this. They think they know how to get that income. They will cut programs for the poor, for children, for the homeless, and the elderly. Medicaid, the program that provides medical care for poor children is on the chopping block. Perhaps they believe that children should go out, get a job and stop mooching on society.

The Republican plan reminds me of someone who wants to wash his car, dips one end of a towel into the soapy water and tries to wash the car with the dry end. There is no water, or soap on the dry end. So it is with an economy. You cannot expect the poor and the middle class to support the expensive habits of the obscenely wealthy and get nothing in return. The poor do not have anything to give. If you take away their medical care, they will die for lack of access to that care. If you take away their schooling, you end up with a society that is ill-educated and unemployable. If you keep their wages down, they cannot afford to buy the junk you produce and your companies will go out of business.

It reminds me of the 47% video that framed Mitt Romney for the fraud that he was, saying one thing in public and another in private. In that video, he mentioned going on a tour of a factory in China. This factory was surrounded by barbed wire, the employees were housed in triple tier bunk beds. When he went through the factory, they were not allowed to look up from their work. Romney was told that they were working to afford to get married. The barbed wire outside was to keep people that wanted their jobs from invading the factory.

Romney’s response to this was that it was an incredible system, not that the Chinese factory was a prison camp that used forced labor to produce cheap goods for western markets. This is the kind of system that Romney and his wealthy cadres want to see in this country, a nation in which the poor work for slave wages to produce largesse for the wealthy and the powerful. They don’t want a fair society, one in which all are treated equally, with equal opportunities for everyone. They want to stack the deck in their favor, for their children. For the people of this nation, they have little but contempt.

This contempt is what we see from Ryan’s budget. He wants to heap ever greater rewards on the idle rich at the expense of the working class. And so far, with the almost complete, meek acquiescence of the Democrats, particularly Harry Reid in the Senate, Republicans are getting exactly what they want, despite the clear mandate from the people to tax the wealthy. Why bother to vote at all if the one side just hands everything to the wealthy, and the other meekly obeys their every command? Either way, the Middle Class and the poor get shafted.

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