Saving Private Paul Ryan

Mitt Romney went down to the lake and threw a handful of crazy crumbs to the Tea Party ducks with his announcement of Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan as his running mate on Saturday.

Ryan has made a name for himself with his budget plan, titled the The Path to Prosperity (you can’t say the GOP does not have a sense of irony with their policy names), also known as the Ryan plan.

Possibly the most publicly discussed aspect of the Ryan plan is the fact that it will end the Medicare program as we know it (or at least mutate it into a creature worthy of The Hills Have Eyes).

Rather than have the government cover the costs of health care for the elderly directly, the Ryan plan calls for a voucher system beginning in 2021.

Thankfully, the Ryan plan has firm regulations in place to guarantee our loved ones receive the same care as under the current Medicare program.

“Ryan just assumes that private health insurers would create policies that would provide equal benefits to what Medicare now provides, and does nothing whatsoever to ensure that such an option will exist when the existing Medicare program ceases to exist.  Ironically, Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which Ryan wants to repeal, actually creates a mechanism that would facilitate Ryan’s Medicare proposal.”  Former Reagan advisor Bruce Bartlett wrote earlier this month.

Wow, I was way off on that one.

Bartlett also mentions “the elderly would receive a voucher worth less than the per capita cost of Medicare presently that they could use to buy private health insurance.”

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that by 2050 new voucher program enrollees under the Ryan plan will be paying $5,900 more per year.

It may help to explain Ryan’s position here if we divulge that in 2010, two out of Ryan’s top five contributors were American Family Insurance ($13,000) and Aurora Health Care ($12,674).

From 2011 to the present, Ryan has received the following in contributions:

  • $115,225 from the insurance industry
  • $102,900 from Health Care Professionals
  • $81,850 from the pharmaceutical industry

Of course, the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries are not the only ones making withdrawals at the ATM for Ryan.  Republican and Tea Party puppet masters Charles and David Koch have given $65,500 to the Wisconsin congressman, which may explain Ryan’s stance on big oil.

The Ryan plan would protect the $40 billion dollars (over ten years) in tax breaks for the oil industry while cutting the budget for clean energy.

Keep in mind, in 2011 the five biggest oil companies (BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Shell) made a combined profit of $137 billion dollars.

The Congressional Research Service reported earlier this year that removing the big oil tax breaks would essentially have little to no effect on the price of gasoline.

The Tax Policy Center took a look at Ryan’s budget and concluded it would add $4.6 trillion dollars to the federal deficit over the next ten years.  This would be in addition to the extension of the Bush tax cuts (which Romney and Ryan would like to see made permanent), which would result in $5.4 trillion added to the deficit.

Under Ryan’s plan, anybody making $1 million dollars or more would experience an average tax reduction of $265,000 and take home an additional 12.5% of after-tax income.

If you’re in the lower or middle class, don’t get excited.  Not all of the incomes earning between $20,000 and $30,000 would experience a tax cut (some will actually increase). The average reduction amount for the ones that do would be $129.00, while their after-tax income would see an increase of only 0.5%.

The news gets worse for incomes under $30,000.  Under the Ryan plan, say goodbye to the tax refunds from the Child Tax Credit. The Earned Income Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit and hello to tax increases.

Incomes between $50,000 and $75,000 would see their taxes decrease by $1,000 and an increase of income by 2% after taxes.

The capitol gains, interest and dividend taxes will see the door under the Ryan plan, which is primarily how Romney makes his earnings.  If Ryan’s plan were in effect in 2010, Romney would have only paid at a tax rate of 0.82%.  Seriously, who reads this budget and thinks it’s a good idea?

“I think it’d be marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan’s budget and to adopt it and pass it along to the President.”  Oh, right.  Mitt Romney does.

Just remember the Ryan plan and the extension of the Bush tax cuts are just two more logs on top of the Romney tax policy fire.

The Romney/Ryan ticket is one that has chosen to double down on the failed policy of trickle-down economics.  As pointed out in The Taxes Chainsaw Massacre, Romney’s tax plan gives a 7.8% reduction to the top 1% and a 5.4% drop in taxes to the top 20%.  The Romney tax plan increases the federal tax rate 1.3% on the bottom 20% of income earners.

We could keep going (I haven’t even hit the cuts into education), but I think you get the idea of the Ryan budget plan.  To quote Gabriele Cash, “This whole thing fucking sucks!”

1 thought on “Saving Private Paul Ryan

  1. My retired mother will not be voting for this ticket solely on the basis of what will happen to Medicare. (And she voted for McCain in 2008.) Let’s hope everyone educates themselves about this budget plan and does the same.

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