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The House Republican budget: Putting the wealthiest Americans before the middle class…again

The House Republican budget is more of the same failed policy that the American people decidedly rejected when they cast their ballots last November. Deficit reduction that asks nothing from the wealthiest Americans while slashing vital services like Medicare and Medicaid for the most vulnerable Americans is not what the country wants, and it will not help the economy continue to grow. The Ryan–Republican–Tea Party budget does not ask for a single dime of deficit reduction from closing tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations.

We’ve tried this top down approach before, and it crashed our economy. Republicans ran on this approach last fall, and they lost overwhelmingly. Yet here they are—back at it—yet again.

The Worst of the Ryan Budgets
New York Times//Editorial
All the tired ideas from 2011 and 2012 are back: eliminating Medicare’s guarantee to retirees by turning it into a voucher plan; dispensing with Medicaid and food stamps by turning them into block grants for states to cut freely; repealing most of the reforms to health care and Wall Street; shrinking beyond recognition the federal role in education, job training, transportation and scientific and medical research. The public opinion of these callous proposals was made clear in the fall election, but Mr. Ryan is too ideologically fervid to have learned that lesson.

Paul Ryan’s magical budget
Washington Post//Dana Milbank
Paul Ryan’s budget is an amazing and wondrous document. Not only does it balance the budget in 10 years while reducing tax rates, it also does so without any pain or suffering — or even breaking a sweat. It achieves not just the longtime goals of policymakers — “a safety net strengthened . . . retirement secured . . . a nation protected” — but also brings about changes in human nature that have bedeviled civilization from the beginning of time. “This budget ends cronyism; eliminates waste, fraud and abuse,” Ryan’s plan promises.

Paul Ryan’s budget: The good, the bad and the unrealistic
Washington Post // Editorial Board
HOUSE BUDGET Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s 10-year blueprint for federal taxes and spending is at least as much about politics as about policy. By promising to balance the federal budget by 2023 without raising taxes, the Wisconsin Republican seeks both to mollify members of the House Republican majority who are still steamed at the $600 billion 10-year tax hike included in the “fiscal cliff” deal three months ago and to provide them with strong talking points for voters back home. As such, the 91-page document is a never-going-to-become-law mélange of good ideas, bad ideas and ideas too unrealistic to worry about.

The Ryan Budget’s Step Backward
New York Times // Ross Douthat
The actual budget, unfortunately, took a step backward instead. In effect, it sacrificed seriousness for “seriousness,” by promising to reach budgetary balance not over the long term (as budgets 1.0 and 2.0 did) but in a ten-year window. This is not going to happen, and more importantly there’s no reason why it needs to happen: Modest deficits are perfectly compatible with fiscal responsibility, and restructuring the biggest drivers of our long-term debt is a much more important conservative goal than holding revenues and outlays equal in the year 2023. What’s more, the quest for perfect balance leaves the House G.O.P. officially committed to a weird, all-pain version of Obamanomics — in which, for instance, we keep the president’s tax increases and Medicare cuts while eliminating his health care law’s assistance to the uninsured.

Paul Ryan's Baffling Budget
Forbes//James Poulos
It’s not just liberals and progressives who have difficulties with Rep. Paul Ryan’s latest budget plan. This gets to the heart of why Paul Ryan’s budget is so baffling — not because it’s so unafraid, in a more youthful way, to live with less, but because it’s so dowdy and paleo-liberal in its concept of what government is all about. It’s amazing to me so few people have reacted to some of the lines in Ryan’s Wall Street Journal op-ed pitching the plan.

Hypocritical Paul Ryan Plan Doesn't Close Path to Big Budget Deal
National Journal//Ron Fournier
Paul Ryan’s 10-year budget plan is hypocritical and unattainable. It’s fresh evidence that the White House and congressional Republicans are no closer to seriously addressing the nation’s debt crisis than they were before President Obama broke out the steaks and Merlot. It doesn’t help when Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, opens up the bidding with whatWashington Post columnist Dana Milbank rightly called, “black-box budgeting -- an expression of lofty aims with binders full of magic asterisks in lieu of special cuts to government benefits.” First, the Ryan budget would retain the $716 billion cut to Medicare that was part of Obama’s health care overhaul. Yes, that’s same $716 billion cut Ryan pledged to eliminate as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate. And, in a rare double flip-flop, Ryan counted on the same Medicare savings in his past budgets.

What is Paul Ryan doing?
The Economist
Even conservative commentators sympathetic to Mr Ryan's earlier fiscal blueprints are put off. Ross Douthat, a right-leaning New York Times columnist, observes that Mr Ryan easily could have improved on his earlier efforts, but instead has delivered "a document that’s arguably more unrealistic than the previous versions of the Ryan budget, and that does little or nothing to bridge the gap between the Congressional GOP and the electorate that just re-elected Barack Obama." But what's gained by taking such an "absolutist" stand? Do House Republicans really want to make a show of adopting the same Medicare cuts that Mitt Romney and Mr Ryan so vigourously opposed just a few months ago? Do they really want to get behind what Mr Douthat has called "a weird, all-pain version of Obamanomics — in which, for instance, we keep the president’s tax increases and Medicare cuts while eliminating his health care law’s assistance to the uninsured"?

The Ryan Plan: Cutting Benefits For Poor Women To Protect Millionaires
Think Progress // Katie Wright and Adam Peck
Despite the fact that women voted en masse to reject Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget plan in the November election, this week’s unveiling of the latest House Republican budget shows that Rep. Ryan still doesn’t get it when it comes to standing with women and promoting the economic security of their families. The latest Ryan budget puts a tight cap on the area of the budget that funds vital supports for low-income girls and young adults, like nutrition assistance for expectant mothers and their children, child development, childcare, and education assistance. Adult women struggling to feed their families would see their food stamp (or SNAP) benefits cut. Changes to Medicaid would jeopardize women’s access to affordable health care and long-term care — making matters worse for women doing their best to care for themselves, their children, and their aging parents — and turning Medicare into a voucher program would shift costs onto senior women, jeopardizing their future economic security.

Paul Ryan's New Budget Plan Would Hurt The Poor In These 7 Ways
The Huffington Post // Bonnie Kavoussi
Republican House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan is back with a new budget plan, which he claims would help America's poor "become independent." In reality, it may do little more than make them poorer, reports indicate. The proposal, released on Tuesday, lays out plans to cut the budget by roughly $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years. Yet such deficit reduction relies on a familiar theme for the former vice presidential candidate: cutting down programs that the poor rely on.

Gillibrand: Ryan budget would put US back in recession
The Hill // Meghashyam Mali
New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) on Wednesday panned the House GOP budget, claiming its spending cuts could put the U.S. back into recession. “What Paul Ryan has offered is a cuts-only approach that will put us back into a recession,” Gillibrand said on “CBS This Morning.” Democrats campaigned against Ryan’s past budget in 2012 when he was the GOP vice presidential nominee and said that they would make it a campaign issue again in 2014. “It's one that does not protect seniors. It does not protect the middle class,” Gillibrand said of the Ryan budget.

Van Hollen knocks Ryan budget as ‘extremist’
The Hill // Jonathan Easley
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) on Wednesday bashed Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget as the “extremist position” of the Republican Party. “I understand that Paul’s position is sort of their extremist position,” Van Hollen said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Hopefully by the end of the day we will be able to bridge these differences, but it’s going to take more than finding common ground, it’s going to require compromise.” “The Ryan budget does not eliminate ObamaCare entirely,” Van Hollen said. “They eliminate the benefits of ObamaCare but in order for them to hit balance by 2023 in 10 years, they actually keep all the taxes in ObamaCare and they keep all the savings we made in Medicare — the $215 billion — that they ran against. ... They kept the stuff that helped reduce the deficit [and] got rid of the benefits that will help provide access to health insurance.”

Ryan: No Juice
The Daily Beast // Michael Tomasky
Well, this Ryan business isn't working out so well this time. When you're a Republican, and not just any Republican but their great fiscal guru, and even Fox News personalities are calling you unrealistic, you've laid an egg. That's sensible enough for now. So Ryanism is basically dead, except as a great campaign tool for Democrats in 2014, a subject to which we'll return later in the week.

New Ryan Budget Cuts Investments in America’s Future
Center for American Progress // Sarah Ayres and Adam Hersh
Today Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) introduced a budget proposal that would slash $1.2 trillion from public investments in education, science, and infrastructure that are essential to U.S. economic growth and competitiveness. Both public and private investments are critical components of long-term economic growth. Investment spurs job creation and economic growth in the short term while boosting productivity growth and living standards in the long term. Public investment is crucial because many investments—while yielding large returns to the country as a whole—do not offer the kinds of incentives that will entice the private sector to invest. Without that investment, we are all worse off. On the other hand, when we as a country make public investments in schools, roads, and scientific research, we all benefit from a more innovative, more efficient economy.