The CBO has analyzed Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal, finding what we already knew: it cuts Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP and Social Security, in some instances, quite deeply. Medicaid and SCHIP funding would go from 2 percent of GDP in 2011 to 1¼ percent in 2030 and 1 percent in 2050. He also stipulated to the CBO that they calculate the budget impact assuming that the Affordable Care Act is not implemented, and the federal government does not pay insurance subsidies for lower income Americans.
The Medicaid and SCHIP cuts are the deepest, with Ryan turning Medicaid into a state-run block grant, essentially taking the federal government out of the picture for providing health care to low income individuals, which includes seniors in care facilities, saving federal tax dollars by just leaving the states—and these individuals—to fend for themselves.
That, Ryan said in an op-ed he wrote today in the Wall Street Journal (quoted in this Washington Post story), “strengthens the safety net by returning power to the states, which are in the best position to tailor assistance to their specific populations.” Yes, impoverishment of the states is returning power to them. His cuts to food stamps and Pell grants are no doubt also empowering, in that Ayn Rand kind of way.
Meanwhile, defense spending is not cut. Tax rates for the wealthy and for corporations are slashed:
That would be a reduction from the current top marginal rate of 35 percent. The plan would also lower the top corporate income tax rate to 25 percent and virtually eliminate taxes on corporate profits brought back from overseas. And it would do away with the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was designed to hit the wealthiest taxpayers but increasingly also affects upper-middle-income earners.
Ryan pretends that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t exist. He pretends that health care costs won’t continue to rise, and that health care programs won’t need to increase spending to keep up with those costs. He likewise pretends that college costs won’t rise, and thus cuts Pell grants. He pretends that people in America aren’t hungry, and thus cuts food stamps. He pretends that tax cuts for the wealthy will actually do what they’ve never done, and will miraculously spur job growth and an expansion of the economy.
And for this, the Very Serious People will pretend that Ryan is a serious lawmaker.