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Last week we were treated to a Laugh-a-thon emceed by John Boehner(R-OH), in which Ohio's Tanned Bonehead lifted up a blue folder and said, "here it is Mr. President." The GOP House minority leader was holding up a non-budget, budget....which included NO numbers, projections, or deficits. A pre-emptive non-budget, budget, as it were.....quite an alternative.
This week the GOP filled in a few blanks....with blanks....
Paul Ryan's(R-WI), composer of the GOP alternative "budget", in the Wall Street Journal....
Our budget gives priority to national defense and veterans' health care. We freeze all other discretionary spending for five years,
No sentient economists, conservative or liberal, have been suggesting a federal "spending freeze" as part of the solution to America's economic woes. Just the opposite. When private capital won't, or can't, spend, the government is the only demand-agent able to step in and fill the void. Freezing non-defense spending will only exacerbate an already difficult situation.
We do these things by rejecting the president's cap-and-trade scheme, by opening exploration on our nation's oil and gas fields, and by investing the proceeds in a new clean energy trust fund,
Drill, baby, drill is not a new alternative energy plan. No change here. The ignorant, anti-science approach of "drill, baby, drill, and drill now", makes for good wingnut political pep rally slogans.....but it doesn't address our oil dependency problem nor does it offer a solution to our climate change problems.
We preserve the existing Medicare program for all those 55 or older; and then, to make the program sustainable and dependable, those 54 and younger will enter a Medicare program reformed to work like the health plan members of Congress and federal employees now enjoy.
As if freezing government spending during a near-depression weren't bad enough....the GOP's alternative plan also eliminates Medicare for those under 54 years old. This is reminiscent of Bush's weak and failed attempt to privatize part of Social Security in 2005. Forcing those under 54 to participate in "the health plan members of Congress and federal employees now enjoy" would actually cost more than if Medicare was simply left alone....but it cetainly would be a boon for health insurers. I guess that's the point.
But here's the real GOP "alternative"....
Our budget does not raise taxes, and makes permanent the 2001 and 2003 tax laws. In fact, we cut taxes and reform the tax system. Individuals can choose to pay their federal taxes under the existing code, or move to a highly simplified system that fits on a post card, with few deductions and two rates. Specifically, couples pay 10% on their first $100,000 in income (singles on $50,000) and 25% above that. Capital gains and dividends are taxed at 15%, and the death tax is repealed. The proposal includes generous standard and personal exemptions such that a family of four earning $39,000 would not pay tax on that amount. In an effort to revive peoples' lost savings, and to create an incentive for risk-taking and investment, the budget repeals the capital gains tax through 2010 for all taxpayers.
One trick ponies. For today's Republicans, the answer to ALL questions is more tax cuts. AIDS epidemic?....cut taxes. Disastrous hurricanes?...cut taxes. Recession?....cut taxes. War?...cut taxes. Prosperous economic times?....cut taxes.
Americans making under $50K a year pay little-to-no income taxes now, so any suggested reduction in income taxes for those Americans is just so much bluster. Notice, however, that the GOP's "alternative" plan favors the already-wealthy even more than Bush's ridiculous tax cutting plans ever could.
The answer, according to Republicans, to our current economic crisis, created by the richest of the rich,.....is to give the rich even more breaks. The GOP alternative to ending Bush's tax cuts for the richest Americans is to give those same Americans more and deeper tax cuts.
And big business....
the budget permanently cuts the uncompetitive corporate income tax rate -- currently the second highest in the industrialized world -- to 25%.
Ryan's closing sentences bring us full circle back to the Laugh-a-thon....
In the recent past, the Republican Party failed to offer the nation an inspiring vision and a concrete plan to tackle our problems with innovative and principled solutions. We do not intend to repeat that mistake
No, Jon Stewart didn't write that.
More of the same is neither "innovative", nor "principled". It's simply more of the same....the same mistakes Ryan, ironically, says he doesn't want to repeat.
Nothing at all to see here, move along.
UPDATE: Video clip from MSNBC's Morning Blow. Mike Barnicle, no favorite of mine, says GOP budget, "actually proposes to hurt even more people.".....