Monday, April 2, 2012

The Republican Budget And Albert Einstein

                                      Rep. Paul Ryan

   Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) seems like such a nice, respectable, and reasonable young man (age 42), doesn't he? He's been in Congress since 1999, is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he plays a prominent public role in drafting and promoting the Republican Party's long-term budget proposals, so much so that their budget for the fiscal year 2013 is named after him, The Ryan Plan.
   Here he is in two clips describing his ideas for the previous years budget, and how afraid he is of the national debt:
And his thoughts on medicare:
   So reasonable.
   You know what? This young man proposed a budget for the country last year, which he labeled "Path to Prosperity," that would have been the budget for this year (October 2011–September 2012), that he said would cut the national deficit (debt) and rain in government spending, which he thinks are the major problems our country is facing right now. If we don't deal with these two problems then the United States is sure to wither away and die. Well, all of us should get scared and listen to what he's got to say, and follow his recommendations as none of us want our country to wither away and die. That would surely be inconvenient.
   Well, the House of Representatives, which Paul is a member of, passed his budget 235 to 193 on Tax Day, April 15th, 2011. None of those fiscally irresponsible democrats voted for it (don't they realize the danger the country is in?!), and four republicans voted against it (traitors). I guess the Senate didn't realize the danger either as oddly, they killed Ryan's bill a month later in a 57 to 40 vote.
   How could they do that?! It was the Path to Prosperity, for God's sake!
   It seems there may have been some unforseen circumstances associated with Rep. Ryan's budget. Maybe the democrats were aware of this, hence their inexplicable behavior. But there were a lot of other people who pointed out that Paul's proposal would, and I quote here from one such source, the National Education Association, the largest professional organization and largest labor union in the United States, it would "slash education and other critical programs; dismantle Medicaid, Medicare, and nutrition programs; and repeal the landmark health care reform law (Affordable Care Act).  At the same time, it would give millionaires an average tax break of $150,000 [and up to $250,000]! The plan ignores the needs of millions of struggling middle class families and those who have fallen out of the middle class.  It leaves the majority of Americans to fend for themselves, while pandering to a small percentage of wealthy individuals."
   How can this be!
   This must be wrong. Let's check another source.
   Leo Gerard, writing for AlterNet states: "As a favor to struggling Americans, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., proposed a federal budget last week ravaging programs for the poor, elderly, disabled, young, veterans, jobless, students and other vulnerable people. Ryan did it, he said, because these programs, food stamps, health insurance, Pell grants, veteran’s hospitals and the like are demeaning." He quotes Ryan saying the nation's safety net (social programs for the poor) "“. . . lulls able-bodied people into lives of complacency and dependency, which drains them of their very will and incentive to make the most of their lives. It’s demeaning.”
   The New York Times wrote in their Opinion Pages: Ryan's budget is "one where the rich pay less in taxes than the unfairly low rates they pay now, while programs for the poor — including Medicaid and food stamps — are slashed and thrown to the whims of individual states. Where older Americans no longer have a guarantee that Medicare will pay for their health needs. Where lack of health insurance is rampant, preschool is unaffordable, and environmental and financial regulation are severely weakened. It vows to balance tax cuts for corporations and the rich by closing loopholes, but never lists the loopholes. It is, however, quite specific about cutting Medicaid by about 45 percent, leaving 19 million people without care, and eliminating plans to provide health insurance for 33 million who lack coverage now. Worst of all, it undermines a hard-fought agreement Democrats and Republicans made last August to set spending targets for 2013. Under pressure from House conservatives, Mr. Ryan cut nearly $20 billion from spending levels set in the debt-ceiling pact, breaking faith with the Senate and potentially leading to a government shutdown this fall. Much of that reduction is likely to come from programs like Head Start, Pell grants for college students and state aid."
   I don't want to be quick to judge, but Rep. Ryan may not be as nice, respectable, and reasonable as I once thought.
   Ooooppps! I made a major mistake here. The above quotes slamming Ryan's budget... it seems they were criticizing this years budget for 2013, which he just put forth, and which just passed a vote in the House Thursday, 228 to 181, and is now on its way to the Senate where it will most likely suffer the same fate as it did last year. Because it's the same budget as last year!
   In contrast President Obama's budget proposal called for a record $3.8 trillion election year budget plan calling for stimulus-style spending on roads and schools, and tax hikes on the wealthy to help pay the costs, continued emphasis on renewable energy and infrastructure spending. This was defeated in the House last Wednesday in a rare show of bipartisanship, 414 to 0. No one voted for it!
   I don't know why (it's an election year, that's why. Republicans forced the vote on Obama's budget. Democrats rejected it because they were worried that a "yes" vote would provide fodder for campaign ads accusing them of backing anything voters might dislike in the president's plan).
   What has changed since last year that would prompt Rep. Ryan to offer the same budget that went down in flaming defeat?
   The Senate is still controlled by the democrats. The White House still has a democratic president residing in it. Ryan must know his proposal will meet the same fate as last years.
   Does he and the other House republicans hope a defeat in the Senate can be used against the democrats in the upcoming general election? It seems unlikely considering how Ryan's budget  would decimate the social safety net if passed.
   I believe this is just another symptom of the republicans pathological and sociopathic mind set. They simply cannot help themselves. Screwing the middle class and constantly rewarding the wealthy is the only thing they know. It's the only thing they can do.
   They are sick. They need psychological help. They need to go with the men in the white coats to the funny farm and rest.
   As Albert Einstein so eloquently put it, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
   There you go. The republicans are clearly insane. That's the only explanation that I can see.
   Oh, by the way, republicans in the Senate will not be out done by their House colleagues. In a 51-47 procedural vote last Thursday (60 votes were needed to pass this), 43 Senate Republicans and four Democrats filibustered to protect $24 billion in tax breaks for Big Oil. $24 billion of tax payer money just handed over to the most profitable industry in the history of this planet.
   From Think Progress:
– The senators who voted for Big Oil’s handouts received on average over four times as much career oil cash as those who voted to end them.
– Overall, Senate Republicans have taken $23.2 million in oil and gas contributions. Democrats received $6.66 million.
   $29.86 million invested by big oil to get back $24 billion in tax paid subsidies. Not a bad deal for Exxon.
   Is Congress corrupt?
   Why yes... it is.

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