Local 2195

The Two Faces of Paul Ryan

Poor old Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan has an identity crisis: he wants to “rein in the federal deficit by cutting 100 billion out of the federal budget. He proposes doing this by slashing social services to America’s poorest citizens and wants to dismantle Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. However, this fiscal hawk didn’t like the compromise on extension of the Bush Era Tax Cuts last December- not because added tremendously to the federal deficit, but because they didn’t lower taxes on the wealthiest 1% enough. As a matter of fact, Representative Ryan wants to RAISE taxes on the lower 95% and give an additional tax cut of 12% to America’s wealthiest citizens. His proposal would give 117% of the tax cuts to the super rich, because upper middle class, the middle class and the poor would see a tax increase to pay for more cuts for the rich.

The Fiscal Hawk
This week Ryan revealed the proposed Republican budget that calls for the end of Medicare and Medicaid. His “Path to Prosperity” begins with eliminating Medicare and replacing it with a series of vouchers for seniors to “buy their own coverage” from private insurance. This would essentially amount to the government handing over $15,000 per Medicare recipients a year to private insurance. Contrary to reports in the conservative media Medicare is the model for cost efficient health care. All actual studies prove this. Private insurance on the other hand is famous for denying coverage and double digit annual premium and co pay expense.

Medicaid also sees a one trillion cut over 10 years as well. Currently Medicaid is a government entitlement program that offers health care for America’s poorest citizens. It is a program financed by the Federal Government and administered by states. States are required to sign the underprivileged up for Medicaid regardless of the state’s ability to pay. The federal government then matches the state’s contribution insuring the money to cover the expense. The Ryan Budget would replace the system with “block grants” that would not come close to covering the need. This would allow states to cut benefits, curb eligibility and gut the program.

The plan essentially kills the landmark health care reform plan which the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office reported would lower the federal deficit. The news is not so good for the Ryan Budget according to the Congressional Budget Office. The CBO reports the Ryan plan would actually raise the federal deficit while reducing benefits and increasing cost to our seniors. At full implementation the Ryan plan would increase seniors cost from 27 cents of every dollar to 61 cents with the government still covering the same amount which is 39 cents of every dollar. The difference being switch from the current single payer system of Medicare to the premium cost system of private insurance.

Looking Out for the “Little Guy”

So if Ryan’s plan calls for the same cost from the federal government at lower benefit to seniors, how does the Congressional Budget Office conclude the Ryan plan will increase the deficit? Because the Ryan Plan only begins by cutting Medicare, Medicaid, Pell Grants and anything else that benefits the working class. The second part of the plan is lowering taxes on the wealthiest Americans YET AGAIN. Ryan wants to lower the top tax rate from 39% to 25% for the ultra rich and corporations. Yes those Wall Street Power Brokers, bankers, real estate power players, oil company executives, CEO’s and insurance moguls will see millions more in savings from tax breaks, adding further to the federal deficit. Here is why those folks need a tax break:

CEO’s on average saw a 27% pay raise last year.

The largest banks get a $25 billion a year subsidy from the federal government boosting compensation for the managers.

Oil companies are currently driving gasoline prices through the ceiling and plan on not stopping at $4.00 a gallon (where they stalled three years ago) but plan on hitting $5.00 a gallon. The $4.00 a gallon price netted record profits and bonuses for the oil company executives so the $5.00 a gallon price should be even sweeter.

With the federal government turning Medicare over to private insurance the executives’ compensation packages should reach record levels. Just as the Medicare Prescription Drug privatization made pharmaceutical executives beyond wealthy at the expense of unsuspecting seniors; the privatization of Medicare will do the same for insurance moguls.

In the past 30 years the wealthiest 1% has seen their wealth increase 10% as their tax rates continue to fall. They reap the benefits while the working class pay for their tax breaks through lower standard of living and greater debt, which in turn further pads the pocket of the rich.

However, Paul Ryan alone isn’t alone in his fantasy about compensating the rich at the expense of the working class. Mitt Romney and Sara Palin have blessed it, saying it is “long overdue.” 

Old Two Face Himself

So Paul Ryan wants to have talk out of both sides of his face – reducing the federal deficit by throwing our seniors and working families to the wolves. But then add to the deficit by letting the super rich off the hook when it comes to taxes. Remember, he was against a tax cut that gave 25% of the benefit to the wealthiest 1% because it wasn’t generous enough to the wealthy.

Anyone who has been an adolescent in the past 50 years has seen at least one episode of Bat Man. The caped crusader fought a collection of villains that were as eccentric as he was. One of the more famous villains was “Two Faced” a deranged criminal who was always at odds with himself. Paul Ryan could easily assume that role today. The question is where is the caped crusader when we need him? The working class needs a hero to step forward quickly and end his crime spree in Batman fashion. Someone put up the bat signal because the city is in dire need.

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