History has taught us that the Republicans have never been supporters of the safety net that has sustained and strengthened the very middle class that has built this country. During the 1950s the Republicans reluctantly accepted the “New Deal” due to enormous public support. For the next 30 years the Republicans have systematically demonized the system and cut its funding.
Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) is no different. In a previous post I showed you how part of the 2012 budget slashes Medicaid and will effectively close thousands of nursing homes throughout this country. Another portion of the budget is the complete dismantling of the Medicare single payer system. Paul Ryan and the Republicans are essentially privatizing the program. The plan is to give seniors a “voucher”.
So let’s dig into this a little bit; the federal government gives tax dollars to individuals, the individual then purchases health insurance from a private corporation. Let that sink in….. your tax dollars are going to a third party in order to pay for medical procedures rather than your tax dollars going directly to the medical care provider. Now the private insurance company uses approximately 20% of your tax dollars to advertise, compensate multi-million dollar salaries, pay for lobbyists to influence laws, and the biggest problem, political “free speech”. Your tax dollars will be used to promote or attack our politicians during elections thanks to the Citizens United SCOTUS decision.
Another section of this budget is the cutting of the Pell Grants. Here is what the Ryan/Republican has to say about the Pell Grants:
Return Pell grants to their pre-stimulus levels– to curb rising tuition inflation and make sure aid is targeted to the truly needy…This budget takes the necessary next steps to ensure Pell spending is brought under control and targeted to the truly needy instead of being captured in the form of tuition increases
Sounds pretty vague and abstract, right? This is what it’s implication will be:
– Eliminating only the Recovery Act Pell Grant funding amounts to a $17 billion cut, while returning to the 2008 level cuts another $9 billion;
– The maximum grant would be cut by $845 (15.2 percent);
– 1.7 million currently eligible students would be rendered ineligible for grants.
When we are discussing moving this country forward, we can not cut education. Education is an investment in our future economy. We are training our next scientist, engineers and architects. By cutting the Pell Grants, we are cutting a rope fabricated to help low income children make a better life for themselves. The conservatives like to use children and grandchildren as posturing pieces in regards to our deficit, but it seems they are forgetting them when it comes to education.
This Republican budget will cut 61 thousand low income students from reaching their full potential. Ryan used very old statistics to justify these cuts. He said, “Recent studies have demonstrated that increases in Pell grants appear to be matched nearly one for one by increases in tuition at private universities.” Unfortunately there are more Pell Grant recipients attending public universities than there are attending private universities.
To compound the issue of our budget problems, Ryan and the Republicans want to cut corporate taxes by 10%. I didn’t see anything about cutting subsidies or loopholes that enabled Exxon and GE to escape supporting their country.
So the very corporations who will be benefiting from our public education system and Pell Grants, will now be contributing less to their education, their healthcare and ultimately their country.