Conservative ideology values the status quo and is based on the premise that institutions are the product of gradual process of experience that have endured because they are effective over long periods of time. Obviously, privileged groups are apt to be the most ardent supporters of conservatism to maintain their grip on power and wealth, and it is no secret that Republicans find it imprudent to change their ideology of tax cuts for the wealthy while cutting services for the poor, elderly, and children. In their drive to maintain the existing state of affairs, Republicans revert to the only tactic they know to trick the American people into supporting their agenda and this week, they will be lying through their teeth about President Obama’s economic agenda.
Republican Paul Ryan is expected to unveil a new fiscally conservative budget that Republicans claim will slash trillions from the deficit without increasing revenue, and instead contains deep cuts and a Medicare privatization scam. Ryan’s new budget is expected to repeat last year’s “Path to Prosperity” plan and Ryan’s argument is Republicans’ tired canard that President Obama will continue his “tax and spend” economic agenda that stifles growth and kills prosperity.
In a new (old) Web video starring Ryan, he warns of an impending “debt Armageddon” as a fear-mongering tactic and charges that the Bush-Republican Great recession of 2007-2008 caught them by surprise. In the video Ryan asks, “What if your president, your senator and your congressman knew it was coming? What if he knew when it was gonna’ happen, why it was gonna’ happen, and more importantly, what if they knew what they needed to do to stop it, but they chose to do nothing because it wasn’t good politics. It would be immoral.” It is not clear if Ryan was describing Bush-Republicans in 2007, or Ryan-Republicans in 2012, but whatever his point, he reiterated Republican economic policy of more tax cuts for the wealthy and increased defense spending that nearly sent America’s economy to the brink of collapse; and being typical conservatives desperate to maintain the status quo, they are back to try it again.
In this year’s version of Path to Prosperity, Ryan returns with a Medicare privatization plan that enraged retired Americans last year. His newest scam is giving seniors the option to stay with the old “unsustainable and excruciatingly destructive” Medicare, or opt out and choose a voucher-like system that enriches the insurance industry and leaves seniors with a choice of inadequate healthcare or starvation. However, there is a snag in Ryan’s argument. Seniors already have the option to decline Medicare and purchase private insurance coverage if they are wealthy enough to afford costly insurance and still eat more than once a week. Ryan, like his Republican cohorts, will not admit that Americans pay into Medicare their entire working lives and are reaping the benefits of 40-years’ worth of investment, and instead claim Medicare is a wasteful “entitlement.”
The Ryan-Republican budget will attempt to protect defense spending from the automatic spending cuts that engage in 2013 because a special commission failed to agree to President Obama’s deeper spending cuts in last year’s debt limit agreement. Ryan said, “House Republicans are continuing their efforts to reprioritize the savings because our troops and military families shouldn’t pay the price for Washington’s failure to take action.” It sounds like Bush-era emotional “support the troops” mantra and fails to acknowledge that it was Republicans’ failure to take action that triggers the automatic defense cuts. However, no sane American expects Republicans to admit their malfeasance or stop fear-mongering about the troops any more than they expect Republicans to stop portraying President Obama as a “tax and spend” president.
The truth of the matter is that under President Obama, taxes are at their lowest rate since about 1950, and lower than under the conservative god, Ronald Reagan. In 1983, for example, a family of four paid taxes at a rate of 11.06% when Reagan was president and under President Obama, the rate was 4.68% in 2010. Even the wealthy paid 50% higher taxes under Reagan than the current 35% that does not take into account the enormous tax breaks and deductions the wealthy enjoy. As for the perpetual lie that spending is higher under President Obama, the truth is that under President Obama, spending is lower than the Reagan, Bush I, Bush II, and Nixon administrations. In fact, except for the last Democratic president (Bill Clinton), President Obama is the most fiscally conservative president in modern history, but Republicans will never explain that conundrum to the American people.
Republicans, and Paul Ryan, like to repeat the meme that America has a spending problem and not a revenue problem, but the truth is revenue is down because of misguided Bush-era tax cuts that Republicans are fighting to reduce further and into perpetuity to continue enriching the wealthy. Even the Republicans’ man-turned-god, Ronald Reagan, knew taxes were a crucial part of the budget equation and raised taxes seven times in eight years including four times in a two-year span. The Ryan-Republican proposal includes no revenue increases that will not only balloon the deficit like Mitt Romney’s grand economic plan, but intends on giving more tax breaks to those who need it least.
It is tragic that Republican ideology is maintaining the status quo that is a proven detriment to America’s economic health. Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity is a path to economic disaster that will certainly create more devastating consequences for the nation’s economy and dismantle a dependable program that enables the elderly to eat and have decent health coverage. Pundits on the left claim it is because the tea party Republicans in Congress are holding firm to austerity measures, but the Ryan-Republican budget is straight out of the Heritage Foundation and Republican playbook that caused the economic meltdown President Obama staunched by keeping taxes lower and spending less than Bush or Reagan. Instead, Republicans will propose making Draconian cuts to social safety nets while maintaining defense spending at unsustainable levels and reducing taxes for the wealthiest Americans. It is a continuous loop of fiscal lunacy that fits into the conservative ideology of maintaining the status quo that, if successful, will finally send the economy off the cliff. However, this time, even Americans with short attention spans will see that this year’s Republican budget proposal is a Path to Prosperity for the wealthy, and for seniors, children, and the poor it will be Groundhog Day all over again.