Politics

Republican Budget Plan "Robin Hood in Reverse"

| by AFL-CIO

On a near straight party line vote (235-193) Friday afternoon, the U.S. House passed the Republican budget plan that privatizes Medicare, cuts corporate taxes and taxes for the wealthy, cuts Medicaid funding repeals health care reform and costs up to 2 million jobs. All Democrats as well as four Republicans voted against the bill. (Get the vote breakdown here.)

Republicans say the huge spending cuts in the plan, developed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), are needed to reduce the federal deficit. But just a causal glance at the math shows the Republican budget plan cuts $4.3 trillion in spending and hands out $4.2 trillion in tax giveaways, mostly to the wealthy and corporations.

Even more disturbing, according to Moody Analytics and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), the Republican budget will cost between 1.7 million and 2.2 million jobs in the first two years alone. Last night in Chicago President Obama said:

Under [Republicans'] vision, we can’t invest in roads and bridges and broadband and high-speed rail. We need to build on the compromises we made last week, but we can’t compromise on our investments to grow, the investments we need to create jobs.

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On the floor, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, (D-Calif.), said the Republican plan is “a false economy,” that cuts deeply into investments that create jobs.

Edward Wytkind, president of the AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department (TTD), says the Republican budget cuts to transportation would eliminate well over half a million transportation jobs and that number would soar higher with the loss of jobs in the related manufacturing, supplier and public sectors.

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) President Robert Greenstein called the plan “Robin Hood in reverse:

Taken together, its proposals would produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history, while increasing poverty and inequality more than any measure in recent times and possibly in the nation’s history.

Seniors are hit especially hard by the Republican plan, which would privatize Medicare and replace it with a system of vouchers that, according to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, would double a senior’s health care spending. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that Ryan’s plan would have seniors paying $20,000 a year for Medicare in 2030, or 68 percent of the total cost of their coverage. That amount is currently 25 percent.

On Capitol Hill, the Alliance for Retired Americans and others rallied to protest the Medicare cuts that Republicans want to use to help pay for the tax breaks for corporations and the rich.

An overwhelming number of Americans oppose proposals to dismantle Medicare in the 2012 House Republican budget, according to a new poll by the Democracy Corps/Campaign for America’s Future. The proposed cuts to Medicare raise concerns for nearly two-thirds of respondent, raising “serious” doubts for 66 percent, and “very serious” doubts for 40 percent.

The poll also finds that when  people hear more details about the Republican budget, they overwhelmingly dislike it. Click here for slide show presentation of the poll’s findings and here for a detailed analysis.

The Democratically-controlled Senate will offer its own budget plan when Congress returns from its two-week spring break May 2.