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Paul Ryan’s Plan, the Coming Shutdown, and What’s Really at Stake

Paul Ryan’s Plan, the Coming Shutdown, and What’s Really at Stake

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Published by Robert Reich
House Budget Chair Paul Ryan unveiled a plan today that should make every American cringe. It would turn Medicare into vouchers whose benefits are funneled into the pockets of private insurers. It would make Medicaid and Food Stamps into block grants that allow states to ignore poor people altogether. It would drastically cut funding for schools, roads, and much else Americans need. And many of the plan’s savings would go to wealthy Americans who’d pay even lower taxes than they do today... But this so-called “blueprint” could be a blueprint for America’s future when and if right-wing Republicans take charge.
House Budget Chair Paul Ryan unveiled a plan today that should make every American cringe. It would turn Medicare into vouchers whose benefits are funneled into the pockets of private insurers. It would make Medicaid and Food Stamps into block grants that allow states to ignore poor people altogether. It would drastically cut funding for schools, roads, and much else Americans need. And many of the plan’s savings would go to wealthy Americans who’d pay even lower taxes than they do today... But this so-called “blueprint” could be a blueprint for America’s future when and if right-wing Republicans take charge.

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Published by: Robert Reich on Apr 06, 2011
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05/12/2014

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RobertReich
______________________________________________________________
Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy atthe University of California at Berkeley. He has served inthree national administrations, most recently as secretaryof labor under President Bill Clinton.He has written thirteen books, including The Work ofNations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and hismost recent book, Aftershock. His “Marketplace”commentaries can be found on
publicradio.com
and
iTunes
. You can find his blog onwww.robertreich.org.
______________________________________________________________
PaulRyan’sPlan,theComingShutdown,andWhat’sReallyatStake
 
TUESDAY, APRIL 5, 2011
 
Iwastherein1995whenthegovernmentclosedbecauseofabudgetstalemate.IhadtotellmostoftheLaborDepartment’s15,600employeestogohomeandnotreturnthenextday.IalsohadtotellthemIdidn’tknowwhenthey’dnextgetapaycheck.Thereweretwoshutdowns,actually,rollingacrossthegovernmentinclosesuccession,likethunderstorms.It’snotthewaytodothepublic’sbusiness.NewtGingrichgotblamedlargelybecausehisegowas(andis)sobighecouldn’tstopblabbingthatClintonshouldbeblamed.
 
(Gingrich’scomplaintofabadseatonAirForceOnedidn’thelp.)ButthelargerlosswastothedignityandcredibilityoftheUnitedStatesgovernment.WhenaverageAmericanssawtheSpeakeroftheHouseandthePresidentoftheUnitedStatesbehavinglikenurseryschoolchildrenunabletogetalong,itonlyaddedtotheprevailingcynicism.CynicismaboutgovernmentworkstotheRepublicans’continuedadvantage.Caseinpoint.HouseBudgetChairPaulRyanunveiledaplantodaythatshouldmakeeveryAmericancringe.ItwouldturnMedicareintovoucherswhosebenefitsarefunneledintothepocketsofprivateinsurers.ItwouldmakeMedicaidandFoodStampsintoblockgrantsthatallowstatestoignorepoorpeoplealtogether.Itwoulddrasticallycutfundingforschools,roads,andmuchelseAmericansneed.Andmanyoftheplan’ssavingswouldgotowealthyAmericanswho’dpayevenlowertaxesthantheydotoday.Ryan’splanhasnochanceofpassage–aslongasDemocratsarestillincontroloftheSenate(evenDemocraticdeficithawkslikeKentConradandBenNelsonareappalledbyit)andtheWhiteHouse.Butthisso-called“blueprint”couldbeablueprintforAmerica’sfuturewhenandifright-wingRepublicanstakecharge.
 
Whichiswherethecynicismcomesin–andtheshutdowns.Republicansmaygetblamednow.ButiftheshutdownscontributetothebeliefamongAmericansthatgovernmentdoesn’twork,Republicanswinoverthelongterm.AswiththeriseoftheTeaPartiers,theinitiativeshiftstothosewhoessentiallywanttocloseitdownforgood.That’swhyit’ssoimportantthatthePresidenthavesomethingmoretosaytotheAmericanpeoplethan“Iwanttocutspending,too,buttheRepublicancutsgotoofar.”The“goingtoofar”argumentisnomatchforaworldviewthatsaysgovernmentisthecentralproblemtobeginwith.ObamamustshowAmericathatthebasicchoiceisbetweentwofundamentalviewsofthisnation.Eitherwe’reallinthistogether,orwe’reabunchofindividualswhohappentolivewithinthesebordersandaremainlyontheirown.Thishasbeenthebasicchoiceallalong—whentheFoundingFatherswrotetheConstitution,intheCivilWar,whenwewentthroughWorldWarIandWorldWarIIandtheGreatDepressioninbetween,duringtheCivilRightsmovementandbeyond.ThePresidentneedstoremindusthatasmembersofthesamesocietywehaveobligationstooneanother—thatthewealthiestamongusmustpaytheirfairshareoftaxes,thatanyofuswholosesourjobsorhomesorgetsterriblysickcan

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mike carvell added this note
good we need a whole new government its long time coming
Jed Diamond added this note
Well said. There's long been a view among some that the rich deserve to me rich and if you're not rich its because you didn't try hard enough. Every working person knows that's not true, but we have to stick together and continue our fight for freedom. "We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men and women are created equal." We are a better country when we recognize that we are all
WJS is on Scribd added this note
I would have to say that you are correct, sir. Twenty years ago, that would have stuck in my craw. Now? There is a moral imperative to take care of the less fortunate. I see nothing in this plan that places that at a level equal to the greatness of America.
Jane Gilgun added this note
Wow! Great stuff. It seems that people who share these beliefs have to keep repeating them. To me, they are self-evident. We must make the perceptions of these ideas and the actions required to implement them self-evident. You, Paul Krugman, and others of like minds can't stop saying what we know to be important.
Ephraim Davis added this note
The authoritarian personality. . . .
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