Paul Ryan, (R) Wisconsin, just re-released his Roadmap for America's Future. To him it may still seem to be a roadmap, but it's actually more like some defective GPS system that's insisting you to drive off the wet end of a pier backwards.
Democracy is all about ideas. But in order for an idea to enter the marketplace of ideas, it should have some merit. Ryan's latest plan is simply a recycled copy of his last budget plan which was so vehemently rejected by the public the last time that it's just stupefying that he would re-introduce it.
I wrote a detailed analysis of it last year and so little has changed in his recycled copy that I feel no need to update my critique of last year. What I wrote about last year's Roadmap applies perfectly well to this year's Roadmap.
To summarize the both 1.0 and 2.0 of the Ryan's Roadmap:
1) Health insurance - It proposes to replace the Affordable Care Act with a refundable tax credit that you would get at the end of a tax year in which you paid for health insurance. It's designed to eventually replace the employee based health insurance system with this tax credit. The tax credit amounts he proposes for the tax credit are about half of median health insurance costs. (See Health insurance section of my critique of last year.)
2) Medicaid - It proposes to replace Medicaid with either part 1 above and/or push all funding in excess of a federal bloc grant off on the states, states which are current making draconian cuts to Medicaid. (See Medicaid ... last year.)
3) Medicare - Medicare will be replaced by a voucher system that pays about 70% of the cost of care for a senior citizen. Seniors will have to buy health insurance with only 70% of the money that the insurer is likely to spend on benefits to them. People in the top 20% of incomes will receive 30% of what their health care is likely to cost. Here Ryan, again, proposes tort reform. Just a cursory study reveals that this is utterly useless as a means of impacting costs. Conservatives rely on cooked books to claim lawsuits add 10% to the cost of health care. The real number is less than 1%. What would really impact health care costs is to crack down on Medicare/Medicaid fraud by funding enforcement of anti-fraud efforts. (See Medicare ... last year.)
5) Social Security - will be privatized. (See Social Security ...last year.)
6) Income tax - Taxes will go down for the rich. Here Ryan uses the same budgetary fallacies whereby Reagan and Bush 43 argued that cutting taxes will increase government revenues. This is so historically and thoroughly disproved that it's just ludicrous for anyone to make that claim forever more. (See Income tax ... last year.)
The only thing new for 2012 is some drivel about job training and changes to legislative process which will make it easier to cut entitlement programs in the future. It's more pure partisan red meat, if not necessarily bumper sticker sized.
It's bit like beating a dead horse except that you'd hate to see some rube buy this year's horse not knowing it had died last year.
On balance, Ryan's plan is the template for cutting social programs to reduce spending and then giving the savings of cutting those programs to the already rich. This is a very nearly perfect formula for destroying the economy. The economy does not need to enrich the already rich. The rules of capital formation no longer apply in the economy as there is already enough capital laying about in the coffers of the rich to buy the gross domestic product outright for 14 years. Putting more money in the pockets of billionaires is not what is needed. That wealth has been accumulating for three decades and if it wasn't invested in real employment developing industries while the economy was good, it certainly won't be now the economy is not so good.
The economy needs money in the pockets of the general public. Cutting government benefits to the public will simply force people to cover the loss with what cash they have if they can. It will end up taking income from small business and corporations alike as most social spending is for the necessity of health care. Health care is not discretionary.
Libertarians may argue that if single payer government health care payers are eliminated people will make better buying decisions and force down the costs. But experience with "free markets" suggests that monopolies are indifferent to market forces and health care is a legal to tacitly legal monopoly. Costs will not come down until those monopolies are broken up and profiteering is driven from the temple that health care should rightly to be.
To cut benefits and then give the savings to the rich as more tax cuts will only set up another round of benefit cuts, as this round is already in response to cutting taxes for the rich in the first place.
What's harder to understand is that cutting benefits paid for with taxes is deficit neutral because it's taking money out of the economy in the amount it saves the government. The difference must be made up by former beneficiaries robbing from other sectors of the economy to cover the same need. If the rich then pay less while the poorer pay more, that's redistribution of wealth upward. Cutting benefits in order to cut taxes is class economic warfare.
Further benefit cuts will accomplish next to nothing and further tax cuts will reduce revenues further and cause more debt period, no matter how much the Republicans want to believe the opposite. It's a spiral that, if Republicans are left in charge of government in any capacity, will repeat itself. It will repeat itself culminating in the wearing down of the economy to nothing and the eventual economic irrelevance of the United Sates. The rich will then move on if they can. Those of us who are left here, newly poor and dumber still than we are now, will have to start over again and hope we are not on anyone's short list for conquest because we'll no longer have a military or know how to make the stuff to equip one. The logical conclusion.
Ryan's plan, predicated on the same bogus economic assumptions under which Republican administrations have operated since Reagan, will not solve the debt crisis he so worries us with. It will not only fail to solve it, it will make it worse just as Reagan made it worse and Bush 43 made it worse. Every economist, no matter how much Kool-Aid they've consumed in the past, now realizes that lowering taxes to raise revenues is either clinically insane or a criminally fraudulent.
I know Paul Ryan is not working for us, the United States, he's working for the greedy class of smash and grab opportunists, exactly like Mitt Romney, that have been carving up our nation since Reagan. He therefore doesn't care about the veracity of his budget, only that it sound reasonable enough to be sold by Citizens United enabled trillions of dollars to a gullible public.
This all summarizes to make Paul Ryan the most dangerous man in America because Paul Ryan is considered the conservative economic genius. He is more like some economic doomsday automaton let loose by the greedy to relentlessly poison our political waters with vomitus stupidities. The guiding principle of his work is that working people need to be poorer in order for the economy to be better. Really Paul? Who will buy the products that provide profits for the fabulously wealthy when the poor and middle classes can afford bread and water and nothing else? Go ahead and drive the GOP off the wet end of the pier. We will not be taking directions from you.