The Paul Ryan Magical Mystery Chop, Dice, and Slice Budget


By Walter Brasch


In 2011, before he was the Republican nominee for vice-president, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) proposed a federal budget. He called it, “The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America’s Promise.”

Two years later, now in his second year as chair of the House budget committee, he dusted off and polished his old proposal. He calls this one: “The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible Balanced Budget.” His plan is to cut the federal deficit by $4.6 trillion in four years, reducing the deficit to about $12.1 trillion.

While the Republicans blame President Obama and the Democrats for wild tax-and-spend policies that led to the huge deficit, they conveniently overlook the reality that Bill Clinton left George W. Bush a budget surplus of about $230 billion. By the time President Bush completed his eight years, there was no longer a balanced budget, and the deficit soared another $5 trillion.

Much of the additional deficit created under President Obama was a result of being forced to continue many of the Bush policies that included massive tax cuts and the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that cost more than $1.4 trillion and are expected to cost Americans $600 billion–$1 trillion over the next three decades to provide health care and disability benefits for combat soldiers.

President Obama’s stimulus plan was a largely successful program to bring the nation out of a corporate-created, government-neglected Recession that was greater than anything since the 1929 stock market crash that led to the great Depression. This year, because of Obama policies, the stock market is at a record high, and the unemployment rate is now below 8 percent and dropping, with almost all states having lower unemployment rates than a year ago.

It’s been four years since President Bush left office, and the Congressional Republicans who fully embraced the Bush–Cheney policies still haven’t learned anything.

If you’re living comfortably in your upper class lifestyle, you’re going to love Ryan’s proposed budget.

The budget eliminates the graduated income tax—that’s the one with several brackets, increasing the tax upon those with more money. Under this budget proposal, there will be only two brackets—10 percent and 25 percent. The top rate of 39.6 percent, which multi-millionaires pay, is cut to the 25 percent level.

But if you’re among the rest of us, Paul Ryan’s proposal, endorsed enthusiastically by the Congressional Republicans and their Tea party base, is a disaster.

Under the cover of saying he’s going to balance the budget, Ryan cuts retirement and health benefits for veterans and federal employees. He cuts disaster relief, and the federal role in education and scientific research. He cuts funding for the nation’s infrastructure, leaving our already-neglected highways and bridges to undergo even more deterioration.

He cuts Medicare costs by issuing vouchers—individuals would receive a set amount to buy retirement benefits. This, of course, is on every insurance goliath’s wish list.

While keeping more than $40 billion in corporate subsidies, Paul Ryan cuts Medicaid, food stamps, and unemployment insurance, mostly by having the federal government issue block grants to the states so they can take care of the poor. Thus, we are likely to have 50 separate programs instead of one—with the expected consequence of the poor and disadvantaged moving from state to state to find jobs and better programs.

He cuts more than $1.8 trillion from the Affordable Health Care Act that passed both houses of Congress and was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court. The Republicans have brought more than 30 bills to gut the Act; they lost every time. Ryan’s proposal is the political end run that, if successful, would eliminate critical and necessary health care, while shoving more than 30 million Americans, mostly low-income and the middle-class, back into the unprotected category. Of course, every member of Congress and their staffs have premium health coverage and retirement benefits.

Ryan’s budget, which has the Republicans salivating, would be the lowest in six decades. This doesn’t even take into account there has been significant inflation the past six decades, or that Medicare, Medicaid, NASA, WIC (the women, infant, children nutritional program) and numerous other programs to benefit all Americans didn’t exist six decades ago.

What Ryan’s budget doesn’t include is as much an indication of his hatred for the lower- and middle-classes, and his pandering to the nation’s Luxury Class and corporate monoliths. Unlike the proposed Democrats’ budget, Ryan’s budget doesn’t include closing significant tax loopholes used mostly by the wealthy. That means they can continue to employ an army of accountants and lawyers to find innumerable ways to avoid taxes. And, like Mitt Romney, the wealthy can still hide money in foreign countries and avoid U.S. taxes. The Democrats’ budget raises $1 trillion in revenue by cutting those loopholes.

The Ryan budget also has only minimal and largely cosmetic cuts in military spending. But, in an ironic twist, the Pentagon’s highest officials, both civilian and military, have criticized Congress for keeping certain programs the military believe is wasteful or unproductive—but favored for political reasons by members of Congress.

Although Ryan has a degree in economics, his proposed budget, says Senate majority leader Harry Reid, can not be balanced because it “relies on accounting that’s creative at best and fraudulent at worst.”

The American people broadly rejected Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in 2010. They need to now reject his so-called new budget that proves the Republicans are nothing more than the lackeys of corporate greed at the expense of the rest of us.

[Walter Brasch is an award-winning columnist and author of 17 books. His latest is Fracking Pennsylvania, an in-depth look at the social, environmental, health, and political issues of the controversial method to extract natural gas. The book is available from,, and brick-and-mortar bookstores.]



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About Walter Brasch

Columnist, author, journalism professor. Latest book is BEFORE THE FIRST SNOW: STORIES FROM THE REVOLUTION, a look at the couterculture from 1964, as seen through the eyes of a "flower child" who is now middle-aged--and of the reporter who covered her story. The book is available through . . . Check out website, for further info. Or, just write me:
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One Response to The Paul Ryan Magical Mystery Chop, Dice, and Slice Budget

  1. Terry says:

    Unfortunately, Mr. Brasch is following the typical left methodology of misleading the public with half facts and blatant “LIES”. Same as the that of mr obama and his congressional cronies. BTW, Obama won by a small majority that is not overwhelming. The fact that 45-48% of the nation are on some form of welfare and or are jobless proves Mitt Romney was correct in his assessment.

    The fact is we entered into two wars (I was not for the Iraqi war ), several natural disasters, and rebuilding was provided by federal relief (Everything).

    Personnel whom consider themselves journalist should be held responsible for the words they say. When they blatantly lie such as Mr Brasch, Chris Mathews, Lawrence Odonnel, Rachel Maddow, and many others (too numerous to add here) and all members of congress (especially the left). They should be fired and never be allowed to represent the people again as long as they live.

    Whom pays for the increase in corporate tax rates, the working class people. Whom pays for the increase in federal spending, the working class people. Whom pays for the increase in medicare and social security benefits, the working class. Whom pays for the increase in welfare recipeints, the working class.

    People who receive these benefits, that ARE NOT RETIRED, are the same people who has not earned a living for themselves and most probably been on some welfare assistance since they were a child. These same people are the democrats, that believe the working class should care for them. They did not bother to get an education beyond a GED, or HS diploma at best, OR, they are not legal to be here in the first place. Instead of speaking the truth and sending the illegals back to their respective countries, the democrats discovered they can change our legal voting policies to ensure they do not need to be a citizens to vote as ONLY a CITIZEN has the right.

    As long as an individual is not required to have a state issued ID or a social security ID then they will not be determined to be illegal. As long as they can persuade these uneducated, unreliable, unemployable, illegal, drug and alcohol addicted, societal scum that they can remain as they are and the WORKING CLASS will take care of them, The democratic party has a chance of long standing.

    Until the intentional LIES are stopped, and the uneducated remain uneducated , the republicans do not have a chance and our great nation will become the nations that all people left and did not like.

    However as an American Indian, You people have destroyed OUR country a long time ago. Now it is only getting worse due to the Nanny State and abusive ammendments to the bill of rights and constitution.

    By the way every federal member swore an oath to PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION and THE BILL OF RIGHTS. Those that do not should be tried for treason against the United States of America and condemned to exile to EU (if a country would take them to care for). Or at the least they should be fired for Neglegence of duties (Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Leon Panetta, Harry Reid, Pelosi and others).