Letter: Closer Look at Ryan’s Budget

To the Editor:

Paul Ryan presented his budget “vision,” which E.J. Dionne Jr. characterized as “cruel” in his syndicated column published in the March 15 Valley News (“A Budget Only an Ideologue Could Love.”) The plan calls for Medicaid cuts, the repeal of Obamacare and big reductions in programs that, according to Dionne, serve “the least among us (in order to) finance his largesse to the very well-off.”

Five years ago, Citigroup decided the time had come to bang the drum on “plutonomy” (corporate plutocracy). The drum has sounded loudly since. Reinforced by the Citizens United ruling issued by the Supreme Court, U.S. House races last fall cost over $1 billion. It cost more than $700 million to elect just a third of the Senate. About 60 percent of all super-PAC donations came from just 159 people. More broadly, while the bottom 99 percent of Americans’ incomes have fallen by 0.4 percent since the recovery began in 2009, the top 1 percent’s incomes have risen by 11.2 percent.

FDR provided an alternative vision in his second inaugural address when he said, “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide for those who have too little.” In the depths of the Depression, FDR created the Social Security system, unemployment compensation and 12.5 million federal jobs.

Can our leaders muster the political will to change direction? Though it goes against many politicians on the far right, Dionne appeals to those who regard themselves as moderate and says they have a moral obligation to oppose Ryan’s design. “Will they call out Ryan and the House Republicans for how extreme their ideas are?”

Unless we change direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed, according to a Chinese proverb.

Bob Scobie



Column: A Budget Only an Ideologue Could Love

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Paul Ryan’s budget could prove to be a perversely useful document. Thanks to this plan, nobody can take the House Budget Committee chairman seriously anymore as a policy wonk or true deficit hawk. His budget is the work of an ideologue. It’s a bargaining ploy that even Ryan concedes is merely “a vision.” It is full of holes and magic …