Saturday, April 16, 2011

Repub Budget: 'Slow Murder By Poison'

The Republican Party made a clear statement of priorities yesterday with its vote pass the budget of Rep. Paul Ryan: the radical realignment of American priorities that would protect the wealthiest and send the middle and lower incomes into the cold night air alone.

This is a budget that the representatives from our region (the 9th and 6th Districts of Virginia, whose seats are held by Morgan Griffith and Bob Goodlatte) heartily endorse. This is the most conservative position, the one that holds individual and corporate wealth as sacrosanct and believes that wealth will ultimately trickle down, as Ronald Regan so frequently promised and never delivered.

The goal of the party, which has been hinted and was even stated during the Bush II administration, is to end Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security--programs Republicans loathe--as we know them. "Restructure" is the popular euphemism for the destructive intent. Democrats talk about throwing various populations "under the bus," but the plan is quite a bit more complex and subtle than that. More like a slow murder by poison.

There is not much way any of this will sit well with me or, I suspect, most of America when explained for what it is. It would be more palatable--though almost impossible to swallow in any event--if the bill and the effort made some effort at the equitable distribution of pain. The rich escape every time in the Republican plans, even though they rarely need this protection. The extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy at a time when the budget is dangerously out of kilter is irresponsible, almost beyond Bush's wars (uh, maybe not so much).

I cannot fathom why neither party will lift the annual cap on Social Security contributions to cover all the income people earn, rather than cut that contribution off at a relatively low level. The wealthy are required to contribute far, far smaller percentages of their incomes to Social Security, which they most often don't even need when they retire. It would also make sense to cap the income levels at which people receive Social Security. If you have an income of $200,000 or $300,000 a year, you don't need Social Security. You don't need Medicare. Those simple fixes would make both programs far more in line with the budget for them.

But lets not offend the rich. As Bush II once said, "Some people call you rich. I call you 'my base.'"

And that, perhaps more than anything else, is the problem.


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