11 Ways The Ryan Budget Goes Against What Public Wants

Dave Johnson

The new Ryan/Republican budget is out. It cuts $5.1 trillion from spending over 10 years on things that make our lives better, while reducing taxes on the wealthy and giant corporations, and increasing military spending by $483 billion over the same period. (Note that cutting things like health care actually just shifts the costs, because people still get sick.)

How does this compare to the things that the American public want their government to do? (Does that even matter anymore?)

The website “Populist Majority – Exposing the gulf between American opinion and conventional wisdom” looks at polls showing what the public actually wants, not at the “conventional wisdom” that the D.C. elite and the corporate media tell us is best for us. Here are just a few results from this site:

  • 73 percent believe deficit reduction should be secured by raising taxes on the wealthy by eliminating tax credits and deductions-not cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security
  • Nine out of 10 believe that any revenue generated by closing corporate loopholes or limiting tax deductions for the wealthy should be used for public investment and deficit reduction (82 percent), not to lower tax rates on corporations or the wealthy (9 percent).
  • 54 percent favor raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations to expand programs for the poor.
  • 66 percent believe corporations pay too little in taxes and 61 percent of people believe upper-income people pay too little in taxes.

These are just a few of the nuggets at the Populist Majority website. Obviously the Ryan/Republican plan to cut $5.1 trillion from spending on things that make our lives better while reducing taxes on the wealthy and giant corporations runs counter to these.

Drilling Down

The National Priorities Project drilled down into specific areas of the Republican budget proposals to see “how new budget proposals stack up against what Americans want.” They compared this terrible budget to President Obama’s budget proposal, the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ (CPC) Better Off Budget and polling that shows what the public wants in specific areas.

  • Job Creation – 74 percent say improving the job situation is a key issue facing the president and Congress this year. The Obama budget includes $143 billion for job creation initiatives. The CPC includes $1.3 trillion for job creation. There’s nothing in the Ryan/Republican budget.
  • Medicaid – 74 percent have a favorable view Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. The Obama budget maintains that. The CPC budget increases funding for Medicaid through supplemental grants to states. The Republican budget makes deep cuts to Medicaid, converts the program to a block grant administered at the state level, and repeals the Medicaid expansion.
  • Food Stamps (SNAP) – 70 percent oppose cuts to SNAP. The Obama budget proposes no changes. The CPC budget restores SNAP benefits to pre-Farm Bill levels, investing $15 billion. The Republican budget makes deep cuts.
  • Education – 69 percent say improving the education system in the U.S. is a top priority for the president and Congress this year. The Obama provides $66 billion to fund Preschool for All Initiative. The CPC provides $47 billion to invest in teachers and K-12 schools, in addition to adding substantially to the general discretionary funding for education. The Republican budget freezes the maximum Pell grant award at the same level for the next 10 years, provides financial aid to fewer families, and makes substantial cuts to overall discretionary spending, which includes education.
  • Tax Loopholes – 67 percent want a budget that closes corporate tax loopholes and limits tax breaks for the wealthy. The Obama budget raises $651 billion by doing this, and $13.8 billion by closing others. The CPC budget raises $153 billion by cuttting loopholes and deductions for the wealthy, raises $14 billion by eliminating the home mortgage-interest deduction for vacation homes and yachts. The Republican budget says it will close loopholes, but does not specify any.
  • Corporate Taxes – 66 percent think corporations pay too little in taxes. 79 percent want to close tax loopholes that make sure corporations pay as much on foreign profits as they do on domestic profits. Obama raises $150 billion by closing offshore loopholes, another $48 billion by cutting oil company loopholes. The CPC closes loopholes and implements a Wall Street tax to raise $908 billion. The Republican budget dramatically cuts corporate taxes. It reduces the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent and reduces or eliminates all taxes on overseas corporate profits.
  • Individual Taxes – 61 percent say upper-income earners don’t pay enough in taxes. Obama proposes a minimum tax rate on millionaires to raise $53 billion. The CPC budget raises taxes on the wealthy by $1.27 trillion. The Republican budget dramatically cuts taxes on the wealthy. It reduces top tax rates by replacing the current tax brackets with just two brackets of 10 percent and 25 percent.
  • Social Security – 66 percent say making the Social Security system sound is a key issue facing the president and Congress this year. Obama and the Republicans would prevent people from collecting Social Security Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance benefits at the same time. CPC proposes changes such as eliminating the cap on earnings subject to Social Security tax.
  • Medicare – 61 percent say making the Medicare system sound is a key issue facing the president and Congress this year. Obama raises premiums on wealthy retirees, and reduces Medicare Advantage payments to private insurers, among other changes, to save $354 billion. CPC negotiates for lower prescription drug prices to save $157 billion. The Republican budget changes Medicare in 2024 with a voucher system for private insurance and raises the age of eligibility.
  • Military Funding – 58 percent would support substantial reductions in military spending. Obama increases it 5 percent in the first year. CPC cuts military spending by $255 billion. Republicans increase military spending $483 billion.
  • Education, energy and environment, housing, job training, etc. (“Discretionary Spending”) – Opinion polls suggest that domestic investment in education, energy and environment, job training, and other areas are top priorities for Americans. Other polls show Americans would rather see higher tax revenue than cuts to these areas. Obama provides an extra $162 billion above sequester levels over 10 years. CPC provides an extra $1.56 trillion above sequester levels over 10 years. Republicans cut domestic programs substantially – nearing 20 percent in some cases – for total cuts of $791 billion over a decade.

So there you have it. If you are part of what is known as “the public” it looks like it is a good idea to learn more about the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ (CPC) Better Off Budget!

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