The Darth Vader Budget
By Bernie Horn
April 1, 2009 - 12:01pm ET
House Republicans just released their substitute budget for FY 2010. It is a very extreme right-wing plan for America. The ideas contained in this proposal are so far out of the mainstream that you have to wonder not just what planet these people are from, but whether they’ve been sent by the Galactic Empire to destroy our civilization.
The GOP plan would rescind the recently-enacted economic stimulus package, which would cause America—and the world—to spiral into Depression.
Except for some unemployment insurance payments, the stimulus would be repealed as of October 1, 2009.
The GOP plan would hand over nearly $4 trillion in tax cuts to the rich.
This proposal would make permanent George Bush’s 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for the rich and provide an alternative system with only two tax rates (10 percent applying to the first $50,000 in income, and a top rate of 25 percent applying to all income after that) which would be even more generous to the rich.
This proposal would entirely suspend the capital gains tax for 2009 and 2010. For subsequent years, it would lower the capital gains tax and the tax on dividends to 15 percent. Further, it would permanently repeal the federal estate tax—a change that would cut enormously taxes paid by only the very richest people in America.
And this proposal would cut the corporate income tax rate from 35 to 25 percent.
The GOP plan would freeze non-defense, non-veteran spending for five years.
That means no new investments in health care, energy, education, or national infrastructure. At best, our economy would stagnate. At worst...well, this is the same strategy that Herbert Hoover tried.
The GOP plan would privatize Medicare.
Over time, this proposal would turn Medicare into a voucher system in which seniors would get a check from the government and would be told to go buy private insurance. In the absence of federal cost controls (which are part of the Democratic but not the Republican program), health costs would skyrocket and the voucher amount would quickly fall far behind the cost of insurance. Obviously, seniors who couldn’t afford to pay more out-of-pocket would become under-insured and insurance companies would make out like bandits.
The GOP plan would cut Social Security.
This proposal comes out for “means testing” Social Security benefits, but it does not specify which income groups would feel the cuts.
According to news reports, Republicans in the U.S. Senate have no plans to endorse this other-worldly budget.
The writer is a Senior Fellow at Campaign for America’s Future and author of the recent book, "Framing the Future: How Progressive Values Can Win Elections and Influence People."
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Views expressed on this page are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Campaign for America's Future or Institute for America's Future