The Path to Prosperity…for whom?

Posted April, 6 2011 by arianne

House Republicans yesterday unveiled their version of the 2012 Budget Plan, titled, “The Path to Prosperity.”  Penned and touted largely by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the plan seeks to cut $4.3 trillion in federal spending over the next decade. 

Now, this is no small peanuts.  What exactly are they proposing to cut?  Well, the bulk of it – nearly 2/3 -comes from slashing programs for seniors, poor and low-income families, the sick and chronically ill, and people with disabilities.  Here’s the lowdown on just a portion of the cuts and proposed changes:

  • Repeals the health reform law: Yup, the House proposes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and all the consumer protections that come with it.  This means that seniors will once again be subject to the donut hole, people with pre-existing conditions will again be denied coverage, young adults will be booted off of their parent’s plans, small businesses will lose their tax credits, health care costs will continue to spiral out of control, etc.
  • Cuts to Medicaid: The House proposes to convert the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant.  This will cap the amount that States will get to offer assistance to to folks who are poor, sick, or disabled – even children.  States will no longer be able to guarantee assistance under existing plans to all who are eligible, and many will be forced to cut back programs.
  • Privatization of Medicare: Starting in 2022, all Medicare beneficiaries will be forced to enroll in private insurance plans, who, without the consumer protections afforded by the health reform law will again be able to charge higher fees and give seniors fewer services for their money.  This means that any increases in health care costs would be shifted to seniors, many of whom already have limited incomes.
  • Job cuts:  The House plan proposes to eliminate more jobs in an already struggling economy by reducing the federal workforce by 10%, and freezing federal pay through 2015. 
  • Privatize mortgage lenders:  The house plan proposes to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac.  This will eliminate the federal government’s ability to impose strict rules on these entities and instead allow them to seek profits by gambling with taxpayer money and charging higher fees.
  • Drill, baby, drill:  The budget plan will eliminate federal subsidies for high-speed rail –  a necessary factor in the movement towards an integrated mass transportation system.  Despite rising oil prices and the ever-increasingly alarming effects of global warming, this would vastly limit the future of green transportation alternatives.

So, who exactly is going to prosper from all these cuts? Clearly its not low-income or poor people, or the sick, aged or disabled.  And it definitely won’t be homeowners, federal employees, or anybody associated with green technology.  Forget about the polar bears. 

 But, some people will prosper.  In this case, it it appears as though the insurance companies and the banks will be prospering quite well.  And, with no high-speed rails around…well, then the oil industry will surely continue to prosper. 

Hmm…sounds like the prosperous will keep on prospering, doesn’t it?  But nevermind me – read for yourself!