Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, issued his proposed federal budget yesterday. The Republican majority on the Budget Committee is expected to approve it. Fortunately, even if the full House of Representatives approves it, the Senate won’t.
Nevertheless, Ryan’s budget is worth knowing about. It will influence the budget Congress eventually agrees on and it offers yet another clear statement of the Republican Party’s insane priorities.
In brief, the Ryan budget calls for a big tax cut on high incomes, a lot more spending on the military, and a lot less spending on programs like Medicare and food stamps. In addition, Ryan would repeal the Affordable Care Act, even though there are now some 10 million people who have health insurance because of that law (via private insurance or Medicaid).
Ryan claims his budget will eliminate the federal deficit in ten years, despite the tax cuts and increased military spending, because he makes stuff up.
One part of the Republican budget document deals with Social Security. I plan to write more about that in a future post, but for now, consider this amazing sentence from page 66:
Any value in the balances in the Social Security Trust Fund is derived from dubious government accounting.
The Treasury Department says the government bonds in the Social Security Trust Fund were worth almost three trillion (not billion, but trillion) dollars at the end of December and were paying the Trust Fund an average interest rate of 3.6%. But, according to the authors of the Republican budget document, those bonds are basically worthless. They’re an accounting fiction. Such is the financial insight demonstrated by Congressman Ryan and his Republican colleagues as they go about planning our economic future.