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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sen. Eric Griego: More Tax Breaks for the Rich Will Not Cut National Debt

6a00d834519ed469e20147e2a4a36d970b-800wi This is a guest blog by State Senator Eric Griego.

It’s been a tough week for Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan and the Republicans in Congress. First there was the stinging defeat by Kathy Hochul in a Republican Congressional stronghold in New York. Then the next day the U.S. Senate rejected the budget plan crafted by Congressman Ryan. This was the plan that guts Medicare by converting it from a program that pays medical bills for seniors to a program that gives them inadequate vouchers to go out to buy their own health insurance.

The Republican House of Representatives passed this plan and then went home to a firestorm of criticism from constituents who like their Medicare. But this plan was terrible in lots of other ways besides undermining Medicare.

The plan featured drastic cuts of some $4 trillion over ten years. Besides ending Medicare as we know it, the plan would also deeply cut health care for poor children, the disabled and elderly; food stamps; housing programs; Pell grants for low-income students to attend college; and every other federal program you ever heard of, such as the FBI, national parks, homeland security, interstate highways -- you name it.

The House Republicans who passed this budget, said these severe cuts had to be made to save our children from future budget deficits. They said “we all need to sacrifice to reduce the national debt.”

Read the Fine Print
That all sounds very noble until you read the fine print. Because at the same time the House Republicans voted to cut $4 trillion out of programs that help ordinary people, they voted to give the same $4 trillion in tax cuts to the very rich.

First, the Ryan plan would have permanently extended all the Bush tax cuts, including those for taxpayers making over $250,000 per year. That alone would add about $1 trillion to the national debt by 2019.

Second, a huge new cut would reduce the top tax rate (paid only by the richest 2 percent of taxpayers) from the current 35 percent down to 25 percent -- and doing this for both individuals and corporations. This alone would cost the treasury almost $2 trillion.

Finally, other miscellaneous tax cuts -- all targeted for the rich -- make up the last $1 trillion.

If you cut middle-class programs on the one hand, but then also cut taxes on the rich at the same time, what impact do you make on future deficits? None -- they just cancel each other out. This is using fears about deficits to pull a fast one on the American people.

Congressman Ryan claims his proposal would make up $3 trillion of this lost revenue by closing tax loopholes and “broadening the tax base.” But he and other Republicans have declined to name a single loophole or specific change to broaden the base, which has to make you wonder how serious they really are about reducing the deficit because you would need new revenue to balance the budget after so many tax cuts.

Robin Hood in Reverse
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, there is only one way to balance out a revenue loss of $3 or $4 trillion -- raise taxes on the middle class. So in the guise of “putting the nation’s fiscal house in order,” the House Republicans are trying to sneak through a massive transfer of tax responsibility from the rich to the middle class. This is not serious deficit reduction, it’s Robin Hood in reverse.

President Obama’s proposal takes deficit reduction much more seriously. It goes after future deficits by finally allowing the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent to expire, and it also cuts almost $3 trillion in program spending over a 12-year period. Many of these cuts would be very painful, and personally I don’t agree with them all, but at least they would all go to reduce the deficit, and at least there would be no tax increases on the middle class.

The bottom line is that Congressional Republicans, including Congressman Pearce, have made a lot of noise about the dangers of future budget deficits. Unfortunately, that now looks like little more than a smoke-screen behind which they will transfer income from the middle and working class to some of the richest people on the planet.

This is a guest blog by Senator Eric Griego, who is also Executive Director of NM Voices for Children. He is a Democratic candidate for Congress in NM-01.

May 31, 2011 at 12:10 AM in Economy, Populism, Eric Griego, Guest Blogger, Healthcare, NM-01 Congressional Race 2012, Progressivism, Republican Party | Permalink

Comments

... 'tellin it like it is,' Eric. Thank you and I look forward to repeating what you've written here.

Posted by: suz | May 31, 2011 7:39:39 AM

wow, what a lying fraud...you fail to mention that obama health plan guts medicare($500 billion in cuts??) and seeks to eliminate Medicare Advantage, a program that actually offered a choice to seniors...democrats didn't like it because it was initiating free market principles in the health sector - accountability, cost containment, etc....greigo is the typical dishonest politician...

Posted by: joe | May 31, 2011 12:10:25 PM

I see the right wing trolls are out. Those lies won't wash anymore "joe". The truth is out of the bag with Rep. Ryan's plan to destroy Medicare.

Obama's plan includes rules to stop corporate insurers from taking advantage of seniors by grabbing excess profits.

Democrats created Medicare and have protected it and strengthened it since then. The Republicans like now have always been out to get rid of it.

Posted by: Old Dem | May 31, 2011 12:31:42 PM

Just based on this guest blog I would support Sen. Griego for Congress. It is so good to have a strong, progressive candidate running in CD1!

Posted by: Lori | May 31, 2011 2:14:19 PM

Early money is like yeast; it makes the dough rise. Send Sen. Griego some, please. The quarter ends at midnight, so donate today if you can. Donate to Eric's Congressional campaign here.

Disclaimer: I support Sen. Griego and I have donated to his campaign myself. This impromptu plea for funds before the reporting deadline is entirely my own idea.

Posted by: Proud Democrat | May 31, 2011 3:00:49 PM

I agree with Proud Democrat. If Eric is to have a real chance we all have to support him early and often!

Posted by: Sean | May 31, 2011 4:01:27 PM

(QUOTE)greigo is the typical dishonest politician...(QUOTE)
...joe is a typical, dishonest right wing troll who is trying to pin what his party has been doing for the last 30-40 years on others. Classic republican lack of taking responsibility for your own actions. Some things never change.

Posted by: Dana | May 31, 2011 6:34:18 PM

Thank you! I know you care deeply about us ordinary folks. Please look into The People's Budget, proposed by the Progressive Caucus in Congress. It makes a lot more sense than the Republican fiasco but has received little publicity. See it at http://cpc.grijalva.house.gov/index.cfmsectionid=70&sectiontree=5,70

I'd like to hear your thoughts on it.

Posted by: Roxanne Allen | May 31, 2011 8:18:32 PM

The Ryan plan is hardly fiscal conservatism. It is agenda driven politics at its worst. Here we are, in a struggle with an economic recession that was caused in the first place by Bush's one two punch of wars and tax cuts to the wealthy - and these stick up artists are actually making us pay extra for the privilege of being robbed by bandits in tuxedos with gloved hands.

We need people in Congress who are courageous enough to say what needs to be said about the truth of this. These Radical Ryanistas need to be stopped.

Thank you Eric Griego for stepping out and telling it like it is.

Posted by: Stuart Heady | May 31, 2011 11:54:00 PM