Wednesday, June 20, 2018

House GOP Seeks to Cut Medicare, Social Security to Balance Budget After Massive Tax Cuts for Wealthy

While much of the American public is focused on the horrors and deliberate cruelty taking place on America's southwest border, House Republicans are conspiring to unleash cruelty on those who rely on Medicare and Social Security to survive.  The pretense for harming countless lives?  The need to cut the federal budget deficit which is hemorrhaging red ink in the wake of the $1.5 trillion (yes, trillion with a "T") tax cuts for the very wealthy and large, rapacious corporations.  It has been Paul Ryan's sick and morally bankrupt dream to destroy the social safety net for years, and now the massive give away voted in by Republicans is being grotesquely used to harm the poor and the elderly.  While Catholic bishops are condemning the Trump/Pence family separation policy, they might also want to bar Ryan from the sacraments given his utter disregard for the poor, the hungry and the sick. Trump cruel border policy did not arise out of thin air.  The GOP has been pushing a cruel agenda for many years.   A piece in the Washington Post looks ate the GOP's manufactured crisis and those whom they seek to harm.  Here are excerpts:
House Republicans released a proposal Tuesday that would balance the budget in nine years — but only by making large cuts to entitlement programs, including Medicare and Social Security, . . . .
The House Budget Committee is aiming to pass the blueprint this week, but that may be as far as it goes this midterm election year. It is not clear that GOP leaders will put the document on the House floor for a vote, and even if it were to pass the House, the budget would have little impact on actual spending levels.
Nonetheless the budget serves as an expression of Republicans’ priorities at a time of rapidly rising deficits and debt. Although the nation’s growing indebtedness has been exacerbated by the GOP’s own policy decisions — including the new tax law, which most analyses say will add at least $1 trillion to the debt — Republicans on the Budget Committee said they felt a responsibility to put the nation on a sounder fiscal trajectory.
Democrats have little interest in addressing it except as part of a larger deal including tax increases — the sort of “Grand Bargain” that eluded President Barack Obama.
The House Republican budget, titled “A Brighter American Future,” would remake Medicare by giving seniors the option of enrolling in private plans that compete with traditional Medicare, a system of competition designed to keep costs down but dismissed by critics as an effort to privatize the program. Along with other changes, the budget proposes to squeeze $537 billion out of Medicare over the next decade.
The budget would transform Medicaid, the federal-state health-care program for the poor, by limiting per capita payments or allowing states to turn it into a block-grant program — the same approach House Republicans took in their legislation that passed last year to repeal the Affordable Care Act (the repeal effort died in the Senate, but the GOP budget assumes that the repeal takes place).  It also proposes adding work requirements for certain adults enrolled in Medicaid. Changes to Medicaid and other health programs would account for $1.5 trillion in savings.
Social Security comes in for more modest cuts of $4 billion over the decade, which the budget projects could be reached by eliminating concurrent receipt of unemployment benefits and Social Security disability insurance. . . . And the budget proposes $230 billion in cuts from education and training programs, including consolidating student loan programs and reducing Pell Grant awards.
The budget also relies on rosy economic-growth projections . . .
Democrats were quick to criticize the GOP proposal while contending that Republicans were opening themselves up to election-year attacks by releasing it at all.
“The 2019 Republican budget scraps any sense of responsibility to the American people and any obligation to being honest,” said Rep. John Yarmuth (Ky.), the top Democrat on the Budget Committee. “Its repeal of the Affordable Care Act and extreme cuts to health care, retirement security, anti-poverty programs, education, infrastructure, and other critical investments are real and will inflict serious harm on American families.”
The farce is that the GOP pretends to be the party of "family values" and "Christian values" yet other than slavishly prostituting itself to hate-filled anti-abortion, anti-gay Christofascists, NOTHING in the GOP agenda is family friendly or remotely in keeping with the Gospel's social message.   

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