Paul Ryan. (photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters)
31 October 15
ow that Paul Ryan is Speaker of the House, keep a wary eye out for Ryan’s 7 favorite ideas (they’re also cropping up among Republican presidential candidates):
- Reduce the top income-tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent (a huge windfall to the rich at a time when the rich take home a larger share of total income that at any time since the 1920s).
- Cut corporate taxes to 25 percent from 35 percent (a giant sop to corporations, the largest of which are already socking away $1.2 trillion in foreign tax shelters).
- Make these cuts without adding the budget deficit by slashing spending on domestic programs like food stamps and education for poor districts (now, 18% of the nation's children are in poverty, and these cuts would only make things worse).
- Also by turning Medicaid and other federal programs for the poor into block grants to the states, and let the states decide how to allocate them (in other words, give Republican state legislatures and governors slush funds to do with as they wish).
- And turning Medicare into vouchers that don’t keep up with increases in healthcare costs (which would in effect cut Medicare for the elderly).
- Deal with rising Social Security costs by raising the retirement age for Social Security (making Social Security even more regressive, since the poor don't live nearly as long as the rich).
- Finally, don’t raise the minimum wage but let it continue to decline as inflation makes it irrelevant; instead, provide poor workers with a larger Earned Income Tax Credit (enlarging the EITC is a good idea, but we need a higher minimum as well).
Bottom line: Beware Paul Ryan.
What do you think?