Thursday, March 22, 2012

Paul Ryan Hates the Unemployed and Poor

"We don't want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency." - Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan's new plan, The Path to Prosperity - The Sequel, gives those making over $1 million per year an average tax cut of at least $150,000 and preserves tax breaks for oil and gas companies and hedge fund managers. These tax breaks are then paid for by ending Medicare as we know it.

Paul Ryan's plan would nullify the issue of the expiring Bush tax cuts. Robert Reich writes: "Republican Social Darwinists are determined that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 be made permanent. Those cuts saved the richest 1 percent of taxpayers (roughly 1.4 million people) more money on their taxes last year than the rest of America's 141 million taxpayers received in total income."

Ryan's grand plan also seeks to replace the $500 billion in triggered cuts to the defense department by substituting measures that would decrease spending on food stamps, federal worker benefits and health care programs, among other items.

Ryan's blueprint says, "The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families reforms cut welfare caseloads in half as poverty rates declined. In stark contrast to critics' fears, child-poverty rates fell 1 percent per year in the five years following the passage of TANF in 1996."

But since then, the child poverty rate has gone back up, even as TANF caseloads have continued to decline. The poverty rate for Americans under 18 was 20.5 percent in 1996. Now it's 22 percent. "The success of welfare reform is way oversold because it's based on early years when the economy was booming," says LaDonna Pavetti of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Ryan's plan would turn the funding for federal programs like food stamps and housing assistance into block grants -- a fixed yearly allotment granting states greater spending flexibility. States would then set work requirements and time limits for the benefits.

Is he kidding? Work requirements and time limits for Americans who have already been unemployed for over 2 or 3 years, because no one will even hire them to shine Paul Ryan's shoes?

Paul Ryan says, "We don't want to turn the safety net into a hammock that lulls able-bodied people to lives of dependency and complacency, that drains them of their will and their incentive to make the most of their lives."

What? But what if able-bodied people can't find work? Or if they do, are only offered part-time jobs that don't pay a living wage? Let's see if Mister Ryan can live on a minimum wage. Here's a map the United States at Jared Bernstein's blog that shows how many hours one must work in each State just to pay their rent (and that doesn't even include food.)

And what's all this nonsense about "hammocks"? Many people are living in other people's basements and garages, inside their cars, in homeless shelters, or on the streets. They're not on vacation Mister Ryan, they're just trying to survive!

Robert Reich agrees: "I have news for Paul Ryan. Almost 23 million able-bodied people still can't find work. They're not being lulled into dependency. They and their families could use some help. Even if the economy continues to generate new jobs at the rate it's been going the last three months, we wouldn't see normal rates of unemployment until 2017."

New research by professors Emmanual Saez and Thomas Pikkety show that the average adjusted gross income of the bottom 90 percent was $29,840. Forty-six million people live below the poverty line. Almost half of all working Americans earn less than $27,000 a year (The poverty line for a family of four is $22,314)

Paul Ryan is paid $174,000 a year, a pension, and healthcare by the taxpayers for his "big government" part-time job.

Paul Ryan's plan includes block-grants for giving states the "flexibility" to use those funds for other things (like more tax breaks for businesses) rather than helping the poor.

Lowering spending on food stamps is a top target of Ryan's plan, which notes their cost has increased from $18 billion in 2001 to $80 billion today - - because since after the Great Recession that the Republicans caused, and the subsequent massive layoffs, now is when these people need these benefits the most.

About 1.8 million women, infants, and children who rely on the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program would be off this program in 2014. Similarly, by 2014 more than 400,000 low-income families would lose critically important housing vouchers.

There will also be cuts to spending on Pell Grants - - 9.6 million low-income students would see their Pell Grants fall by more than $1,000 in 2014 - - and, over the next decade, over one million students would lose support altogether.

Keep in mind: Paul Ryan's plan reduces the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25 percent. Cuts of this magnitude give Americans who make more than $1 million a year an average tax cut of at least $150,000 a year. The money would come out of programs for the elderly, lower-middle families, and the poor.

Paul Ryan must hate the poor and unemployed.

* Ten questions for Paul Ryan and his supporters

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1 comment:

  1. UPDATE - Great Cartoon