(Ron Wyden: Yuri Gripas/Reuters, Paul Ryan: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)
The House budget once again fails the test of balance, fairness, and shared responsibility. It would shower the wealthiest few Americans with an average tax cut of at least $150,000, while preserving taxpayer giveaways to oil companies and breaks for Wall Street hedge fund managers. What’s worse is that all of these tax breaks would be paid for by undermining Medicare and the very things we need to grow our economy and the middle class – things like education, basic research, and new sources of energy. And instead of strengthening Medicare, the House budget would end Medicare as we know it, turning the guarantee of retirement security into a voucher that will shift higher and higher costs to seniors over time.Speaking a little more informally, National Economic Director appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe and said the "new budget proposal would put Medicare on a 'death spiral,'" and called it “extremely disappointing” and “extreme.”
Ryan’s budget, Sperling said, doesn’t reform Medicare, but fundamentally changes it into a voucher program with a “disturbing” two-tier system.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was a bit more succinct:
“This is what I find most disturbing — it takes this basic Medicare guarantee and essentially creates a two-tier system in which people and healthcare plans have a fundamental economic incentive to try to siphon off the healthiest and youngest workers, thereby raising costs more for people who want to stay in Medicare,” Sperling said. “That drives more people out of Medicare making the cost even higher for those who remain. So this process risks creating an actual death spiral for the basic guarantee of Medicare as more people are forced out of the system and those who remain face higher and higher costs.”
Likewise, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (via email):
Asked about Paul Ryan's budget proposal, Senator Reid responded: "We passed budget levels last August. Budget levels are set."Ryan's attempts to make this sound bipartisan because of the scant cover provided by Sen. Ron Wyden's (D-OR) participation on the Medicare proposal will fall flat, and presumably even Wyden will oppose the drastic safety net cuts this budget would impose.
"We don't need to fight over a budget which we already have."
Asked again about Paul Ryan's proposal, he added: "It makes the rich richer and ruins Medicare as we know it."
This budget from the House GOP and Ryan, perhaps even more than last year's, would inflict serious pain on millions of low- and middle-income Americans, all while lowering taxes on corporations and the wealthy. The icing on the cake is that it breaks the budget levels agreed to last year, and could lead to a government shutdown. Heckuva job, House Republicans!