A version of this op-ed appeared in U.S. News and World Report.
The GOP budget plan revealed this week by Rep. Paul Ryan may be a boon for millionaires but it is a disaster for our seniors, children, and working families. It is also a blueprint for the Republicans' electoral defeat in 2012.
Earlier this week, I delivered thousands of petitions to my Republican opponent, Janice Arnold-Jones, asking her to choose--protect Medicare for seniors or keep tax cuts for millionaires?
A few days later, Arnold-Jones made her choice. Here's what the Albuquerque Journal wrote:
"Former Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, a Republican seeking the 1st District seat, said she hadn’t read the bill and couldn’t specify how she would vote. But she praised tax cuts in the proposal.That's the wrong choice. It's also the choice Republicans in Washington are making right now. We need to elect a strong progressive who will push back against these absurd Republican trickle-down philosophies.
“It’s obvious Congressman Ryan learned from history that tax cuts increase revenue,” Arnold-Jones said, citing proposals to lower the corporate tax rate and allow companies to repatriate foreign earnings as good policy."
Most Americans would disagree with Republicans that we should take Medicare away from seniors, and tell students and parents to pay more for education while extending taxpayer giveaways to millionaires, Big Oil, and corporations that ship jobs overseas.
Congressional Republicans believe that their slash-and-burn budget will rally their base in an election year by claiming it would cut spending deeply. In reality, these huge tax cuts would actually increase the deficit.
Most of the proposed tax cuts would go to millionaires and big corporations, who would see their tax rates cut by 10 percent. Working families are tired of the Republicans' failed "trickle down" economics, which has led to higher deficits, less jobs, and a shrinking middle class.
The Republican budget is particularly bad for seniors and women. It calls for ending Medicare's guaranteed earned benefits and replacing it with a privatization scheme forcing seniors to buy the best insurance they can afford with a fixed amount voucher. Republicans say tough luck for living too long or for being on a fixed income.
The GOP budget would also hurt kids and parents by cutting more than $115 billion from Head Start, kindergarten through 12 grade, and college education. That amounts to 9.6 million students losing $1,000 in Pell Grants, 1 million students losing education loans to go to college, and nearly 2 million kids unable to qualify for Head Start. If the Republicans have any hope of winning the young adult or soccer mom vote, this budget is impossible to defend.
With their latest budget, Republicans in Congress are proving to the American people again that they are on the side of millionaires and big corporations, not children, seniors, and working families. In November, voters will decide who they think will best represent their interests.
I have pledged that cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security benefits are "off the table." I believe that we need more people who are willing to stand strong in Congress, and I'm willing to stand up and fight Republicans who make the wrong choice.