April 4, 2012
Republican Paul Ryan's Budget: Cruel and Unusual Punishment
by Stephen Lendman
What Democrats endorse isn't much better. Timing mostly differs to get past November elections.
For starters, Obama and Democrats agreed to the following cuts over the next decade:
• $770 billion from education, environmental, transportation, and other infrastructure cuts, as well as lower wages and benefits for federal workers when they need more, not less;
• $480 billion from Medicare and Medicaid, besides another $1 trillion from Obamacare;
• $360 billion from mandated domestic programs, including food stamps, home heating assistance, income for the poor and disabled, federal pension insurance, and farm subsidies; and
• $400 billion from military-related spending from unneeded weapons, as well as healthcare and other benefits for active service members and veterans.
Priority Pentagon items remain untouched to assure annual budget increases, generous supplemental add-ons, and secret open-checkbook intelligence allocations for numerous lawless purposes.
Bipartisan complicity assures people needs are on the chopping block for reduction or elimination to satisfy the insatiable appetites of Wall Street, war profiteers, other corporate favorites, and America's super-rich. If reelected, Obama will rubber-stamp them.
Moreover, he's on board for more, including slashing corporate and super-rich tax rates. At the same time, he OK'd Medicare co-pays increases, raising retirement age entitlements eligibility, and reducing or eliminating other vital benefits America's poor need most.
They and ordinary Americans will be burdened to let corporations and super-rich elites end up better off than ever. Bipartisan complicity assures it.
At a time 25 million are unemployed, millions more underemployed, poverty's at record levels, home foreclosures exceed 12 million, one in eight homeowners either face foreclosure or are past due 30 or more days, 11 million homeowners are "upside down on their mortgages," eight million homes are either unsold or vacant, prices keep falling, unmet public needs are rising, corporate profits are at record levels, and super-rich elites are better off than ever, Republicans passed a budget inflicting more pain on households least to tolerate it.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) chairs the House Budget Committee. He wants Social Security privatized, its benefits reduced, Medicare abolished, Medicaid sharply cut, food stamps and other safety net essentials decreased, and taxes slashed for corporations and America's super-rich.
On March 29, his proposed budget passed 228 - 191 along party lines as expected. No Democrats supported it. Ten Republicans defected. According to Ryan:
"It is so rare in American politics to arrive at a moment in which the debate revolves around the fundamental nature of American democracy and the social contract, but that is exactly where we are today. Today's budget is a vote of confidence for the American experiment."
For millions of vulnerable households, it's nearly a death sentence. It harms their ability to get by, and Ryan plans more cuts. Already, income inequality and poverty are at record levels.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 62% of Ryan's cuts come from "programs for lower-income Americans." Over 10 years, it slashes $5.3 trillion from non-defense areas. At the same time, he allocates an additional $200 billion for defense and imperial wars with automatic add-ons annually plus unknown tens of billions in black budgets.
Specific proposed cuts include:
(1) $2.4 trillion from Medicaid and other low or moderate household income healthcare programs. Medicaid loses $810 billion. By repealing Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and subsidies for those most in need to buy health insurance, he gets another $1.6 trillion.
(2) $1.2 trillion from programs other than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other healthcare programs.
(3) $134 billion from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) food stamp aid. If enacted, up to 10 million recipients would be entirely shut out.
(4) At least $463 billion from other programs serving America's most needy, other than Medicaid and SNAP.
(5) At least another $291 billion in low-income discretionary programs, including Pell Grant tuition aid for needy students.
Ryan directs his cuts at vulnerable households unable to get by on what he wants reduced or eliminated. Millions will lose healthcare. Millions more won't have enough to eat and will be dependent on what food banks provide. Education will suffer more than already. Poor students will have to forego it altogether.
Mitt Romney called it "an excellent piece of work." Rick Santorum said it's not enough. Households most harmed had no say. Opposition Democrats plan coming on board post-election. So does Obama with precise cuts to be agreed on then. For now, Senate Democrats will block Ryan's plan. Post-election, they'll go along.
Capitalism's Cancer Stage
What's ongoing fits John McMurtry's explanation of capitalism's cancer stage. He calls it "a world-system disorder which becomes cumulatively worse the longer it is unrecognised."
Cancer's defining nature is it "advances when not recognised by its life-host." Its a mutant degenerate system. It's evident in many ways. Ryan's budget proposal is symptomatic. The problem's much greater.
Predatory capitalism's a "contagion" model. Its victims spread the disease. "No distinction is ever made between destructive and productive capital sequences. 'Contagion' conceals every moment of the cancer system at work."
Victims are blamed for what predators cause. Few explain how Wall Street hijacked "government's constitutional money-and-credit issue to speculate and debt-enslave others at endless costs for them and equally endless growing riches of the big banks."
Ordinary people are scammed. They're deprived of their rights. At the same time, Wall Street, other major financial interests, and corporate favorites are licensed to steal.
"The inner logic is very simple. The people must pay for the money-sequence cancer growth, and so more public wealth and individual savings must be taken away to do so. The principal mechanism is debt multiplication of governments and individuals managed by private banks' issuing longterm compounding debts without the money to back the loans."
Government, major financial interests, and other corporate giants partner for self-enrichment at the public's expense. In the process, communities and national economies are destroyed. Predators profit on their road to ruin. Political Washington goes along.
"As in any cancer system, the life host is increasingly plundered, but the cancer is masked from immune recognition or response."
Ryan and others like him serve wealth and power only. Hollowing out America and most households in it makes them richer and more able to plunder grab all they can, then move on to new hosts or pillage many simultaneously.
It's not surprising that cancer became epidemic under capitalism. It thrives on illness and deplores good health.
"Yet once (it) become(s) aggressively invasive, (it's) the blocked out by the life host at every turn on the social as well as individual plane. That is how the cancer system spreads, masking itself every move at both levels. Uncontrolled money-sequence multiplication and invasive growth into organic, social and ecological life-hosts is undeniable once the dots are joined."
Suggesting it is taboo. Media scoundrels say nothing. Disease proliferates. Greed is its genesis. Political Washington's on board facilitating it. Reelection and self-enrichment's their motive.
Ryan's a willing agent, a capitalist tool. So are most others in Congress and all presidents. The end game's predictable. America's heading for banana republic harshness, tyranny and ruin. Along the way, ordinary people are being trampled.
The cancer system's at fault. A disproportionate number of America's privileged share wealth and power. Ordinary people are exploited. Profits are privatized, debt socialized. Working households and future generations bear it.
Criminals run a kleptocracy. It's corrupt, rotten to the core gangsterism. Politicians are in bed with business. Ordinary people haven't a chance. Personal freedoms and other democratic values are illusions. What's left after corporate crooks grab everything and bribe Congress and presidents to go along.
Money power runs America. Political Washington's complicit letting it. Its criminal class is bipartisan. What can't go on forever, won't, but until then will transfer maximum wealth one way to those already with too much.
McMurtry's "cancer system" explains it. This one's likely to destroy itself along with its host, and maybe humanity in the process.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.