Last Thursday, a proposed budget plan crafted by U.S. Rep Paul Ryan (R – Wisc.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, was approved by the House of Representatives. In a mostly party line vote, the plan passed 228-191. Though the plan will likely be voted down by the Democrat-controlled Senate, Ryan’s proposed budget, which empowers the already wealthy, lays out plans that could hurt lower income citizens. Congress must craft a federal budget that will be suitable for all economic backgrounds, and Republicans and Democrats must come to an agreement on the country’s fiscal situation.
Ryan’s plan, called “The Path to Prosperity: A Blueprint for American Renewal” largely focuses on spending cuts. It will lower the discretionary spending cap from $1.047 trillion to $1.028 trillion in the 2013 fiscal year, basically reducing the amount of debt our country can have. While this reduction may seem like a good thing at first glance, it’s important to dig into the details of the plan.
Ryan’s budget calls for an end to the Medicare guarantee for senior citizens. Current seniors who have planned and budgeted their lives around receiving Medicare will continue to receive the help. However, those citizens not of senior status will not be granted the automatic health care. Instead, they will be given options as they are planning for retirement, one of which include a “fee-for-service traditional option within a premium support system,” as stated by Ryan. All Americans are entitled to Medicare, as they have dedicated their lives to careers within our nation. Cutting Medicare may reduce the budget deficit, but it will come at the cost of some senior’s lives.
The plan calls for six independent advisory panels that will determine places that the budget can be cut to reduce the overall deficit. These panels will make cuts respective to their committee and hopefully, achieve these lofty goals. But many of the numbers outlined in the plan could be unattainable, and these panel members may be pressured to make harmful cuts. It’s important to realize the benefits and drawbacks of spending cuts. If the cut has the potential to influence or hurt thousands of people, it shouldn’t be made under any circumstance.
The “Path to Prosperity” also includes tax breaks for the wealthy. The plan will reduce the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, while also ending the alternative minimum tax credit. Our country currently has six different federal tax brackets, and the proposed plan would reduce those groupings to just two brackets with rates of 10 and 25 percent. These tax reforms are expected to raise $2.73 trillion in tax revenue in 2013. If the taxes for the wealthy are being cut, it’s the middle and lower class individuals who will pay the high price for this revenue, even though they’re in the worst position to pay the extra taxes.
A new budget plan needs to be created, but not one that has the potential to hurt millions of middle and lower class Americans. Republicans and Democrats need to craft a legitimate proposal that would appease both sides instead of creating partisan budgets.