Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ryan's Devastating Vision

The House this week approved the latest budget plan dreamed up by Paul Ryan, on, of course, a party line vote. The plan, if it ever goes anywhere, is supposed to produce a balanced Federal budget in 10 years, the Holy Grail of Republican budget policy. 

Even the Republicans in the 2013 Montana legislature took time out from other pressing matters to send a resolution to Congress pleading for a balanced budget, any misgivings that they may have had about the macroeconomic folly of doing so apparently swept away when Sen. Jason Priest announced, with evident satisfaction, that “Keynes is dead.” *

The good news is that Ryan’s budget isn’t going anywhere. Democrats in the Senate will not even look at it, and everybody knows that. The bad news is that, as USA Today put it in a news report, the budget is “the defining fiscal vision of how the Republican Party would govern.” Here, from an analysis just released by the White House, is what that Republican vision would mean for Montana.

Prescription drug coverage for 10,952 Medicare recipients would be reduced.

1,780 fewer student would receive Pell grants and total Pell grant funding would be reduced by $8.6 million.

Federal Medicaid funding for the state over the next decade would be reduced by $2.04 billion.

Reductions in Title I funding would mean that 60 fewer schools, 5,290 fewer students, and 60 fewer teachers and support staff could be supported. 70 fewer special education teachers would be supported. 530 fewer children would receive Head Start services.

Social Service Block Grants would be reduced by $5.4 million.

170 kids would lose access to child care.

3,000 fewer people would receive Training and Employment Services,

19,300 fewer people would receive Job Search Assistance.

570 fewer families would receive Housing Choice Vouchers.

62 fewer victims of domestic violence would be served by the STOP Violence Against Women Program.

What’s going on here is pretty clear: a headlong rush to balance the budget either by taking it out on the vulnerable folks who don’t vote for Republicans or contribute to their campaigns, or by kicking the Federal deficit problem downstairs to the states and hoping we will solve it.

If that’s what you think constitutes well run government, I guess you should vote Republican in November.

* Priest has a strange and off-putting tendency to personalize his distaste for Keynesian macroeconomics.  A few years ago he referred to Keynes, who was bisexual, as a “big homo.”

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