Well, they did it again, passing yet another radical budget plan from Rep. Paul Ryan, this one cutting $4.6 trillion over the next ten years, turns Medicare into a voucher system and repeals Obamacare. Every Democrat, along with 10 Republicans, voted no in a 221-207 vote.
Robert Reich breaks down the Romney-Ryan economic plan into 5 measures that all spell disaster for America.
1. More unemployment through austerity measures.
2. Taking from the poor to give to the rich. Higher federal taxes on lower income taxpayers, slashing medicaid, food stamps, and children's health care in order to give up to a $500k tax cut to millionaires and billionaires.
3. Turns Medicare into vouchers that won't keep up with the rising cost of health care and shifting the burden onto seniors, ending their guaranteed health care, and leaving them at the mercy of private insurers. By contrast, Obama's Affordable Care Act saves money on Medicare by reducing payments to providers such as hospitals and drug companies.
4. Add money to defense spending. The plan would add money to defense spending while cutting spending on education, infrastructure, and basic research and development.
5. Debt: The Romney-Ryan budget doesn't even reduce the federal budget deficit. While adding to military spending, giving tax cuts to the rich, and stifling economic growth by cutting spending too early, the plan would push public debt to over 175% by 2050.
No wonder Mitt Romney doesn't want to talk about his budget until after the election!
A new report before the "official" report on poverty in the U.S. is released gives a heads-up on what we can expect to be revealed. Yes, poverty is on track to reach levels not since before Lyndon Johnson's "war on poverty" in 1964.
Peter Edelman, director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy spells out in this report exactly what's pushing the poverty rate ever higher; globalization, automation, outsourcing, immigration, and less unionization.
The Associated Press surveyed more than a dozen economists, think tanks and academics, both nonpartisan and those with known liberal or conservative leanings, and found a broad consensus: The official poverty rate will rise from 15.1 percent in 2010, climbing as high as 15.7 percent. Several predicted a more modest gain, but even a 0.1 percentage point increase would put poverty at the highest level since 1965.
[...] Millions could fall through the cracks as government aid from unemployment insurance, Medicaid, welfare and food stamps diminishes.
"The issues aren't just with public benefits. We have some deep problems in the economy," said Peter Edelman, director of the Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy.
He pointed to the recent recession but also longer-term changes in the economy such as globalization, automation, outsourcing, immigration, and less unionization that have pushed median household income lower. Even after strong economic growth in the 1990s, poverty never fell below a 1973 low of 11.1 percent. That low point came after President Lyndon Johnson's war on poverty, launched in 1964, that created Medicaid, Medicare and other social welfare programs.
One item not mentioned as an issue in the economy is the absolute greed of the wealthy corporations and CEOs. Take for example the Caterpillar Corporation seeking steep concessions from its workers even when business is booming.
Then there are the corporate raiders whose greed, and cruelty, know no bounds. Take Mitt Romney's Bain Capital, for example:
I don't think it's my imagination that the wealthier these greedy corporations become, the deeper into poverty the rest of us fall.
A group of nuns led by Sister Simone Campbell is driving from the small towns of the Midwest to the urban centers of the East to protest the House Republican budget authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Yesterday, they brought their message to Ryan’s door, visiting the congressman’s office in his home town of Janesville, Wisconsin. There, Sister Simone spoke with members of Ryan’s staff and greeted supporters gathered outside.
Ryan was in Washington at the time, but issued this statement defending his budget plan: “Economic stagnation, and a growing dependency on government assistance, continues to push this country toward a debt crisis, in which those who get hurt the first and the worst are the poor, the sick and the elderly, the people who need government the most.”
To find out where the nuns are heading next and see how the Ryan budget would affect constituents in each state they pass through, check out the interactive map of their trip.
Squeezed by rising living costs, a record number of Americans - nearly 1 in 2 - have fallen into poverty or are scraping by on earnings that classify them as low income.
The latest census data depict a middle class that's shrinking as unemployment stays high and the government's safety net frays. The new numbers follow years of stagnating wages for the middle class that have hurt millions of workers and families.
"Safety net programs such as food stamps and tax credits kept poverty from rising even higher in 2010, but for many low-income families with work-related and medical expenses, they are considered too `rich' to qualify," said Sheldon Danziger, a University of Michigan public policy professor who specializes in poverty.
"The reality is that prospects for the poor and the near poor are dismal," he said. "If Congress and the states make further cuts, we can expect the number of poor and low-income families to rise for the next several years."
I really, really don't like to be the bearer of bad news. You can do something about this growing income disparity...Occupy!