HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADERS. AP photo, 02-09-11
Not to belabor the obvious, but does the above photo look like the last stand of Republican white men in suits?
REP. PAUL RYAN. AP photo by J. Scott Applewhite
This morning, Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, presented the Republican budget for 2012. Joining him were a TV screen full of his Republican colleagues on the House Budget Committee. Everyone present, from what I could see on TV, was a white man. With a few exceptions, they are from the Red States, the heartland of America.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the Republican budget would cut government spending by $6.2 trillion over a decade, and sharply cut taxes for the wealthy. The top income tax rate would be reduced from 35 percent to 25 percent. Is the U.S. really broke, or is the U.S. wealthy? You decide.
Here is a list of Republican members of the House Budget Committee. White men in suits from the heartland. Only one female name is on the list.
Many believe the Republican budget is so draconian that it's dead on arrival. I hope so, but the hard line on Medicare, especially, is ominous.
- Paul Ryan, Wisconsin, Chairman
- Scott Garrett, New Jersey
- Mike Simpson, Idaho
- John Campbell, California
- Ken Calvert, California
- Todd Akin, Missouri
- Tom Cole, Oklahoma
- Tom Price, Georgia
- Tom McClintock, California
- Jason Chaffetz, Utah
- Marlin Stutzman, Indiana
- James Lankford, Oklahoma
- Diane Black, Tennessee
- Reid Ribble, Wisconsin
- Bill Flores, Texas
- Mick Mulvaney, South Carolina
- Tim Huelskamp, Kansas
- Todd Young, Indiana
- Justin Amash, Michigan
- Todd Rokita, Indiana
- Frank Guinta, New Hampshire
NOT TO IGNORE THE REPUBLICANS IN THE SENATE. Roger L. Wollenberg photo, 03-31-11
Umm, the photos above, of Republican leaders in the House and Senate, and the list of Republicans on the House Budget Committee . . . Is this what democracy looks like in America, in 2011? (Disclaimer: Many of my friends and relatives are white men. Come to think of it, I am a white man. Hey, I even own two winter suits AND two summer suits, so I am prepared to attend weddings, funerals, and job interviews in all seasons.)
The name of the Republican budget is “Path to Prosperity.” Rep. Ryan says these words, “Path to Prosperity,” with a straight face, without a hint of irony.
Here’s an early analysis of the Republican budget numbers, from the Huffington Post.
Here’s another analysis by Ezra Klein in the Washington Post.
The “Path to Prosperity” runs right over Medicare and Medicaid. At this moment, it appears to me that the Path to Prosperity would effectively destroy Medicare and Medicaid. Maybe that is a good thing. Sometimes, I think, the only way to reform a program or a bureaucracy is to destroy it and start over. But I don’t think that’s what Republicans have in mind. I think Republicans intend to privatize health care for the elderly and the poor. In the name of paying off the debt. (For an earlier post on Republican strategy regarding Social Security, see “Divide and Conquer.”)
Also on the Republican chopping block: education, from Head Start to Pell Grants.
I think Republicans are focused entirely on two things: paying off the public debt, and reducing taxes. Two contradictory goals, but possibly both can be accomplished at the same time, by grinding the middle class and the poor — and the elderly — into the dirt. (Go ahead, accuse me of class warfare. Doesn’t this look like a scorched-earth policy to benefit wealthy America and corporate America?)
Rep. Paul Ryan says the Republican budget will “create jobs.”
SHOW ME THE JOBS. How exactly do you create jobs by slashing spending to the bone, on everything except the Department of Defense?
How do you create jobs when Toyota is shutting down 13 factories in the U.S., and food and gasoline inflation is vacuuming up every spare dollar of discretionary spending? AND the U.S. is fighting three wars in the Middle East.
Oh, yeah. And to show their power, or something, Republicans intend to shut down the U.S. government at the end of the week. Will that create jobs?
– John Hayden