Following President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) certainly voiced what many are thinking: we are at a perilous place with our national debt and we need to deal with it responsibly. He and I have different ideas of what constitutes responsible action.
Mr. Ryan said that, “…the President’s [healthcare] law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy.” Where on earth did he get that idea? The non-partisan, respected-by-all-sides national number-crunchers (the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation) have estimated “…that enacting both pieces of legislation [that make up the health-care law] will produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010-2019 period.” And it will do this while simultaneously, “…reducing the number of non-elderly people who are uninsured by about 32 million, leaving about 23 million non-elderly residents uninsured” (http://www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/health.cfm). So we decrease the deficit while also reaching out and helping 32 million of our fellow Americans. I gotta say, that hardly sounds like accelerating the country towards bankruptcy.
Mr. Ryan said of our national debt that, “… we must, as Americans, confront it responsibly.” Now in December the Republicans voted to add $690 billion to our national debt over the next 10 years by allowing the wealthiest 2% of Americans to continue to enjoy the tax break the Bush administration gave them. Remember that in promoting those tax roll-backs, Bush promised that a decrease in taxes, “… will create new jobs…will generate new wealth…will open new opportunities.”
Well, how did all that tax-relief-creating-jobs stuff work out for ya? I think we all know the answer.
In the six years before the tax decreases, real income in the median American household grew 14.7%. In the six years following them, it grew 1.6%. The Bush tax cuts have added $2.5 trillion to our national debt thus far. This makes me think that Mr. Ryan and his colleagues don’t know what they are talking about. How is adding $690 billion to the debt responsible?
Implementing the health-care law and returning tax rates for our most wealthy citizens to where they were when Bush took office would cut our debt by almost $1 trillion over the next decade. This is a responsible way to work toward debt reduction. If Mr. Ryan gets his way, who will pay for that $1 trillion of debt? I imagine anyone except him, his colleagues and his donors.
La Cañada Flintridge