Washington, D.C.—Today, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled his budget blueprint for FY 2012, a proposal that would grow the ranks of the jobless, exacerbate poverty and inequality, and stifle our fragile economic recovery. Among the most radical elements of the GOP budget is the proposal to slash the Medicaid, end Medicare as we know it, cut SNAP (food stamp benefits), and to impose further harsh cuts on programs assisting Americans struggling to make ends meet.
“The Ryan budget asks those with the least to sacrifice the most,” said Melissa Boteach, manager of Half in Ten, a campaign to cut U.S. poverty in half in ten years. “Harsh restrictions to Medicaid would cut off millions of low-income, elderly, and disabled Americans from access to health care, shift additional cost burdens to cash-strapped states, and cost our country millions of jobs over the next 10 years. The Medicaid cuts will keep millions mired in poverty; unfortunately, by eliminating Medicare as we know it the budget will push millions more Americans into poverty in the years to come.”
While the budget proposes approximately $1 trillion in Medicaid cuts over 10 years, it does not propose to reduce the deficit with even one additional dollar of revenue from the wealthiest people in the country- in fact it cuts their taxes. “A budget is a statement of priorities,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a Half in Ten partner. “And this budget prioritizes tax incentives and cuts for the wealthiest one percent of Americans over programs that create and sustain broadly shared prosperity.”
“There are alternatives to balancing the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable,” said Winnie Stachelberg, Senior Vice President of External Affairs at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a Half in Ten partner. “It’s unconscionable to cut low-income, elderly and disabled Americans off healthcare, while proposing new tax cuts for millionaires."
The budget also proposes radical changes to affordable housing and nutrition programs that would limit the ability of struggling families to access basic services when they fall on hard times.
The proposal comes as discussions continue on funding for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which runs through September 2011. “These cuts to Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps) come at the same time that the GOP is slashing investments in education, energy assistance, Head Start, and job training,” said Deborah Weinstein, executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs, a Half in Ten partner. “By slashing the safety net and simultaneously weakening ladders out of poverty such as job training and early education, the GOP budget will exacerbate inequality and undermine opportunity for all.”
Click here to learn more about the Half in Ten Campaign.