For each of the past two years, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) released budgets filled with giveaways to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else. Those hoping that his fiscal year 2014 budget would be different were disappointed this week. Like his FY 2013 budget, Rep. Ryan’s latest budget offers huge tax cuts to the wealthy while proposing to cut down the safety net that supports the most vulnerable among us.
The budget aims to balance the national debt within a 10-year period, but since Rep. Ryan’s plan includes no new revenue increases, the debt will have to be reduced by cuts to nondefense discretionary spending instead. Based on projections provided last August by the Congressional Budget Office, meeting the 10-year timeline without any revenue increases would require a reduction of 20 percent of federal spending, or $5.7 trillion, over the next decade. The budget’s austerity would bring down the share of nondefense discretionary spending to just 2.1 percent of U.S. gross domestic product by 2023—one-third lower than it has ever been in modern history. While Rep. Ryan forcefully speaks of the impending “pain” of a fiscal crisis if we do not control our debt, the huge cuts that define his plan simply shift this pain onto low-income communities and communities of color.
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