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The Ryan Budget: Been There, Didn't Do That

March 13, 2013 11:07 am ET
As economists, think tanks, pundits, and the rest of the political world react to the Republican budget, GOP leaders in Congress are pushing hard to sell it to the American public. Here's how to make it toxic.

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CORE MESSAGE

More of the same in the Republican budget: working families pay more so the rich pay less.

Connect: If you want to know a politician's values and priorities, look at his budget plan for the country.

Define: More of the same in the Republican budget: working families pay more so the rich pay less.

Illustrate: The GOP budget's European austerity would lay off 2 million Americans next year alone, but let corporations pay even lower taxes. It would end Medicare as we know it so millionaires and Big Oil can get more tax breaks.

Discredit: It's simple math -- the numbers don't add up unless the middle class pays for the GOP budget's tax giveaways to millionaires, oil companies, and corporations that ship jobs overseas.

Contrast: Leaders who've got their priorities straight are proposing to have the rich pay their fair share and close corporate tax loopholes so we can put Americans back to work.

Expose: There they go again -- Republican leaders in Congress still proposing the same budget ideas that the American people keep rejecting. Been there, didn't do that.


ATTACKS AND RESPONSES

CLAIM: "The GOP plan balances the budget in 10 years."
RESPONSE:

  • There's a reason why Congressman Ryan says "the most important question isn't how we balance the budget." He doesn't want to talk about how. For the numbers to add up, the GOP budget has to either massively raise taxes on the middle class or massively add to the debt.
  • That's because Republicans in Congress are proposing to let wealthy people and big corporations pay far lower tax rates than they do now, which means everyone else has to make up the difference. It's simple math.
  • So Republicans in Congress are again trying to meet their budget goals by waging class warfare on the middle class -- and even then their budget still won't balance without fantasy assumptions.


ATTACK: "Washington owes the American people a balanced budget."
RESPONSE:

  • There's no question that the American people are demanding fiscal responsibility from our leaders in Washington.
  • But for Republicans in Congress, a balanced budget is just a sound bite that only sounds nice -- coming from politicians who have no credibility on fiscal responsibility.
  • The GOP budget would mean massive cuts to the things we need but more tax giveaways for the wealthy -- paid for in part by laying off 2 million Americans next year alone. Making high unemployment worse makes it harder to deal with the deficit, too.
  • Let's cut waste, not jobs. Cut what we don't need like corporate tax loopholes, outdated Pentagon pork our military leaders don't want, and wasteful subsidies for Big Oil and drug companies -- so we can protect the things we do need.


ATTACK: "The sequester cuts are modest -- only a tiny percentage cut in the government's rate of growth."
RESPONSE:

  • How powerful leaders treat ordinary people says a lot about their values and priorities.So no surprise that GOP leaders in Congress are dismissing 750,000 Americans laid off this year as "a pittance."
  • Here's what the massive cuts they're downplaying mean to ordinary people: delays for business owners trying to move their goods, fewer teachers at our schools, fewer first responders, setbacks to lifesaving medical research.
  • Sure, these cuts are not a big deal if you're a politician who only cares about donors who write the campaign checks -- instead of your constituents living paycheck to paycheck.
  • It's like they think we can run the biggest and most complex economy in the world on the cheap. They might as well cut off your leg and expect you to run a marathon, because after all, a leg is only a small percentage of your body weight.


CLAIM: "The GOP budget protects and strengthens Medicare."
RESPONSE:

  • After a lifetime of hard work, Americans deserve to expect that Medicare will continue to guarantee their health coverage for life. But Congressional Republicans' idea of protecting and strengthening Medicare is ending Medicare as we know it.
  • That's because the Republican budget would replace Medicare with a little voucher and make seniors go fight the private insurance companies on their own.
  • When Medicare is a leader in controlling health care costs and private insurers follow its lead, ending Medicare doesn't just mean higher costs for seniors. It means higher costs for everyone.


ATTACK: "We should block grant the Medicaid and food stamps programs."
RESPONSE:

  • When Congressional Republicans talk about turning programs into "block grants," they're using Washington-speak for slashing funding and washing their hands of them altogether.
  • That means Republicans in Congress are trying to end Medicaid and food stamps as we know them, not just Medicare.
  • So rather than asking the wealthy to pay their fair share, Republicans in Congress want to put all the burden on struggling families -- along with our children, seniors, working parents, the men and women who keep our country running.
  • If you want to know a politician's values and priorities, look at his budget plan for the country. No wonder faith leaders have condemned the Ryan budget as "immoral" and "counter to our values."


ATTACK: "Refusing to tackle the drivers of the nation's debt is why Washington lurches from crisis to crisis."
RESPONSE:

  • Washington keeps lurching from crisis to crisis because Republicans in Congress keep manufacturing new crisis after crisis just to score political points.
  • Just look at their default threats -- their refusal to pay our nation's bills unless they got their way would've tanked the global economy. That's why their brinksmanship brought the country's first credit downgrade.
  • That's no way to govern. We need leaders who are committed to running a government for and by the people -- not breaking government just to score political points.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • The House Republicans' fiscal year 2014 budget resolution would lay off 2 million Americans next year alone and slow economic growth by drastically cutting money out of the economy.
  • Their budget proposes tax cuts worth $7 trillion mostly benefiting the wealthy, such as a nearly 40% reduction in the top federal income tax rate for the rich (from 39.6% to 25%).
  • The GOP budget would lower the top corporate income tax rate to 25%, which would provide a tax break worth more than $1 trillion.
  • Not only would the Republican budget protect a decade's worth of tax breaks totaling $40 billion for the oil and gas industry, it would give the five biggest oil companies additional tax cuts worth at least $2.3 billion a year.
  • Contrary to their claims, the GOP budget won't balance in 10 years without fantasy assumptions -- like a $7 trillion tax hole they don't explain how they would fill, unrealistic cuts to funding for running our country that take it to its lowest level ever in modern history, and their refusal to ask the wealthy and big corporations to pay their fair share.
  • The Republican budget would leave over 40 to 50 million more Americans without health insurance and make it easier for private insurers to rip off everyone else.
  • Other programs on the chopping block under the Ryan budget include Pell grants, school lunches, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Child Tax Credit -- even as the wealthy enjoy new special tax breaks. As experts have summed up, the GOP budget would constitute the largest redistribution of income from regular people to the richest few in modern U.S. history.
  • In contrast, today the Congressional Progressive Caucus is releasing the "Back to Work" budget that will create 7 million jobs, lower the unemployment rate to nearly 5%, and reduce the deficit by $4.4 trillion over ten years, while Senate Democratic leaders are preparing a budget that would dramatically close corporate loopholes and make the wealthy to pay their fair share.
 We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


 


Posted in - Budget - Taxes - Economy - Seniors - Poverty - Jobs

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