Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) said Monday, "The S&P report underscores the need for immediate reforms to ensure America's fiscal health. Republicans will not move forward on a measure to raise the country's debt ceiling unless it is accompanied by serious reforms that immediately reduce federal spending and end the culture of debt in Washington."
As this was going on, the so-called Gang of Six -- Democrats Mark Warner (Va), Dick Durbin (Ill) and Kent Conrad (ND), and Republicans Saxby Chambliss (Ga), Mike Crapo (Idaho), and Tom Coburn (OK) say they are close to a deal on the budget. Senator Warner says, "We are very close. We have been working for months on a plan that takes on entitlement reforms, tax code, and puts us back on a path toward fiscal sustainability and recognizes that we need to still grow the economy."
Then you have Rep. Paul Ryan and his supporters. It seems when the Congressman worked with the Bush Administration, he believed the budget was not a problem. He went so far as to say it wasn't big enough. As a Junior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Ryan said, "It's not big enough to fit all the policy we want." Of course, that was when George Bush was cutting the taxes for the rich and Ryan, being the hypocrite he is, wanted the debt ceiling raised. What caused the change of mind? President Obama and a change of parties in the White House, of course.
Ryan is all for cutting taxes on the rich, regardless of the deficit. But now, his whole agenda is taking entitlements away from the poor to lower the deficit and still give the rich the Bush tax cuts. If you agree with Ryan, then you must believe in:
(a) denying health insurance to more than 30 million people;
(b) raising the Medicare eligibility age and transforming the program into a voucher scheme, thereby leaving millions of seniors struggling to pay their medical bills;
(c) terminating the federal government's open-ended commitment to Medicaid, thereby forcing states to cut back on enrollment, benefits, or (more likely) both;
(d) enacting yet another huge new tax cut for the extremely wealthy.
This country by some estimates is finally seeing some sunlight with the economy. While at a slower pace than anyone would want, the job market is slowly coming around. If Rep. Ryan's budget is even considered, much less passed, it will take this country back to before FDR and the New Deal. States will be in charge of Medicare and Medicaid, and most health decisions for the poor and elderly in this country. As the conservatives have shown time and time again, they care for the rich, while leaving the poor to their own devices.
Let's hope some sanity will be included in all the budget deals that are being floated around.