House Republicans have voted three times to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts -- a move that would blow a $3.8 trillion hole in the budget over the next decade. In fact, the Ryan budget -- twice approved by the House -- goes even further, doling out another $2.5 trillion to the wealthiest Americans by reducing the tax rate on top earners from 35 to just 25 percent, lowering the corporate rate to 25 percent, and ending the alternative minimum tax, a safeguard against tax cheats.
Romney, in fact, wants to give away even more to the rich than Republicans in the House by permanently eliminating the estate tax -- a proposal that alarms veterans of the first Bush administration: "Given the vast amounts of wealth that have accumulated at the very, very, very top, it's an odd time to be eliminating this most progressive element of the tax system," says Michael Graetz, a former deputy assistant Treasury secretary under Bush. Over a decade, Romney's gift to the nation's most fortunate families would allow their heirs to pocket at least $1 trillion (including up to $50 million for Mitt's own heirs), all at the expense of the rest of America -- which means that those without family fortunes would see their taxes soar. Independent tax groups have concluded that the only way to replace the tax revenue lost by the proposed Ryan and Romney tax cuts would be to end tax breaks (like the one for home-mortgage interest) that directly benefit the middle class. And the poor would get the shaft as well: The Ryan budget slashes the Child Tax Credit, meaning that a single mother of two earning the minimum wage would watch her annual tax bill rise by more than $1,500.
If signed into law by President Romney, the Ryan budget would slash spending on college tuition grants by 42% next year and kick 1 million students out of the program. It would also gut funding for public schools, food and drug safety, basic science research, law enforcement and low-income housing. The cuts to food stamps alone would total $134 billion over the next decade. Ripping Ryan for trying to cloak his budget in Catholic doctrine, priests and faculty from Georgetown University wrote, "Your budget appears to reflect the values of your favorite philosopher, Ayn Rand, rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ."
There is one place, however, where Republicans want to increase spending: Under the most recent Ryan budget, the Pentagon would receive an extra $29 billion a year, thereby reversing Obama's modest efforts to slow the growth of defense spending.
Where Would the Extra Cash Come From?
In May, the House approved a Ryan bill to replace automatic cuts to the Pentagon under the debt-ceiling agreement with $261 billion in cuts to the federal safety net. This measure would deny food stamps to 1.8 million low-wage Americans, leave 280,000 kids without school lunches and cut off health care to 300,000 children living beneath the poverty line.
Cripple Health Care So As to Provide Massive Givebacks to the Rich