Friday, March 30, 2012

GOP "cruelty" revisited, and redoubled

if your budget passes, thousands of poor people are going to suffer because of your Medicaid cuts. I will never sign your Medicaid cuts. I don't care if I go down to five percent in the polls. If you want your budget passed, you're going to have to put someone else in this chair.

Bill Clinton to Dick Armey, 1995 (in Joe Klein, The Natural, p. 148)
What's different today? Republican budgets are crueler and crazier; the Ryan budget, passed by the House yesterday, makes the proposed cuts of 1995 look like a beard trim.  Gingrich & co. wanted to cut $182 billion out of Medicaid over ten years; Ryan would cut $810 billion out of the existing program by 2022 and eliminate the (fully funded) $1.6 trillion ten-year expansion mandated by the ACA.  Similar Draconian cuts are scheduled for food stamps, housing assistance, job training and Pell grants. And as a Times editorial outlining these cuts today emphasizes, if the Republicans get their someone else in that chair, he will be no bulwark:
In all, 62 percent of the budget’s cuts come from low-income programs, and that’s on top of the substantial cut in spending already in place from last year. But the Ryan budget does contain a substantial tax cut for the rich, which is one of the reasons Mr. Romney said he was “very supportive” of the plan.
“It’s a bold and exciting effort,” he said, “and it’s very much consistent with what I put out earlier.” It is also consistent with his stated lack of concern for the very poor.
If memory serves, btw, in the Stephanopolous version of that Clinton-Armey exchange, Clinton says of the proposed Medicaid cuts, "they're cruel."  Perhaps that was back-of-mind in the titling of the Times editorial, "A Cruel Budget."  But then, what other word is there?

See also: Why Obama can't entirely channel Bill Clinton circa 1995


  1. Check your numbers.

    I don't think Gingrich wanted to cut "182 dollars", nor do I believe Ryan is cutting "810 *Trillion*" dollars.

  2. Thanks, anon - numbers fixed.

  3. Cuz we can continue to subsidize 50% of the population who dont work or didnt plan for their retirement appropriately for how much longer? I'm sure you're happy to hand over all your money to those who are simply lazy or "ignorant". That'll last maybe what another year before everyone says F it I want some cheese and joins the ranks of the loser population and soon there won't be any tax revenue and we'll all just be poor worthless scum right. That's an awesome plan! Utopia doesn't exist get over your pipe dreams you can crackheads and contribute to society, that's a true utopian dream.

    1. Yeah everyone's on welfare or food stamps cause they're lazy. Go ahead and quit your job so you can make 300 a week on welfare, sounds like a great plan stupid.

    2. The problem lies not with the programs themselves but how they are implemented. There is no incentive at all for people to get out of whatever rut that got them into the position in the first place. There are people who just plain don't want to be independent but they are not the majority. People who are on medicaid for example simply cannot afford private health insurance and most private insurers won't touch people above a certain age or have pre-existing conditions. Medicaid and Medicare are not much better than no insurance at all and are extremely limited.

      That is just one example of many legitimate reasons for these programs. Programs like temporary cash assistance, unemployment, food stamps, hud and chip are all needed for poorer families and recently unemployed to maintain a reasonable standard of living even if that standard is low. The way these programs are implemented however do little or nothing about actually helping the people on them to get back on their feet and into a position where they can shed their dependance of those programs.

      I was on unemployment and food stamps, my children had health coverage through the chip program. I would not have been able to afford to keep them or myself fed or even healthy without those programs. I would not have had the chance to get back on my feet without those programs. I am grateful to them for helping keep me free to find new work but those same programs did little to aid me in finding a job or skill training for a different field of work.

      To give an example, unemployment only requires that you say you are looking for work and almost never ask to see the actual applications or contact information. They do have a job placement program available but it is buried and hidden and almost impossible to find. It is not advertised and most social workers wont even bother mentioning programs like it if they exist. The problem with that is that if you have no idea there is a program to help you become less dependent on social programs then how do you find them if not shear luck or knowing someone who happened to read about it in a news article? You don't have much chance. Couple this with growing unemployment means there are hundred of other people competing for any and every job opening reducing your chances of getting hired. Do not forget that the longer a person remains unemployed the less desirable they are to a prospective employer. Employers don't like to see long periods of joblessness even during recessions, they see it as not a lack of luck or opportunity but as lack of incentive.

      It is easy to become jaded and lethargic after so long. Some people just give up and find ways to remain on those programs that were originally designed to help them get back on their feet. The programs should not be cut, they need to be reformed so that they may more effectively perform their originally intended functions.