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Editorial: Not buying Ryan’s budget

What does it say that Rep. Paul Ryan, the budget guru for the Republican-controlled U.S. House, keeps trying to sell the nation on a spending plan that would leave many Americans — too many Americans — out in the cold?

Is he a principled fiscal conservative with a honest concern for the country’s financial future? Or is he a combination of the worst parts of the Scrooges, be they Ebenezer or McDuck, whose love of money blinds them to misery and need?

Perhaps he’s just the most prominent disciple of an economic theory that espouses the principle that you can cut yourself to prosperity.

Whatever else the congressman from Wisconsin may be, one thing for sure is that he’s wrong.

Ryan’s 2015 budget proposal seeks to reduce the amount of money the federal government allocates to the programs and services that make up the nation’s safety net. Wade into details of what Ryan wants and you will find cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and a host of other programs that can make the difference between survival and misery.

His “plan” would also repeal the federal health coverage effort that has become known as Obamacare, despite the fact that every reputable statistic shows that it’s meeting its goals and making a real difference in millions of Americans’ lives.

But Ryan’s tinkering doesn’t end with cuts. For example, he wants to turn the federal program that guarantees health coverage for seniors and Americans with disabilities — Medicare — into a voucher system. Other programs would be turned into block grants that would be handed to the states to administer.

Ryan also seeks significant spending reductions for college loan programs and transportation.

And while Ryan isn’t trying to privatize Social Security — a plan he has espoused in the past — he nevertheless opts for cuts.

The big picture here is that Ryan’s plan would slash nondefense spending to $791 billion — less than the levels set by the 2011 Budget Control Act — over a 10-year period.

Continuing his theme, Ryan wants to reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, because this, in his view, would be the boost to the economy that will lift all Americans.

Ryan’s new budget plan isn’t much different from what he has previously proposed, in that the poor, disadvantaged and middle class would bear the brunt of any cuts. As Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md — the ranking Democrat on the budget committee — put it, “Budgets are about choices, and if you look at the Republican budget, it chooses to rig the rules of the game in the favor of the very wealthy.”

What this says about Ryan is that he’s again trying to put lipstick on a pig — an ugly, elitist swine.

We’re not about to buy it.

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