Monday, April 18, 2011

Opinion: The Federal Budget: Who is Watching Out for the Average American?

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, attending a Tea Party rally in Miami, took some shots at President Barak Obama, claiming that his speech earlier this week to outline his budget plan was nothing more that a campaign speech.

"The president the other day didn't offer a budget, he offered a speech, a partisan speech, it was a campaign speech," Rubio said. "He has to lead. These generational issues that our country faces can't be solved unless the president leads and he doesn't want to lead, he'd rather get re-elected than solve our problems, and I think that's a mistake," Rubio added.

These comments came on the heels of a proposal, offered by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), that would cut trillions from the federal debt over the next decade and transform Medicare from a government-run program into a voucher-like system where the government subsidizes purchases of private insurance plans. People aged 55 years and older would remain in the current system, but younger people would begin receiving subsidies that steadily lose value over time.

But the White House stood by its claim that the proposal guts Medicare. “The House Republican plan places the burden of debt reduction on those who can least afford it, ends Medicare as we know it, and doubles health care costs for seniors in order to pay for more than a trillion dollars in tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement released after the bill cleared the House.

The bill passed the Republican controlled House almost exclusively on party lines, with no Democrat voting for the bill and only 4 Republicans voting against it. The bill however, is very unlikely to pass in the Democrat controlled Senate.

According the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Ryan's budget plan proposes $4.3 trillion in cuts to programs for the needy on one hand and then gives $4.2 trillion in tax cuts to the wealthy with the other.

Can someone please tell me what we are trying to accomplish here?

Once again, we are seeing extreme reactions to issues being proposed on both sides. It appears to me that this proposal is an attempt to break the backs of the lower and middle class and the elderly, while once again, giving the majority of the tax breaks to the wealthy under the guise of stimulating economic growth.

There appears to be no fairness in our politics any longer. Are we not supposed to assist those who are less fortunate than ourselves? Should not a reasonable quality of life be a guarantee in the United States. This is not a question of Republican or Democrat, but a question of humanity and compassion.

The budget proposal by Representative Ryan attempts to take one massive swing at cutting the federal deficit. This budget shortfall was created over many years, and reducing it should be done deliberately, but also with fairness and commonsense. Hurting those that most need the help is not the way to do it. In this economic climate we are finding people living below the poverty level or even on the streets that several years ago had good paying jobs and homes and paid taxes. I am by no means saying that there aren’t those that abuse the system, but there are millions of people that truly need the help. I would guess that the majority of us have a grandparent or parent, that without Medicare, couldn’t even afford the most basic of healthcare or we have a friend or loved one that has been unemployed and is barely able to get by, if they are able to get by on their unemployment benefits..

Example after example could be found across this great country of ours to highlight what is wrong with Representative Ryan’s plan.

If you think Senator Rubio’s comments regarding Presiden Obama’s budget plan are true, in that it was merely a campaign speech, I would contend that Rep. Ryan’s budget plan does nothing more than cater to the Tea Party and other fringe extremist conservative groups that demand massive budget cuts at the expense of the majority of Americans.

I do believe that the President, as Senator Rubio stated, should be taking the lead on this issue and working toward a budget that begins to reduce the deficit, but in a fair, practical, commonsense way.

I say enough of the political posturing and extremist propositions. Lets do what is right for America, not just wealthy Americans, but all Americans.

What do you think?

Article first published as The Federal Budget: Who is Watching Out for the Average American? on Blogcritics.