Republicans were quick to denounce President Barack Obama's deficit reduction strategy because it lacked any plan to systematically hand Medicare money to private insurance companies while killing off older Americans by blocking their access to health care. Republicans were further incensed by Obama's call to eliminate some tax subsidies for the wealthy.
The President's deficit plan called for cutting $4 trillion from the nation's debt over twelve years. Obama's plan would seek Medicare and Medicaid savings through greater efficiency, cut an additional $400 billion from defense spending, and let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for the wealthiest Americans.
The Republicans contend their 2012 Budget proposal, put forth last week by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), is much better than the President's plan, because it features a concrete scheme to exterminate older Americans while enriching insurance companies, and gives the nation's millionaires and billionaires an additional 10% tax cut to help pay for expensive lawyers, lobbyists, and rigged elections, as well as to cover the skyrocketing cost of mega-yachts.
Ryan and the Republicans want to dismantle Medicare by changing it from a system that pays seniors' medical bills to one that gives seniors coupons to pay a portion of private insurance bought on the open market. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that, by 2030, Ryan's coupons would cover less than a third of the cost of premiums, deductibles, co-pays, and other expenses.
"I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program," the President said. Republicans were quick to dismiss the President as making a "campaign speech" and decried his refusal to embrace their scheme to give Medicare funds to private for-profit corporations and pawn off seniors with a 30% off coupon that will be completely inadequate to cover medical needs and condemn millions to misery and early death.
Obama Wednesday unveiled his deficit-reduction plan before a George Washington University audience. He characterized the Republican deficit-reduction plan as not being a serious effort at reducing debt. "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillions dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires," Obama said. The crowd cheered.
The President only proposed the most modest tax reforms, however. His plan aims to reduce the debt with $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes, leaving the ultra-wealthy top 20% of Americans who own 85% of all the nation's wealth very well-heeled indeed.
Even Obama's modest proposals enraged Republicans, who crave laying ever-greater tax subsidies before their plutocrat overlords while tormenting Americans as much as possible.
"What we heard today was not fiscal leadership," Ryan said, dismissing a Presidential plan that didn't lavish more tax breaks on his wealthy cronies and failed to cut seniors off from medical care. Ryan favored his own plan, which coddles the rich with 30% off coupons for medical services they intended to pay cash for anyway, while condemning to death all others who could not afford to pay cash for the remaining 70% balance. "Exploiting people's emotions of fear...it's not hope, it's not change," Ryan derided, apparently taunting seniors who could not afford hospitals and would die horribly and painfully while their loved ones watched in anguish and misery.
President Obama's plan falls far short of revenue reform that would give the big tax breaks to the bottom 60% of Americans, who would stimulate the economy by spending the money, and would impose progressive taxes on plutocrats to quickly balance the budget and hinder their ability to use lobbyists and the legal system to impose their will on every aspect of American life. However, allowing the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire would be a step in the right direction.
The President's plan would also close some tax loopholes, and restrict itemized deductions on high earners, along with expiring the Bush tax cuts. The plan includes a trigger that would impose across-the-board cuts if certain deficit-reduction targets are not met by 2014.
The present extension of the Bush tax cuts, which reduced the top tax rate from 39% to 32%, is set to expire at the end of 2012. The President is in a position to veto any attempt to extend those cuts, and has now said he would not allow the cuts to be extended. Congress would need a two-thirds majority to overturn any Obama veto.