That’s how Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman, describes the Romney-Ryan budget plan. Those are strong words, yet they seem inadequate to describe the consequences of this plan if it’s ever adopted.
A study by the Joint Economic Committee shows that the Romney-Ryan plan would increase taxes by $1,300 on those who earn $50,000 to $100,000. For those who earn $100,000 to $200,000 it would increase taxes by $2,600. But those who make $500,000 to $1 million would get a check for $35,000, and those who make more than $1 million would get an average of $285,000.
Not only would this plan rob from the poor to give to the rich. It would result in lost jobs, lower salaries and dramatically higher deficits. In fact, research by the Economic Policy Institute suggests that the Romney-Ryan plan, if enacted, would result in unemployment of approximately 11.6 percent by 2014.
Moreover, the cuts intended to decrease our deficits would all come from safety nets, such as Medicaid, food stamps and Pell grants. The Congressional Budget Office found that the Romney-Ryan plan would result in non-defense discretionary spending of just 0.75 of GDP. (For comparison, since the end of World War II, that number has never been less than 8 percent!) That would make it impossible for the government to afford even the most basic functions.
There would not be enough money to maintain infrastructure, protect the environment, inspect meat, regulate pharmaceuticals, educate children, fight crime or staff air traffic control.
But there would be plenty of money for our military. Even though the defense budget now exceeds Cold War levels, the Romney-Ryan plan would actually increase it!
All of this led Forbes magazine to describe the Romney-Ryan plan as “A mistake of Historic Proportions.” In an article for The New Yorker, James Surowiecki summed up the plan this way: “The U.S. does need to get its finances in order,” he wrote. “It just doesn’t need to repeal the twentieth century to do so.”
Lest you think that it’s impossible to balance the budget without causing harm to our economy or punishing the poor, check out The Budget for All from the Democratic Progressive Caucus. To learn more, read this report comparing it with the Romney-Ryan plan.