It’s easy to forget that the budget currently being debated in congress, the one that may or may not provoke a government shutdown, only accounts for what’s left of fiscal year 2011. The $61 billion in cuts that House Republicans originally proposed only accounted for roughly half of a fiscal year and at this point it barely represents half. That is probably why a $31 billion compromise is now looking more acceptable to the establishment side of the right-wing aisle.
As Richard Wolffe has been saying repeatedly lately, the Democrats are trying to appear as serious about cost-cutting as they can right now in order to “look reasonable” because what the Republicans are going to propose next time around, during the 2012 budget debate, is decidedly unreasonable. And if current reports turn out to be true, their upcoming proposals are not only unreasonable, they are morally criminal.
(Reuters) – As the biggest spending cut in U.S. history takes shape in Congress, Republicans are preparing a more ambitious proposal that could scale back the benefit programs that account for the majority of government spending.
Republicans in the House of Representatives are expected to unveil a budget plan next week for the coming fiscal year that would cut taxes, deepen spending cuts and cut the Medicaid health-insurance plan for the poor and disabled, according to lawmakers and aides familiar with the plan.
This report is echoed by a similar but unconfirmed report from Politico alleging that House Republicans are planning to propose cutting $1 trillion dollars from Medicaid over the next ten years. A proposal which, it goes without saying, is completely ridiculous and, in my opinion, borderline criminal.
The assault on Medicaid is about to begin. GOP sources have told Politico’s Jonathan Allen that House Republicans will propose $1 trillion in cuts from the program. Exactly what form those cuts would take is not entirely clear. But a trillion dollars over ten years is serious money and Capitol Hill sources are saying such a large cut would likely take the form of two dramatic changes: Eliminating the Medicaid expansion that takes place under the Affordable Care Act and then converting the entire program into a system of block grants.
Unless the Republicans plan to campaign in 2012 on destroying Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and society as we know it — I’d say they only have about 6 or 7 months to implement their agenda because once the primaries begin, the policies being proposed in congress become the de facto campaign platform. But then again, so far all of the possible presidential contenders seem to agree with the kind of morally-bankrupt policies being proposed.
By the time all is said and done, the Republicans will have made an enemy out of virtually every demographic group except for rich, white, middle-aged males. And President Obama could do everything wrong, which he won’t, for the next year and a half and he would still appear to be more reasonable than the freak-show that is the Reich-Wing. Good luck with that, Republicans.