After weeks of haranguing, GOP leaders have managed to convince Paul Ryan to run for speaker of the house. This has drawn a sigh of relief from the devastatingly fractured Republican congressional majority. However, this should come as no relief to the average American citizen.
According to a report published by The Huffington Post on Tuesday morning, “In addition to wanting to privatize both Social Security and Medicare, Ryan has indicated that he essentially wants to shut down the federal government in the sense of taking away all of the money for the non-military portion of the budget.”
The article’s justification for this heavy accusation is Ryan’s own political record.
“In 2011, when he chaired the House Budget Committee, Ryan directed the Congressional Budget Office to score his budget plans. The score of his plan showed the non-Social Security, non-Medicare portion of the federal budget shrinking to 3.5 percent of GDP by 2050,” the article said.
This is an equivalent figure to the amount the federal budget allocates for military spending. And since Ryan has already alleged that he would not cut the military budget, this means that Ryan’s budget plan leaves no room for many of the services that are expected of a national government.
“[Ryan’s plan] leaves no money for the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health, The Justice Department, infrastructure spending or anything else. Following Ryan's plan, in 35 years we would have nothing left over after paying for the military,” the article stated.
It is no secret that the budget is perhaps the most divisive issue in American politics. Government shutdowns happen over budgetary issues more than any other. The most recent example of this is the near shuttering of the government that took place as congress debated the funding of Planned Parenthood.
The worrisome aspect of Ryan’s budget plan is not the loss of these social services. The real threat is the government shutdown that would happen when moderate conservatives and Democrats challenge him on these outlandish financial goals.
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Government shutdowns cost the country millions - hundreds of millions - but they also cost individual Americans their jobs and livelihoods.
GOP supporters are lauding Ryan as a stabilizing presence for congress. However, unless he makes some very big changes to his budgetary philosophy soon, it is safer to assume that he would be an extremely destructive political disaster.
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