President Obama attacks Paul Ryan budget, Republican vision in his speech to America’s newspaper editors
Posted by admin | Posted in paul ryan | Posted on 04-04-2012-05-2008
WASHINGTON — President Obama painted a stark contrast between his visions on health care, taxes, and the federal budget and that of congressional Republicans in a speech to the nation’s newspaper executives on Tuesday.
His hour-long appearance at a luncheon sponsored by the associated Press at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park had the echoes of a campaign speech, highlighting some of the same themes he put forth during his State of the Union address such as the growing chasm between the country’s wealthy and the middle class.
Obama also used the speech to set his budget proposal apart from the one put forth by Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan that the House passed last week. In doing so, Obama waded into campaign politics, criticizing Republican front-runner Mitt Romney’s ethusiastic support of the Ryan budget.
“He even called it marvelous, which is a word you don’t often hear when it comes to describing a budget,” Obama said, before going on to eviscerate Ryan’s proposal.
“It’s a Trojan Horse, disguised as a deficit reduction plan,” Obama said. “It’s really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It’s nothing but thinly-veiled Social Darwinism.”
The $3.5 trillion Ryan budget, which is not expected to make it out of the Democratic-controlled Senate, is “so far to the right,” Obama said, that it makes the 1994 Republican-sponsored Contract with America “look like the New Deal.”
Even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who had helped draft the contract and who is struggling in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, had once referred to Ryan’s budget as “right wing social engineering,” Obama pointed out.
The Ryan budget breaks a bipartisan agreement and lays out “massive” new cuts above and beyond what the president and Republican leaders had agreed to last summer, Obama said. the results, he said, are ominous for the country’s future.
If the Ryan plan goes forward, Obama painted a dire picture starting in 2014: Nearly 10 million college students will see their financial aid slashed by an average of $1,000 a year. there would be fewer medical research grants to find cures for diseases such as cancer, AIDS, and Alzheimer’s, along with fewer scientific research grants. Investments in clean energy technology would be cut by nearly a fifth. more than 200,000 low-income youngsters would lose their chance to enroll in Head start. two million mothers and their children would be cut from programs that provide access to healthy food.
Obama predicted that the list would expand beyond education and health to reduce federal resources to combat violent and financial crimes, and to secure the nation’s borders. National parks would be closed for part or all of the year. Cuts to the Federal Aviation Administration would result in more flight cancellations and delays. and over time, weather forecasts would become less accurate because the nation would no longer be able to afford new satellites, and governors would have to endure longer waits to issue hurricane evacuation orders.
“This is not conjecture,” Obama said. “I am not exaggerating. These are facts. and these are just the cuts that would happen the year after next.”
He also highlighted what would happen to the popular Medicaid and Medicare programs under the Ryan budget. Cuts to Medicaid would put access to health care at risk for 19 million Americans — the elderly in nursing homes, low-income children, middle-class families with children who have autism and Down syndrome.
Under Ryan’s plan for Medicare, seniors who retire in 10 years would receive vouchers that allow them to choose between private health plans and traditional Medicare. but, Obama warned, “if health care costs rise faster than the amount of the voucher, that’s too bad. Seniors bear the risk.”
“It’s a bad idea,” he said. “And it will ultimately end Medicare as we know it.”
While the ensuing months until the November election will no doubt be full of “gaffes and minor controversies,” Obama said, referring to hot mics and Etch a Sketch moments, “there are also big fundamental issues at stake right now” that deserve serious debate and coverage.
“By gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last — education and training; research and development — it’s a prescription for decline,” Obama said.
Tracy Jan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeTracyJan.