The House of Representatives passed the Ryan budget yesterday. To be more precise, the Republicans passed the budget. On the same day, Congress also let unemployment benefits for hundreds of thousands of unemployed families expire. We could debate the economic effects of these actions (although the European experience with “austerity” budgets is a clear failure), but let’s take a moment to look at what the Ryan budget tells us about our values. Republicans are fond of citing budgets as “moral statements”, and they are. Budgets reflect our values – what we consider to be priorities. In this sense then, historians hundreds of years from now may look at the Ryan Budget for insight. What will they see?
Future historians would certainly conclude that in 2012 the political establishment concluded that there is a major socio-economic crisis: the poor have far too much money and the rich don’t have enough money. Programs that feed children in poverty, provide shelter and care for impoverished elderly citizens and education programs to help poor and middle-class students to attend college are eliminated or significantly cut; while the richest citizens receive (another) reduction in taxes. Infrastructure spending is essentially reduced as is spending for technology innovation. The defense budget is the only sector of the budget to continue to grow.
Put another way, if the Ryan budget were translated into a family budget it would look like the following: we have decided to not feed the kids, not send them to school, not repair the leaky roof, kick out grandma and spend most of our family income on buying ammunition for our guns.
Those are the values of the Republican Party. Not ours.