The federal budget sets a vision for the kind of country we want, the kind of people we are. That’s why the Paul Ryan version of that vision, his budget is so disconcerting.
Congresswoman Cynthia Lummis voted for it, claiming Ryan’s plan “would dramatically cut government spending, balance the national budget and returns Medicare power and decisions back to our nation’s seniors and out of the hands of unelected bureaucrats.” Really? It won't balance the budget until 2040, includes $4.6 trillion in tax cuts over the next 10 years boosting millionaires' incomes by a whopping 12.5 per cent and 62 per cent of the cuts in the plan target low-income Americans.
Ryan is an Apostle of a mid-20th Century atheist whose worldview most Americans would find radically wrong. As Ayn Rand prepared to write Atlas Shrugged, the book Ryan and others hold sacred, she expressed her opinion of Jesus and Christianity.
Rand and Ryan believe Jesus was off track when he said, ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.’” Rand said that teaching is contrary to human success. “There is a great, basic contradiction in the teachings of Jesus,” Rand writes.
The idea that in order to save one’s soul, one must love or help others leads to Christianity’s “failure.”
Ryan resolves the contradiction by removing the part about helping others. Once you understand that Ryan is motivated by Rand’s views, it’s easier to understand the draconian budget he’s proposed. What’s not so easy to understand is why Lummis, supports it, even over Al Simpson and Erskine Bowles’ well thought out alternative.
The Simpson-Bowles Plan recognizes the urgency of reducing the nation’s debt. Their idea is that we all share the sacrifice. The Rand-Ryan-Lummis idea is different, at odds not only with Simpson-Bowles but also with the social justice views of people of faith.
One section of their plan with an Orwellian title, “Repairing the Social Safety Net” calls for sacrificing education, housing, Pell Grants, medical care, food stamps and other programs the middle class relies on. No one questions the middle class will have to sacrifice but the Rand-Ryan-Lummis budget doesn’t ask the wealthy to sacrifice a thing. They’re not asked to put even a pigeon on the altar, much less a fatted calf.
The most troubling part of Lummis’ support for this radical proposal is what it does to Medicaid, the program elderly people rely on for medical care. The changes don’t affect those near the qualifying age. The next generation had better buckle up. If Lummis’ idea becomes law, today’s Medicaid will be replaced by vouchers. The government will exchange the promise to provide the elderly with healthcare with vouchers. Old folks can go out on the dysfunctional insurance market and search for an insurance company willing to take their voucher. Lummis argues this is necessary to reduce the costs of Medicaid.
How will it reduce the costs of Medicaid? The vouchers will never pay the full costs of private insurance. The “savings” will become a tax on the elderly who have to take the difference out of their pockets or the pocket of their children. Under the Rand-Ryan-Lummis plan, they’ll have to ante up from their retirement savings to pay their parents’ medical bills when the vouchers fall short.
As Alas Shrugged unmerciful ends, John Galt, who organized a strike to assure the wealthy do not contribute anything to the well-being of the country, looks over the ruin of the nation. Drawing a large $ sign in the dirt, he says, “Now we can return.”
The Ryan-Lummis budget allows the wealthy elite to return to the days before capitalism was given a conscience by Franklin Roosevelt. Their view of our nation is at odds with Judeo-Christian ethics. The other religions don’t think much of taking from the poor and giving to the rich either. Lummis must be asked whether she will represent the mainstream views of Wyoming people, the radicalism of Paul Ryan or the atheism of Ayn Rand.