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The Ryan Budget: Wrong for America and Wrong for Kentucky

Yesterday, Paul Ryan released his latest budget proposal- a characteristically out-of-touch series of failed policy prescriptions that have already been rejected by the American people. Once again, instead of offering a budget that benefits and creates opportunities for the middle class, Rep. Ryan wants to lower taxes on the wealthy. Under the Ryan plan, middle class families with children would see their taxes increase by at least $2000, while taxes would be cut for households that earn over $1 million. This reheated top down approach does nothing to improve the lives of hardworking Kentuckians, paying for kickbacks to special interest groups with the hard-earned dollars of middle class families.

Other retrogressive features of the latest Ryan budget include the termination of Medicare as we know it, converting the program into a voucher system that fails to protect seniors who have already paid a lifetime of dues to American society. Unsurprisingly, an NBC/WSJ poll found that 69% of voters are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports reductions in Medicare benefits, making that the least attractive quality a candidate could possess.

Particularly untimely is the Ryan proposal’s repeal of the Affordable Care Act. On the heels of yesterday’s news that Kentucky’s wildly popular health-care exchange, kynect, has enrolled 360,000 Kentuckians in quality, affordable health coverage while reducing Kentucky’s uninsured population by 42%, it is very apparent that Paul Ryan’s budget would be especially damaging to our Commonwealth.

Also, despite some awkward attempts to pay lip service to poverty reduction, Ryan's budget proposes devastating cuts to food stamps and social safety net programs that help the most vulnerable Americans get back on their feet and contributing again to the American economy. The deleterious impact of food stamp cuts is especially potent in Kentucky, affecting 420,000 hardworking families that are eager to get back on track.

Furthermore, while attempting to justify crippling cuts to Medicare, the Ryan budget fails to take advantage of legitimately beneficial deficit reduction strategies, namely comprehensive immigration reform. Reforming our broken immigration system would save $900 billion while ameliorating the torment that stranding families in a broken system entails.

In summary, yesterday’s budget proposal is just the latest illustration of the Republican vision for America- opportunity for a few instead of opportunity for all. Though billionaires who stand to gain financially from the GOP budget are spending millions of dollars to purchase seats in 2014, we expect Kentucky voters to again side with Democrats, who share their priorities of strengthening the middle class, investing in innovation, infrastructure and education, responsibly reducing our deficit, and increasing opportunity for all.

Once again, Paul Ryan and the GOP’s budget is wrong for America, and especially wrong for Kentucky.