Worst of all, this is a vision that says even though America can't afford to invest in education or clean energy; even though we can't afford to care for seniors and poor children, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about it. In the last decade, the average income of the bottom 90% of all working Americans actually declined. The top 1% saw their income rise by an average of more than a quarter of a million dollars each. And that's who needs to pay less taxes? They want to give people like me a two hundred thousand dollar tax cut that's paid for by asking thirty three seniors to each pay six thousand dollars more in health costs? That's not right, and it's not going to happen as long as I'm President.
But let me be absolutely clear: I will preserve these health care programs as a promise we make to each other in this society. I will not allow Medicare to become a voucher program that leaves seniors at the mercy of the insurance industry, with a shrinking benefit to pay for rising costs. I will not tell families with children who have disabilities that they have to fend for themselves. We will reform these programs, but we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.
The fourth step in our approach is to reduce spending in the tax code. In December, I agreed to extend the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans because it was the only way I could prevent a tax hike on middle-class Americans. But we cannot afford $1 trillion worth of tax cuts for every millionaire and billionaire in our society. And I refuse to renew them again.
The Republicans have predictably gone into crybaby mode over this claiming the his speech was far too partisan. If anything it was a little too circumspect but then he's a politician and I'm not.
"I missed lunch for this?" complained Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), chair of the House GOP conference, at a Capitol press conference shortly after the address.
Ryan called it a "political broadside from our Campaigner-in-Chief." The serious and brave Ryan showed himself to be nothing more than a political hack.
What the fuck did they expect? That Obama would come out and thank Ryan for saving the future, that he though Ryan's plan was so brilliant, so courageous and the solution to everything that Obama is just going to agree to implement it as it is.
Much of this is obviously political posturing. Obama has set down some reasonable and sane markers that that all but the new batshit insane GOP will agree with. They are out of the mainstream and the more intransigent they appear, the less they will be able maneuver.
Now that we have the details, it turns out the interim budget cut little, saved some valuable programs and in the end has given Obama a quite Clintonian aura about him. The recent budget skirmish was nothing compared to what is to come and the loss of a few programs here and there were in military terms, "acceptable casualties".
In their post speech response, the Republicans have shown themselves to be so inflexible and so dismissive that when the chips are down when it comes to raising the debt ceiling when the stakes are far higher. If the Republicans continue their intransigence they could very well sign their own death warrants. After all 81% of Americans believe that taxes should be raised on millionaires and no 'margin or error' can make that look any better. Equally important, Wall Street knows full well the implications of failing to raise the debt ceiling are. Even taking it to the brink could create more fear in the bond markets than the economy can bear.
If that comes to pass the blame will land four square on their shoulders and they will pay the price.