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Differs with Ryan's view

February 02, 2011

Following President Obama’s State of the Union Address, Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) certainly voiced what many are thinking: we are at a perilous place with our national debt and we need to deal with it responsibly. He and I have different ideas of what constitutes responsible action.

Mr. Ryan said that, “…the President’s [healthcare] law is accelerating our country toward bankruptcy.” Where on earth did he get that idea? The non-partisan, respected-by-all-sides national number-crunchers (the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Committee on Taxation) have estimated “…that enacting both pieces of legislation [that make up the health-care law] will produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010-2019 period.” And it will do this while simultaneously, “…reducing the number of non-elderly people who are uninsured by about 32 million, leaving about 23 million non-elderly residents uninsured” (http://www.cbo.gov/publications/collections/health.cfm). So we decrease the deficit while also reaching out and helping 32 million of our fellow Americans. I gotta say, that hardly sounds like accelerating the country towards bankruptcy.

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Mr. Ryan said of our national debt that, “… we must, as Americans, confront it responsibly.” Now in December the Republicans voted to add $690 billion to our national debt over the next 10 years by allowing the wealthiest 2% of Americans to continue to enjoy the tax break the Bush administration gave them. Remember that in promoting those tax roll-backs, Bush promised that a decrease in taxes, “… will create new jobs…will generate new wealth…will open new opportunities.”

Well, how did all that tax-relief-creating-jobs stuff work out for ya? I think we all know the answer.

In the six years before the tax decreases, real income in the median American household grew 14.7%. In the six years following them, it grew 1.6%. The Bush tax cuts have added $2.5 trillion to our national debt thus far. This makes me think that Mr. Ryan and his colleagues don’t know what they are talking about. How is adding $690 billion to the debt responsible?

Implementing the health-care law and returning tax rates for our most wealthy citizens to where they were when Bush took office would cut our debt by almost $1 trillion over the next decade. This is a responsible way to work toward debt reduction. If Mr. Ryan gets his way, who will pay for that $1 trillion of debt? I imagine anyone except him, his colleagues and his donors.

Carol Stewart

La Cañada Flintridge

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