Maryann Tobin

Despite the potential loss of more than 2 million jobs, from the 2013 sequester budget cuts, Congressional Budget Committee chair Rep. Paul Ryan is eager to further crush the US economy with massive European-style austerity measures.

The failed Republican vice presidential candidate has revealed his 2013 budget plan, “A Blueprint for American Renewal,” which uses a lot of clever wording to try to hide the fact that the draconian plan will almost certainly send the US into a deep recession.

“In 2013, the fiscal drag from government austerity is expected to be between 1.5 and 2.0 percentage points — depending on whether the full sequester stays in place all year — the vast majority of which is because of federal spending cuts and tax hikes.” according to the Washington Post’s Suzy Khimm.

Ryan’s plan will further contract the economy and shift the burden of dealing with more austerity cuts onto the middle class, the poor, and seniors, with a revised Medicare voucher program that hits Americans of all ages with benefit reductions.

“Ryan …has privately been floating the idea of allowing his changes to Medicare to kick in for Americans younger than 56. In previous budgets, those 55 and older were exempted from his plan to turn Medicare into a premium-support — or voucher — program,” Politico reports.

Polling data and voters have consistently rejected turning Medicare into a voucher program and privatizing any entitlement programs. For one thing, handing them over to Wall Street eliminates government guarantees, and also leaves them vulnerable to wild swings in the stock market. That might be a gamble bankers are willing to take, but most Americans would rather not lay their economic future on a financial market crap table.

As Khimm astutely points out, the austerity measures the Republicans want might reduce the deficit, but they are also causing damage to the economy.

Higher unemployment puts more strain on safety net programs like food, housing, unemployment insurance, and health care assistance. But Republicans have that covered. To keep government costs down for growing unemployment under an austerity budget, funding for those programs would be cut, in addition to the sequester cuts already imposed. The result is even more income inequality, as the wealthiest Americans remain untouched by Ryan's austerity proposal.

In an effort to make it look like Republicans are not just out to end all entitlement programs one way or another, the Ryan plan proposes more tax cuts for the so-called “job creators,” who have thus far remained absent in the area of job creation.

Ryan’s push for the failed austerity policies that have crippled European economies suggests that elections and polls don’t matter to Republicans. They are going to do what they want no matter what voters say. Welcome to Tea Party fascism.

Quality of life issues are going to get a lot worse for most Americans as the Republican Party leads America down the path of the same failed austerity policies that have ruined Europe. The obvious question remains, why imitate an economic strategy that is already known to be an abysmal failure?

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