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Robert Reich

Romney/Ryan economic plan: Five reasons it's a disaster for America

Mitt Romney calls Paul Ryan's detailed budget plan 'marvelous,' and 'bold.' But it would boost unemployment, lower taxes on the wealthy, and slash infrastructure. Is that the kind  of boldness we need?

By Guest blogger / August 21, 2012

Republican vice presidential candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. applauds at right as Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally, Monday, Aug. 20, 2012, in Manchester N.H.

Evan Vucci/AP

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Mitt Romney hasn’t provided details so  we should be grateful he’s selected as vice president a man with a detailed plan Romney says is “marvelous,” “bold and exciting,” “excellent,” “much needed,” and “consistent with” what he’s put out.

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Robert is chancellor’s professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Clinton. Time Magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the last century. He has written 13 books, including “The Work of Nations,” his latest best-seller “Aftershock: The Next Economy and America’s Future," and a new e-book, “Beyond Outrage.” His new movie, "Inequality for All," is available on Netflix. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause.

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So let’s look at the five basic features of this “marvelous” Ryan plan.

 FIRST: It  would boost unemployment because it slashes public spending next year and the year after, when the economy is still likely to need a boost, not a fiscal drag. It would be the same austerity trap now throwing Europe into recession. According to the Economic Policy Institute, Ryan’s plan would mean 1.3 million fewer jobs next year than otherwise, and 2.8 million fewer the year after.

 SECOND: Ryan would take from lower-income Americans and give to the rich – who already have the biggest share of America’s total income and wealth in almost a century. His plan would raise taxes on families earning between 30 and 40 thousand dollars by almost $500 a year, and slash programs like Medicare, food stamps, and children’s health What would Ryan do with these savings? Reduce taxes on millionaires by an average of over $500,000 a year.

THIRD: Ryan wants to turn Medicare into vouchers that won’t keep up with the rising costs of health care – thereby shifting the burden onto seniors. By contrast, Obama’s Affordable Care Act saves money on Medicare by reducing payments to medical providers like hospitals and drug companies.

FOURTH: He wants to add money to defense while cutting spending on education, infrastructure, and basic research and development. America already spends more on defense than the next five biggest military spenders put together. Our future productivity depends on the public investments Ryan wants to cut.

FIFTH AND Finally, Ryan’s budget doesn’t even reduce the federal budget deficit – not for decades. Remember: He’s adding to military spending, giving huge additional tax cuts to the very rich, and stifling economic growth by cutting spending too early.  The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates Ryan’s Roadmap would push public debt to over 175 percent of GDP by 2050.

So there you have it. The Ryan – Ryan-ROMNEY – economic plan.

And the five reasons why it would be a disaster for America.

The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. This post originally ran on www.robertreich.org.

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