CHICAGO - If Republicans gain control of Congress in November; the "Roadmap for America's Future" may well be their guiding policy blueprint. Authored by ultra right darling Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Roadmap is more "back to the future," and would result in a massive transfer in wealth from the working class to the wealthiest.
According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the Roadmap "would give the most affluent households a new round of very large, costly tax cuts; eliminating income taxes on capital gains, dividends, and interest; and abolishing the corporate income tax, the estate tax, and the alternative minimum tax. At the same time, the Ryan plan would raise taxes for most middle-income families, privatize a substantial portion of Social Security, eliminate the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance, end traditional Medicare and most of Medicaid, and terminate the Children's Health Insurance Program."
Publicly, many top Republican leaders are distancing themselves from Ryan's "Roadmap" because it is a repeat of the Bush policies of the big giveaways to the rich and draconian cuts to social programs. But privately they support it and will wait until after the elections to wheel it out.
Ryan was in town Sept. 1 for a fundraiser for Joel Pollack, a Tea Party Republican candidate for the 9th CD against Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL). A crowd of trade unionists, seniors, and activists from the disabled community greeted him across the street from the Four Seasons Hotel with shouts of "Hands off Social Security."
"In hard economic times like these we should strengthen the safety net, not eliminate it," said Keith Kelleher, president of SEIU Local 880. "Slashing Social Security will pull the rug from underneath 78 million Americans who don't have an employer based retirement plan. No way!"
One of the big lies that keep being told is that the Social Security system in broke and will run out of money. Katie Jordan of the Alliance of Retired Americans reminded the audience that the Federal Government owes the Social Security Trust Fund $2.6 million, much of it spent to fund military build ups and war and tax cuts to the wealthy.
"We can't accept the government has the money to bailout Wall Street but not pay back Social Security. Pay it back!" exclaimed Jordan.
Rene Luna of Access Living said 7 million people with disabilities receive Social Security benefits. He said most are already living in poverty and desperation and Ryan and the Republicans want to make it worse.
"This fight is more than a policy fight, Cong. Ryan," declared William McNary, president of US Action. "This fight is about the soul of the nation. Social Security is a promise from one generation to another, which Cong. Ryan or John Boehner or any of the other Republicans isn't going to break.
"We thought we had won this battle in 2006, but they want to fight it again in 2010," said McNary. "We'll fight them in 2010, 2011 or 2012 and until we drive a stake in its heart and it never rises again!"