GOP Budget Gives Billions to Big Oil, Slashes Programs for the Poor

Anyone keen on understanding the GOP's key ambitions need look no further than its proposal for the U.S. budget, presented by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI)—it sets aside tens of billions of dollars in handouts to oil companies while slashing Medicare and aid to the poor.

You've likely heard about the basics of said budget, which former US Labor Secretary Robert Reich described as 'reeking of Social Darwinism.' Here's his take:

It reduces the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25 percent. This would give the wealthiest Americans an average tax cut of at least $150,000 a year.

The money would come out of programs for the elderly, lower-middle families, and the poor. Seniors would get subsidies to buy private health insurance or Medicare – but the subsidies would be capped. So as medical costs increased, seniors would fall further and further behind.

Other cuts would come out of food stamps, Pell grants to offset the college tuition of kids from poor families, and scores of other programs that now help middle-income and the poor.

Those cuts are made in the name of balancing the budget, but defense spending is largely untouched. And guess what else sticks around? Billions of dollars in federal subsidies for oil companies. Here's Daniel J. Weiss:
Ryan's proposed FY 2013 budget resolution would retain a decade’s worth of oil tax breaks worth $40 billion. And his budget would cut billions of dollars from investments to develop alternative fuels and clean energy technologies that would serve as substitutes for oil and help protect middle-class families from volatile energy prices as well as create jobs.
The budget would evidently cut $3 billion from clean energy research just in 2013 alone.

So, just to lay it all on the table. The GOP budget would:

-Cut taxes for the rich
-Protect government handouts for oil companies
and
-Help pay for each by slashing funding for scientific research, and for programs that poor and middle class Americans rely upon for education, health care, and, yes, even putting food on the table.

The priorities above are depressing, to say the least. I would describe it as a shockingly heartless effort to consolidate power and wealth into the hands of the already powerful and wealthy—if we all weren't already fully inoculated to the GOP's routine pursuit of precisely this agenda. This is par for the course.

Tags: Congress | Oil | United States