I can’t say I’m surprised, but the new House Republican budget has me wondering: What planet are some of our politicians living on? Perhaps a utopian planet where the people are guaranteed middle-class jobs, never get sick or old, and don’t have a stack of credit card, heating or tuition bills to pay?
Since we know that place doesn’t exist, we fought against Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposals in 2011 and 2012. But he is back with a new rendition – and this one is even worse because it does nothing to fix the devastating cuts brought by the recent sequester and it hollows out our economy. Some 750,000 jobs will be lost permanently this year if the Ryan Budget is enacted. In 2014, we would lose 2 million more jobs, according to preliminary estimates by the Economic Policy Institute.
In the transportation sector alone, the Ryan plan would set us on a backward path, more toward the 1950s than the 2020s.
Ryan would keep investments in transportation lower than current levels for the next decade, greatly damaging our ability to maintain and modernize our failing infrastructure, and costing untold transportation, construction, manufacturing and other jobs. Remember, current investment levels are dangerously low, while Rep. Ryan claims that the job-creating characteristics of transportation investments have been “oversold.” What’s been oversold is this idea that if you just cut taxes for the super-rich you will unleash a new entrepreneurial uprising. Sounds like that planet again.
Facts can be stubborn.
Is Ryan aware that if the FAA operations budget is cut by the mandated amount under sequestration, up to 2,200 air traffic controllers could be furloughed, a situation that will undermine the capacity of our national air system? And how exactly do we make sure the FAA’s workforce is staffed up so that we can accommodate the 1.1 billion airline passengers forecast to be enplaned by U.S. airlines alone by 2025 if we lock in anemic aviation funding levels for the next decade?
Has Ryan considered that more than 30 percent of all vessels traveling in and out of our ports are constrained because of inadequate maintenance of our navigation channels, costing billions of dollars in lost economic activity? Hmmm, I wonder if the waterways on that planet never need dredging?
How exactly do public transit systems handle soaring ridership while the Ryan plan would slash transit jobs and capital and operating budgets? Or what does Ryan think about the implications of a report by the Army Corps of Engineers that 70,000 of our bridges are structurally deficient? I guess in a utopian world bridges never fall down.
We know what the American people who live on this planet think. Last November, they repudiated Ryan’s beliefs by soundly voting against him and his presidential running mate.
Ryan told the press yesterday that the election results haven’t changed his philosophy and beliefs. That’s fine, but how about respecting the American people and their beliefs? How about making government work for the middle class, the poor and seniors by creating jobs, making the tax codes fairer, fighting for health care users and not insurance companies, and preserving Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid?
It looks like we will be fighting a familiar fight this year on Planet Nonsense.