House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) “Path to Prosperity” budget proposal may have been been lauded as a courageous and sincere attempt to address this nation’s budget problems, but its proponents have been deceived.

“The Path to Prosperity” is really a radical plan to weaken the social safety net for the sick and very poor in the name of deficit reduction while increasing defense spending indefinitely and cutting taxes for the richest Americans.

Ryan will be hosted by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute on Thursday, where he will speak on “America’s enduring promise.” A closer examination of Ryan’s budget plan, however, shows that it threatens to turn that promise into a lie.

It’s true that Ryan’s plan would reduce the national debt to 61 percent of gross domestic product by 2022, while President Obama’s budget proposal would leave the national debt at 76 percent of GDP in that time frame.

But “The Path to Prosperity” cuts the deficit almost entirely on the backs of the poor and the sick. Americans who rely on social safety net programs — namely Medicaid, food stamps and other temporary income-based assistance programs — would see that support vanish. For example, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provide health coverage to poor Americans, including millions of children, would see their funding cut in half as a share of GDP within 20 years.

America’s promise cannot be realized for the nearly 50 million citizens who lack affordable health care. Ryan’s budget would dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which is essential to reducing the number of uninsured Americans.

While gutting federal spending for the poor, Ryan proposes an increase in defense spending. After feeding the beast that is the military industrial complex for a decade while fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States has an imperative to begin redirecting spending toward domestic needs.

“The Path to Prosperity” would also slash taxes, especially for the wealthiest Americans. Under Ryan’s plan, the average millionaire will see his or her post-tax income rise by 12.5 percent. Americans earning near the median national income of $45,000 would see just a 1.5 percent rise in their post-tax income.

As a result, total tax revenue collected by the federal government would dip to 15.4 percent of GDP. Ryan claims that to pay for some of those tax cuts and return total revenues to the historical norm of 18 to 19 percent, but he has not named a single tax loophole that he would support closing. There is nothing courageous about specifying massive income tax cuts while refusing to name promised new sources of revenue.

Ryan’s deception also includes not naming specific programs that will be cut. In doing so, Ryan seeks to insulate his budget from legitimate critiques. Students should be especially concerned about this — Ryan plans to cut discretionary spending for education by 19 percent but won’t say how. He has denied plans to cut Federal Pell Grants by the same amount, but the fact is that if he does not plan to cut Pell Grants, then other programs will be forced to receive even steeper cuts.

I have a very simple question for Rep. Ryan: If not Pell Grants, which federal education programs will face these draconian cuts? Ryan hasn’t specified, making impossible the policy debates that he is supposedly courageous in initiating.

That does not sound like ensuring America’s promise to me. America’s promise is providing opportunity for all, especially the poor and ill, not just for those born into financial security.

Brian Shaud is a senior in the College. He is a former member of The Hoya’s editorial board.

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