May 2011

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Paul Ryan's Jobs Killer

Unemployment still tops 8 percent but the priority on Capitol Hill, strangely, isn't jobs. It's the deficit. The Republicans issued a budget blueprint which, according to author Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will save America from a "debt-fueled economic crisis."

Inside-the-beltway columnists and media talking heads initially praised the House Budget Committee chairman's "bravery," but there is nothing brave about appeasing corporate special interests by making working families pay the costs.

Ryan's plan functionally dismantles Medicare while slashing Medicaid—which provides health care to the most vulnerable in society—by $207 billion.

Education, infrastructure investment and research—programs that encourage economic growth and job creation—will be slashed by more than $1 trillion, while federal programs that help students and their families, including Pell Grants and Head Start, are all on the chopping block.

Astoundingly, as a means to slash the debt, the Ryan proposal is a total fraud; Ryan himself has been criticized by most major economists for relying on faulty math and unreliable budget estimates.

It cuts the top individual tax rate down to 25 percent from 35 percent and makes Bush-era tax cuts, which overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy, permanent.

Not only will his blueprint have a minimal effect on the deficit, it will wipe out millions of jobs. Business Insider magazine estimates that it could drive down GDP by as much as 5 percentage points by 2020.

Ryan's proposal has nothing to do with reducing the deficit and everything to do with pushing a political agenda that rewards the top 1 percent of earners while making everyone else pay the costs.

Our debt problem is fundamentally a jobs problem. Until we get Americans back to work and earning a decent wage, our economy will continue to contract and the deficit will grow. Job killers like Ryan's blueprint are a course for disaster.

As announced in this issue, International Secretary-Treasurer Lindell Lee retired this month. I have greatly valued Brother Lee's advice, steadiness and friendship over the last three years.

I accepted his decision with regret but with happiness for him and his family. And I'm glad that Sam Chilia will be stepping up to fill Lindell's big shoes. Sam is the right individual at the right time for this position, and I ask for your support as he assumes his new duties.


Also: Chilia: An Honor and a Solemn Duty

Edwin D. Hill
International President