Thursday, 11 April 2013

Oregon Representative Walden says Obama budget would hurt seniors

Oregon Representative Walden says Obama budget would hurt seniors, Representative Greg Walden of Oregon responded to President Obama's budget proposal calling it harmful to seniors. The Republican's proposed budget, the Ryan plan, “will not cut senior benefits,” he claimed.

Walden, Chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee, pointed out that one of the ways Obama plans to reduce federal spending is by introducing a different way to to measure inflation, the chained CPI.

Walden said this would slow the growth in federal benefits that are annually adjusted for the cost of living, including Social Security benefits. He said this would be unacceptable to seniors.

Ryan's budget, which Walden supports, would, according to a Reuters report, convert Medicare health care for the elderly into a voucher-like system under which seniors would receive a subsidy to purchase private insurance or traditional Medicare. But Ryan proposes to exempt those 55 or older from this provision.

Currently there are three budget proposals on the table for fiscal year 2014, Ryan's, the Senate's and Obama's. The main issue dividing the two parties is tax increases. Both the Senate's and Obama's budgets would increase taxes on the wealthy. The Republicans are strongly opposed to any new taxes.

The Republican plan would slash spending by $4.6 trillion over 10 years, according to Ryan, and would reduce the rate of spending to a 3.4% annual increase. This compares to a projected rate of 5%.

According to Ryan this spending reduction would allow the economy to grow faster than 3.4% a year thereby creating thousands of new jobs. This level of growth would be a huge increase over the average growth of 1.74% over the last five quarters. .

Obama's budget calls for $1.8 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years, according to CNN Money. Close to $600 billion of the $1.8 trillion would come from new revenue -- specifically a cap on itemized income tax deductions and the Buffett Rule, which would require persons earning more that $1 million a year to pay a minimum tax rate of 30% of taxable income.

Hanging over the government's head is the ticking clock on default on loans. If the Congress doesn't raise the debt ceiling by early this summer, it would be unable to pay its debts and go into default. John Boehner, Speaker of the House, said he wants any amount of increase on the debt ceiling to be matched by federal spending cuts. The Democrats are not likely to go along with that stipulation.

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