You’re On Your Own, or: What the Paul Ryan Budget means for Oregonians

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There’s been a slew of news pieces on Paul Ryan since Mitt Romney announced Ryan’s name Twitter unleashed the news of the VP pick. Much of the coverage so far has pointed out that Ryan’s entry into the race will make the debate over taxes and the budget clearer.

Because while Paul Ryan has made his name and political career on a staunchly conservative platform, eschewing those crazy “liberal” ideas like science and women’s rights, what Ryan is best known for – and the clearest view into his political agenda – is the Ryan budget proposal.

When Ryan announced his plan last spring, the analysts over at Oregon Center for Public Policy and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities took a look through the report to determine what Ryan’s plan would mean for Oregonians. Here’s what they found out:

  • Ryan’s budget proposal dramatically cuts assistance programs for poor and vulnerable citizens. More specifically, the program would slash Medicaid, Social Security, and SNAP food assistance.
    • SNAP: Oregon would lose about $1.88 billion over a ten-year period in SNAP, reducing opportunities to help the state’s most vulnerable. That’s a lot of meals no longer deliverable to the folks that need them. In fact, Ryan’s proposal doesn’t stop at just reducing funds, but would also transform SNAP into a block grant – which means that each state gets the same amount of limited money, regardless of needs or situations. As Oregon is the state with the highest percentage in the nation of food insecurity among youth, this would be particularly detrimental to our state.
  • While Ryan’s budget purports to be ”unable to afford” the programs necessary to protect our most vulnerable (seniors, people with disabilities, the working poor), Ryan’s proposal miraculously found the budget to create new tax cuts for millionaires. And as Oregon ties its tax code to the federal code, this would mean reduced revenue at both the federal and state level.

We’ve said before that the upcoming election will be about choosing our priorities and the direction of our future, on the state and federal level. With Romney’s new VP pick, the policy implications just got a little clearer. The question is: What kind of state and what kind of country do we want to have? One that protects students, seniors, and community safety, or one that gives more and more tax breaks away to large corporations and the rich?

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