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updated: 6/3/2011 6:12 PM

Don't balance budget on backs of poor

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Dear Congressman Hultgren,

We are deeply disappointed in your vote for Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity." We take exception to both the politics and the economics of this measure. It seems designed to ease the burdens of the wealthy while making life even more difficult for the poor and the middle class.

Our most strenuous objection is to the proposed voucher system to replace Medicare for those younger than 55. We want Medicare to be there for coming generations. It is one of the most successful social programs ever enacted in this country. It has saved countless lives and saved the elderly from dire poverty. A voucher system equals privatization. That would serve the interests of the powerful insurance industry. For ordinary families, it would spell disaster.

Cuts to Medicaid would make our nursing homes even more miserable than they already are. It also would reduce the availability and the quality of medical care for the poor, the uninsured and the disabled, the most vulnerable people in the country, the people who cannot hire lobbyists to talk to congressmen or make campaign contributions.

The Ryan proposal would cut Pell grants, college loans and education. In fact, two-thirds of the budget cuts in the Ryan proposal are from programs for low- or middle-income people. Meanwhile, it lowers taxes for the richest 10 percent. This is a program of wealth redistribution upward, in the extreme, a cruel austerity program. It will not create jobs or make the economy better for anybody but the very wealthy. So, morally and pragmatically, the program is wrong.

For 30 years we have been told that cutting taxes for the rich and for corporations will create jobs and stimulate the economy. It has not worked. It is not working now. Tax breaks for the wealthy have not been shown to create jobs or economic growth. It is unacceptable that you have supported efforts to "balance" the budget on our backs while the rich get richer.

Mary Shesgreen

For Fox Valley Citizens for Peace & Justice


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