Latest Solidarity Issue

UAW statement on the Ryan budget proposal

03/21/12

The UAW opposes the Ryan budget proposal and its attack on the middle class and our most vulnerable citizens by proposing that middle class Americans make more sacrifices while giving more tax breaks to corporations and the very wealthy.

At a time when the U.S. economy is still recovering from the global economic crisis and when millions of Americans remain unemployed or underemployed and real wages have stagnated or fallen, the Ryan budget proposal would gut many of the important safety net programs on which Americans rely. 

A serious proposal to reduce the federal budget deficit should focus on increasing revenue rather than on simply cutting important services. The Ryan plan does significant harm to ordinary Americans, seniors, and the most vulnerable. .At the same time, the proposed budget fails to increase tax revenues from corporations or the wealthiest citizens and proposes even more tax cuts for the wealthiest. 

Specifically, the UAW opposes the health care proposals in the Ryan budget, starting with its call for the repeal and defunding of the Affordable Care Act, which offers a path to providing health care coverage to 32 million Americans currently without coverage. 

The Ryan proposal also calls for the block granting of Medicaid, cutting the program by $207 billion over five years. Not only would this dramatic cut harm the elderly and disabled who rely on Medicaid for their health care, but it would also have the effect of causing significant job loss to the U.S. economy. The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the proposed Medicaid funding cut alone would result in a loss of 2.1 million jobs over the next five years. Because Medicaid has a low overhead and 96 percent of its funds go toward non-government-provided benefits, this job loss would be overwhelmingly in the private sector. The Ryan proposal would end Medicare as we know it by capping benefits for seniors which would make health care coverage both more costly and less accessible for seniors.

The Ryan proposal has many other provisions we find objectionable, including cuts to job training programs that enable workers to prepare or retrain for jobs of the future and cuts to Pell grants that allow students from families of modest means to attain a college education. And it cuts funding for feeding and housing programs that protect and assist millions of children living in poverty. And finally, the Ryan budget seeks to reduce spending by $5.3 trillion in addition to spending cuts that had already been agreed to.

The UAW believes that the federal budget is a moral document as well as a fiscal blueprint. The Ryan proposal fails miserably on both counts; it cuts the safety nets that allow ordinary Americans to get by during hard economic times and that protect the most vulnerable citizens, and it cuts in ways that will cause more unemployment and jeopardize the fragile economic recovery.