by Félix Pérez
The first and only vice presidential debate will be held tomorrow night in Kentucky, and many voters will be watching to see if Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s running mate, will walk away from his controversial budget plan, which Romney has praised as “marvelous” and which would impose deep cuts on public education while providing large tax cuts for high-income earners.
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Ryan, a 13-year veteran of Congress and chairman of the House Budget Committee, was the author of a budget plan that would cut $1.1 billion from Head Start and deny more than 2 million poor children the opportunity for high-quality early education.
Romney, in a statement issued when the House of Representatives passed Ryan’s budget in March, said, “The House budget and my own plan share the same path forward.” Romney has hailed Ryan’s budget as a “bold and exciting effort” that is “very much consistent with what I put out earlier.” The Republican presidential nominee added, “I think it’d be marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan’s budget and to adopt it and pass it along to the president.”
In addition to the losses to early childhood education, Ryan’s budget:
- Cuts $2.7 billion from Title I, which serves poor students
- Reduces or eliminates Title I services to 4 million students
- Eliminates $2.2 billion from IDEA, which serves children with disabilities (as many as 38,000 special education teachers and paraprofessionals would lose their jobs)
- Cuts Pell Grants for 9 million students by more than $1,000, and
- Eliminates Pell Grants entirely for more than 1 million students over the next decade
The Ryan budget sets the wrong priorities for America. His budget is an American dream killer. He wants to balance the budget on the backs of the nation’s most vulnerable — low- and moderate-income Americans, children and seniors — while giving millionaires, billionaires, and big oil corporations deeper tax cuts, said Arizona high school math teacher and National Education President Dennis Van Roekel.
According to the nonpartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the Ryan budget would generate 62 percent of its cuts over 10 years from programs that serve children, struggling families and low- and moderate-income individuals, including $2.4 trillion from Medicaid and $134 billion from SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program.
The Ryan budget “would likely produce the largest redistribution of income from the bottom to the top in modern U.S. history and likely increase poverty and inequality more than any other budget in recent times,” said Robert Greenstein, president of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
The Food Research and Action Center, a national nonprofit that works to eradicate hunger and undernutrition, said the Ryan plan would force states to make “impossible choices” regarding food assistance: “Do they cut benefits, or do they place children and seniors on waiting lists for food assistance?”