“Promoting the natural rights and the inherent dignity of the individual must be the central focus of all government.”
That’s what Congressman Paul Ryan wrote earlier this month in an exclusive commentary for Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. This week, he revealed exactly where his laser-like focus on dignity would lead this nation. He released his budget proposal, as clear a statement of one’s principles and priorities as there is in politics.
Here are the results, and they’re not pretty. Nation readers with young children should probably ask them to leave the room before reading onward.
Mr. Ryan’s focus on dignity… means a cut in food stamps of $133 billion over ten years, even though 76 percent of participating households include a child, senior or disabled person, nearly half of all recipients are children and 40 percent of single mothers use food stamps to help feed their families. A $13.4 billion cut in one year translates to as many as 8.2 billion meals lost for low-income people, more kids at risk of being underweight or developmentally delayed, worse educational outcomes and more stressed-out parents.
The congressman would also block-grant the program so it would no longer be able to respond to rising need during times like these—in 2010 alone food stamps kept 3.9 million people out of poverty. If you liked the cash assistance for poor families (TANF) block grant—which resulted in a free-fall from 68 of every 100 poor families receiving help to 27 of every 100—then you will absolutely love the Don’t Worry Ryan Will Feed You block grant.
Mr. Ryan’s focus on dignity… means the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and attacking Medicaid with his block-granting light saber. The repeal results in at least 33 million people losing their healthcare, and the Don’t Worry Ryan Will Heal You block grant shifts costs of covering poor people to the states (because their budgets are in such great shape)—cutting federal funding by approximately 20 percent over the next decade and adding “tens of millions of Americans to the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured,” according the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). Worth noting too is that two out of every three Medicaid dollars currently goes to care for people in nursing homes, victims of catastrophic accidents and disabled children, according to the Center for American Progress.