Third rail?

Review last week’s SN&R cover story, “Your tax dollars,” for an explanation from Pulitzer Prize winner David Cay Johnston on why the “trickle-down economics” basis for the GOP budget has been proven to fail.

Just two weeks ago, a Republican-dominated Congress—including the Sacramento region’s own Reps. Dan Lungren and Tom McClintock—voted to pass a new, 10-year budget that proposes to reduce the nation’s deficit in perilous ways.

For one, the budget would reduce tax rates for the wealthiest Americans, apparently in the increasingly discredited belief that doing so will create jobs. Second, it would privatize Medicare by turning it into a voucher program. And third, it would cap federal spending on Medicaid and turn it into a block-grant program run by the states.

This budget fix’s author, Rep. Paul Ryan R-Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee, and his fellow House Republicans deserve credit for handing Democrats a political gift. That’s because a “yes” vote on the resolution represents an on-the-record endorsement of a plan to topple a social program that is beloved by an ever-growing population of aging baby boomers.

As Sen. Barbara Boxer put it, “The Republican budget would give huge tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires, all paid for by destroying Medicare for our seniors and denying health care to our most vulnerable children.”

Until now, Republicans have cast themselves as defenders of Medicare. They called the Affordable Care Act’s proposed cost-controlling effort a “death panel” and reviled the ACA’s call to save $500 billion by eliminating wasteful and inefficient subsidies for private insurers like Medicare Advantage. And yet those are the very insurers that would operate their proposed voucher system.

Lungren and McClintock both support this budget. They have some explaining to do.