Friday – Bottomless.

WASHINGTON, DC – DECEMBER 6: Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) (Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Quote from

Maybe she’d better hold off on squandering the $78 total on a Costco membership. She may need to save it to offset higher medical bills, or the loss of all the “entitlement” programs Paul Ryan is planning to slash…

paul ryan twitter
The House is expected to vote on a “balanced budget” amendment after they return from recess. It is expected that the amendment would have no chance of passing, since it would need Democratic votes, then ratification by three-fourths of the states in the U.S. However, we should take nothing for granted.

(Wapo) “A balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution would require that every year the federal budget would have to be balanced, no matter what: no borrowing, not a dollar more spent than the government receives in taxes. It’s one of the worst ideas anyone in Washington ever had, but it’s particularly absurd coming from the GOP.” Republicans have pursued the same three-part budgetary strategy they did under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, which naturally produces large deficits.

  • Large tax cuts, mostly for the benefit of the wealthy and/or corporations.
  • Massive increases in military spending.
  • Little change to the trajectory of domestic spending.

Here’s a reminder of how we got into this mess…

The strategy of using language like “balancing the budget” makes the GOP finally appear to be fiscally responsible again after their tax giveaway to the rich. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has noted that if spending were to be cut, “entitlements reform” – cutting back social services that the middle class and poor depend on like Medicaid and Medicare, would be first on the block, not rollbacks of any of the tax benefits he and his friends are now enjoying.

The GOP deficit isn’t as much of a problem for most of us as the loss of our safety nets, because it’s “when, not if” the next recession, or even depression, is around the corner. Not only is the current economic expansion already the third longest since the middle of the 19th century, but a number of factors that can start a recession are already here. Others are one news story away.

  • Like Baby-boomers starting to retire at the same time. (business insider)
  • Like destroying the economic engine of immigration, a condition present at the start of the Great Depression. (wapo) (hill)
  • Like healthcare becoming unaffordable from the attacks on the Affordable Care Act, especially for older Americans and those with chronic health issues. Tax “cuts” are inadequate to make up the new costs. (CaliforniaHealth)(motley fool)
  • Like jobs disappearing. (bigthink)
  • Like middle and low income people are not seeing any recognizable increase in their wages, despite the GOP’s declaration of a win. (the hill)
  • Like troubles in the Middle East that drive up oil prices (reuters)
  • Like growing interest rate shifts that slow housing (financial post)
  • Like miscalculations and malfeasance by financial institutions that jolt equity and bond markets. Hello, all you Dodd-Frank rollback bills!
  • Like increasing “gray” poverty due to the loss of pension plans, the hit 401k plans took during the Recession (thanks, other GOP president), flat wages and “gray” job discrimination. “Increasingly, we’re seeing folks who are becoming poor for the first time in old age.” (atlantic)
  • Like Two-thirds of Americans not contributing any money to a 401(k) or other retirement account, according to Census Bureau researchers.(bloomberg) Many people of working age today, hold unsteady jobs and have patchwork incomes that leave little room for retirement savings

When, not if.

Action #1: Call your legislators and make sure they’re ready to vote Paul Ryan back into his seat. We were surprised by the number of Democrats that signed on for the recent lunatic bank deregulation bill, so take nothing for granted here.

Minimum script: I’m calling from [zip code], and I want Rep. [___] to vote “NO” on any measure to require a balanced budget or that slashes our safety-net programs.

Action #2: There should be consequences for being willing to risk the health and welfare of the majority of Americans for a concept of “small government”. Let’s help remove Paul Ryan before someone gets hurt. Give what you can to this guy here.

Contact your Legislator

Rep. Julia Brownley: (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779
or Rep. Salud Carbajal: (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348
Other Rep Contacts:


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