The Path to Poverty 2.0

Are you ready for the remake of the film that's only a year old?

As you may recall, Paul Ryan debuted the original Path to Poverty Prosperity, labeled "serious as a heart attack" by RNC Chairman Reince Preibus, around this time last year and it was panned by the beltway media as a "courageous" and "bold" budget which did little more than destroy society as we know it and add trillions more to the deficit.

The original plan was to voucher-ize Medicare wherein seniors would receive a healthcare-coupon which they would use to buy private insurance. Meanwhile, Medicaid would be converted into a block-grant system wherein states whose expenses exceeded the grant amount would be forced to cover the cost themselves. Unfortunately that would be financially impossible for many states and the result would be a tightening of Medicaid eligibility which would throw millions of desperate people off the rolls.

The original Path to Poverty also called for a massive reduction in tax-rates. And how would we pay for this? Tax-cuts pay for themselves, remember? It's tax-cut magic!

Republican Budget Wizard and tax-cut magician Paul Ryan debuted The Path to Poverty Prosperity 2.0 today, and this version is, well, basically the same as 1.0 but with a fresh coat of paint.

The new version also privatizes Medicare, converts Medicaid into a block-grant system, cuts taxes, and -- this is the new and exciting part -- would establish a tax-holiday wherein corporations could repatriate their piles of cash building up overseas tax-free.

Again, how would we pay for this? Magic asterisks, of course.

I could poke fun at Paul Ryan's fraudulent budget blueprint all day, however the Republican quest to "repeal Obamacare" is what's really at the center of this proposal, and as ThinkProgress points out, the consequences of actually repealing the most crucial elements of the Affordable Care Act would be disasterous for the nation's economy.

THIRTY MILLION AMERICANS WOULD LOSE HEALTH COVERAGE: The budget repeals the Affordable Care Act’s requirement to purchase health insurance coverage, the establishment of health insurance exchanges and the provision of subsidies for lower-income Americans, the expansion of the Medicaid program, tax credits for small businesses that provide insurance coverage. As a result, more than 30 million Americans would lose coverage and the budget would eliminate the new law’s consumer protections, which have already benefited tens of millions of Americans.

Only the Republicans could introduce a plan to obliterate society as we know it in the middle of an election year and be taken seriously by our very serious "liberal media."

One other element missing from the discussion which is not spelled out in Paul Ryan's fantastical blueprint is the Republican plan to walk-back their commitment to the budgetary framework established for fiscal 2013 and beyond during the debt-ceiling circus of 2011.

Their plan to do so is just as hopeless as their plan to privatize Medicare however, because after President Obama starts campaigning full time and Americans are made aware of the Republican plan, they aren't going to like what they hear. This is, without a doubt, a losing issue for the Republicans. It was a losing issue in 2011, and it will be an even bigger loser in 2012.

Meanwhile, the Republican presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, endorsed the original Paul Ryan Path to Poverty. Will they endorse the sequel?

If past is prologue, Mitt Romney will probably dance around the issue and never fully commit to supporting or opposing the Ryan plan, and we can all look forward to another 8 months of pretending he didn't serve as the basis for Affordable Care Act.