Bernie Sanders blasts Paul Ryan over Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid cuts

Bernie Sanders blasts Paul Ryan over Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid cuts
© Camille Fine

It is astonishing to watch so many conservatives and Republicans compromise and betray core values that once comprised the heart and soul of their philosophy.

Remember when Republicans stood for national defense and attacked liberals for being “soft on communism”? While some Republicans and conservatives stand tall opposing Russian attacks against America that are now under intense investigation, other conservatives and Republicans defend a president who has praised the Russian dictator who attacks us, and they attack the American investigators who are battling against the Russian crime.  

Remember when conservatives and Republicans claimed to be the champions of family values? Some of them stand for those values today, while others support Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate campaign, a man who has been called a sexual predator by nine brave women, and the Republican National Committee pours campaign money into his campaign.


Remember when conservatives and Republicans claimed to be the party of fiscal responsibility and cutting deficits? When the Senate recently passed the tax cut bill, every single Republican except Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerFormer Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report McConnell 'almost certain' GOP will pass tax reform Former New Mexico gov: Trump's foreign policy is getting 'criticized by everybody' MORE (R-Tenn.) made a mockery of their promises of fiscal responsibility by passing a bill that would bloat the deficit by almost $1.5 trillion.  

And now House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) vows to cut the bloated deficit he works to increase with the tax cut by attacking Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and welfare for the poorest among us. Has Ryan no shame?

Once again, as he has so many times throughout a brilliant career, Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersSchumer: Franken should resign Franken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (I-Vt.) rises to condemn the cruelty, harshness and hypocrisy of Ryan’s raising the deficit with his tax cuts for the rich while planning to hurt the rest of America with his attacks against cherished and popular Democratic programs including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Sanders is right. Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenOvernight Regulation: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court battle | Watchdog to investigate EPA chief's meeting with industry group | Ex-Volkswagen exec gets 7 years for emissions cheating Overnight Tech: Net neutrality supporters predict tough court fight | Warren backs bid to block AT&T, Time Warner merger | NC county refuses to pay ransom to hackers Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign MORE (D-Mass.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownThe Hill's 12:30 Report Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Overnight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules MORE (D-Ohio), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharFranken resignation could upend Minnesota races Avalanche of Democratic senators say Franken should resign Trump-free Kennedy Center Honors avoids politics MORE (D-Minn.), Chuck SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerAmerica isn't ready to let Sessions off his leash Schumer celebrates New York Giants firing head coach: ‘About time’ GOP should reject the left's pessimism and the deficit trigger MORE (D-N.Y.), and countless other House and Senate Democrats are right when they condemn the cruelty and hypocrisy of Republican policies that shower the wealthiest with lavish rewards and punish poor and middle-class Americans who comprise the heart of the nation with attacks against the programs that serve them so well.

For many years Sanders, Warren and other progressives warned the nation that the real agenda of Ryan and other Republicans is to balloon the deficit by lavishing benefits on the 1 percent, then pay for their massive projects of class bias and social injustice by trying to force the 99 percent to pay for them.

This week Ryan essentially confessed that Sanders and the others were right all along! It is amazing and politically suicidal. First, Ryan makes a mockery of his pretensions to fiscal responsibility with a tax-cut bill that would make the deficit soar, and then, citing the skyrocketing deficit he would create with the tax cuts, he prepares to attack some of the worthiest, most popular programs that Democrats have given the nation.

My answer to President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE and Republican leaders in Congress, using words made famous by Clint Eastwood, is: Make my day.

Let Republicans campaign in the midterms for more tax cuts, for the wealthiest Americans and the most profitable corporations, that actually raise taxes for many Americans with incomes under $75,000. Let Republicans campaign against Social Security, against Medicare and against Medicaid to pay for their tax cuts for the rich.

There are reasons the GOP attacks on healthcare, and their class-biased tax cuts that so hugely benefit the wealthy, are so widely unpopular with voters. There are reasons that Democrats lead Republicans by large margins in most generic polling for the midterm elections.

Let President Trump and Republican leaders run on a platform of waging war against programs so many Americans support, to finance policies so many Americans oppose.

Sanders is right. There are reasons Sanders ran ahead of Trump by double-digit margins in almost all match-up polls throughout the 2016 campaign. There are reasons Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE defeated Trump by 3 million popular votes in the last election.  There are reasons Democrats shellacked Republicans in the 2017 elections.

Sanders is right: The post-Trump era is coming sooner than people think.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.