Latinos concerned that Ryan Budget will hurt lower-income families

With the presidential conventions and the upcoming elections looming, and the selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, the Ryan budget will continue to receive attention and be the subject of debate.

Rep. Ryan has proposed versions of his budget and tax plans in the past three years, some of which passed in the House of Representatives but did not pass into law.  With his selection as Vice Presidential candidate, there is new demand for analysis of these older Ryan budget plans.  NCLR (National Council of La Raza) policy experts this week hosted a webinar to shed light on how the Ryan budget would affect the nation’s Latinos if it were to become law.

“NCLR is deeply concerned about the potential impact of the Ryan budget on numerous critical programs that directly help millions of average Americans—including Latinos—who are striving to get an education, access health care, improve their jobs skills and provide for their families in a difficult job market, and save for their retirement,” said Leticia Miranda, Senior Policy Advisor at NCLR.  “The proposals by Rep. Ryan do not advance the common good of our nation, but rather make the ax fall hardest on the most vulnerable in our society.”

Of concern is that the Ryan budget would take from those in most need in our society in order to give, for example, $265,000 in additional tax breaks—above and beyond the Bush-era tax cuts—to each ofAmerica’s millionaires.  It also would make an immediate 19 percent unspecified cut to all non-defense discretionary programs—which include education, nutrition assistance, workforce development, housing, transportation, and other critical programs.  Furthermore, the Ryan budget proposes specific damaging cuts and fundamental changes to essential programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, which serve tens of millions of Americans who often depend on them for their very survival.

In particular, the Ryan budget and tax plans would affect Latinos in the following ways:

·         Health care.  The Ryan budget would cut $810 billion from Medicaid, which provides health care coverage to half of all Latino children.  Medicaid would be block-granted and no longer be available for everyone who qualifies, dropping more than 19 million Americans from the program.  The budget would also turn Medicare into private insurance and cap the coverage amount—threatening the highly vulnerable and disabled.  The average senior would pay $1,200 more out-of-pocket annually in order to receive the same care.  One in four Latinos is eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare and is especially vulnerable to these cuts.

·         Education.  The Ryan budget would cut 200,000 slots from Head Start.  Over a third of the children enrolled in Head Start are Latino.  More than two million Latino youth enrolled in colleges would see their pathway to higher education obstructed, as the Ryan budget would force the Pell Grant system to serve 865,000 fewer students, cut Pell Grants by $830 per student, and wipe out 125,000 work-study positions.

·         Social Security.  The Ryan budget would slash Social Security benefits, making the monthly benefit average fall from $1,249 today to $759 if the Ryan budget became law.  More than half of Latino seniors depend on Social Security for at least 90 percent of their income.  In addition, the Ryan budget calls for privatizing Social Security by sending part of our payroll taxes to Wall Street for private retirement accounts.

·         Tax credits.  The Ryan budget cuts tax credits so that a minimum-wage worker with two kids would see their Child Tax Credit (CTC) drop from $1,725 to $173.  A married couple with three children earning $27,713 would receive $1,934 less in CTC and Earned Income Tax Credits (EITC) benefits combined.  These cuts would affect 26 million children—including millions of Latino kids—who benefit from these two refundable tax credits which boost income for low-wage workers.  An estimated 33 percent of hard-working Latino families use the EITC.

“NCLR supports a budget that grows the economy, contains sufficient revenue to invest in children and our future, and protects vulnerable people.  The Ryan budget, unfortunately, fails all of these tests.  Instead, it would cut services to vulnerable people and disinvest in our nation’s children—hurting our economy while at the same time giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy,” concluded Miranda.

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