By Jueseppi B.
House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan unveiled a budget Tuesday that he says balances the budget in 10 years. Ryan invited President Obama and Senate Democrats to come together and put forth their ideas on how to balance the budget.
Paul Ryan Unveils House Budget Plan
Published on Mar 12, 2013
House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan unveiled a budget Tuesday that he says balances the budget in 10 years. Ryan invited President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats to come together and put forth their ideas on how to balance the budget. (March 12)
From The New York Times:
There’s nothing wrong with President Obama speed-dating members of Congress. Meeting face to face over food and wine, as Mr. Obama has recently done with several groups of lawmakers from both parties, may ease the demonizing politics of the last four years — along with the president’s well-earned reputation for aloofness. And given how little some Republicans know about his budget proposals — one senator confessed he had no idea what Mr. Obama wanted to cut before last week’s dinner — the shared meals were probably overdue.
But Mr. Obama should have no illusions about the core beliefs of some of his Republican dining partners, or their willingness to accept change. That was made clear on Tuesday when the House Budget Committee chairman, Representative Paul Ryan, unveiled his 2014 spending plan: a retread of ideas that voters soundly rejected, made even worse, if possible, by sharper cuts to vital services and more dishonest tax provisions.
The budget, which will surely fly through the House, was quickly praised as “serious” and job-creating by the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, though it is neither. By cutting $4.6 trillion from spending over the next decade, it would reverse the country’s nascent economic growth, kill millions of real and potential jobs, and deprive those suffering the most of social assistance.
All the tired ideas from 2011 and 2012 are back: eliminating Medicare’s guarantee to retirees by turning it into a voucher plan; dispensing with Medicaid and food stamps by turning them into block grants for states to cut freely; repealing most of the reforms to health care and Wall Street; shrinking beyond recognition the federal role in education, job training, transportation and scientific and medical research. The public opinion of these callous proposals was made clear in the fall election, but Mr. Ryan is too ideologically fervid to have learned that lesson.
The 2014 budget is even worse than that of the previous two years because it attempts to balance the budget in 10 years instead of the previous 20 or more. That would take nondefense discretionary spending down to nearly 2 percent of the economy, the lowest in modern history. And in its laziest section, it sets a goal of slashing the top tax rate for the rich to 25 percent from 39.6 percent, though naturally Mr. Ryan doesn’t explain how this could happen without raising taxes on middle- and lower-income people. (Sound familiar?)
There’s no need, of course, to balance the budget in 10 years or even 20; these dates are arbitrary, designed solely to impress the extreme fiscal conservatives who now compose the core of the Republican Party. That same core in the House will almost certainly reject the 2014 Democratic budget expected from the Senate on Wednesday. It will take a far more evenhanded approach, cutting spending by $1 trillion while eliminating tax breaks for the wealthy and spending $100 billion on job training and infrastructure.
If the Ryan budget is any indication, Mr. Obama’s quest to bring reason to an unreasonable party may be doomed from the outset.
A version of this editorial appeared in print on March 13, 2013, on pageA24 of the New York edition with the headline: The Worst of the Ryan Budgets.
Paul Ryan Budget Plan Explained
Published on Aug 13, 2012
“Paul Ryan’s budget takes us back to 1950. That’s not a metaphor. That’s a statistic. When the CBO projected Ryan’s plan four decades into the future, it concluded that the size of government would shrink to 15% of the economy by 2050. How small is 15%? As a share of GDP, it would be the smallest government since 1950/’51. Here’s Ryan’s proposed 2050 budget and our real 1950 budget, side by side…”.* What would the impact be on education, the border patrol, FDA, FAA, FBI, Medicare, and Social Security? The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.
From The Huffington Post:
Paul Ryan Budget: House GOP Unveils Blueprint To Slash Medicaid, Medicare And Repeal Obamacare
WASHINGTON — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rolled out his latest budget proposal, offering an ambitious blueprint that promises to balance the budget in a decade by repealing President Barack Obama’s health care reforms and slashing Medicare, Medicaid and programs to help the poor.
Ryan’s previous budgets — used by Democrats as weapons in the last campaign season — did not strive for balance in any such near term, and even then many analysts predicted they would not work. Many deem a 10-year balancing plan as impossible to follow without wreaking havoc on the economic recovery.
Ryan was deaf to such objections, arguing that Congress has an obligation not just to achieve a sustainable debt — which Democrats say they favor — but to reduce it.
“This is not only a responsible, reasonable balanced plan. It’s also an invitation. This is an invitation to the president of the United States, to the Senate Democrats, to come together to fix these problems,” Ryan said in a Capitol Hill news conference Tuesday that laid out the $4.6 trillion in cuts he hopes to achieve in 10 years.
“We don’t think it’s fair to let critical programs like Medicare go bankrupt. We don’t think that it’s fair to take more from hard-working families to spend more in Washington,” he said. “The most important question isn’t how do we balance the budget, but why? A budget is a means to an end. An end is the well-being of the American people. An end is a growing economy that produces opportunity and upward mobility.”
Even as his budget claims to repeal Obamacare, it pockets the savings achieved under the health care law and keeps the revenue raised by it. It also seeks to cut Medicare by an additional $129 billion over 10 years by creating a voucher-like program seniors could choose instead of regular Medicare. It would cut Medicaid some $757 billion by converting the program into block grants for the states. Other programs — among them food stamps — would be cut by some $962 billion.
The budget plan includes no cuts in Social Security. Obama has suggested changing an inflation measurement to cut more than $100 billion from the program.
Democrats were quick to hammer the proposal, saying it was another attempt to balance the budget on the backs of the middle class and poor while not asking the wealthy to do more.
“It’s deja vu all over again,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said even before Ryan spoke. “This budget reflects the same skewed priorities the Republican Party has championed for years, the same skewed priorities Americans rejected in November.”
Indeed, MItt Romney ran for president largely on a budget plan that resembled that of his running mate, Ryan, and lost decisively. Democrats also picked up seats in the House and Senate running against the philosophy of the Ryan budget.
Ryan argued that the election’s outcome didn’t matter.
“The election didn’t go our way. Believe me, I know what that feels like,” he said. “That means we surrender our principles? That means we stop believing what we believe in? Look, whether the country intended it or not, we have divided government. We have the second largest House majority we’ve had since World War II. And what we believe in this divided government era, we need to put up our vision.”
He also suggested maybe voters did agree with the GOP.
“Are a lot of these solutions very popular, and did we win these arguments in the campaign? Some of us think so,” Ryan said.
The White House reacted by saying that while sacrifices would be required on all sides, Ryan’s budget didn’t achieve that.
“While the House Republican budget aims to reduce the deficit, the math just doesn’t add up,” said spokesman Jay Carney in a statement. “Deficit reduction that asks nothing from the wealthiest Americans has serious consequences for the middle class.”
Reid elaborated on that point.
“The Ryan Republican budget will call for more tax breaks for the wealthy and an end to Medicare as we know it, and draconian cuts to education and other programs to help America’s economy grow and prosper,” Reid said, calling the plan’s apparent balance “gimmickry.”
“While House Republicans are doubling down on the extreme budget that the American people already rejected, Senate Democrats are going to be working on a responsible pro-growth budget that reflects the values and priorities of middle class families across the country,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who is due to release the Senate’s version of the budget Wednesday – its first in four years.
Democratic aides familiar with the document said it will include $975 billion in revenue from closing tax exemptions on higher-end earners and an equal amount in spending cuts — including $275 billion in health care cuts. It also aims to replace the across-the-board cuts from sequestration.
The Democratic budget would not seek to eliminate the deficit in 10 years, striving instead to stabilize the debt as a relatively small percentage of the gross domestic product. It aims to bring the total deficit reduction from the last couple of years of financial battles to $4.25 trillion over a decade.
Ryan acknowledged that the recent $600 billion in revenue raised from the fiscal cliff deal helps his budget, and that he would not try to undo the law that achieved that income. Yet Obamacare was another matter, he says, even though his plan keeps the $716 billion in savings it achieves from Medicare.
Ryan argued that the president’s signature health care law would prove to be disastrous for the nation’s health care system, resulting in a “rude awakening” for the American people.
“We don’t like this law. This is why we’re proposing to repeal this law in our budget,” Ryan said. “More importantly, we believe that this law is going to collapse under its own weight.”
The Senate Democrats’ version would preserve the funding to continue implementing the Affordable Care Act, which itself brings down the deficit by about $200 billion.
This article was updated after publication with details about the Senate Democrats’ budget proposal.
Rep. Paul Ryan Offers ‘Opening Bid’ on Budget Plan
Published on Mar 12, 2013
House Budget chair Rep. Paul Ryan put forth a blueprint that he says would cut the federal deficit by $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years. Democrats dismissed the proposal, saying the math doesn’t add up. Nancy Cook of National Journal joins Jeffrey Brown to explore the politics and math behind Paul’s budget bid.
From The Washington Post:
Ryan sets stage for a budget duel, targets health-care law
By Lori Montgomery, Updated: Tuesday, March 12
Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill are drafting radically different budget blueprints that offer little room for compromise, even as President Obama presses lawmakers to take another shot at a far-reaching agreement to tame the national debt.
On Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rolled out a 10-year spending plan that would revive the most controversial prescriptions from last year’s GOP budget, including a partial privatization of Medicare and a repeal of the health-care law that is Obama’s signature policy achievement.
Meanwhile, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) briefed her colleagues on a competing plan, to be released Wednesday, that would raise taxes by nearly $1 trillion over the next decade and spend nearly $100 billion on a new jobs package — ideas Republicans have firmly rejected.
“They’re opening bids. But they’re opening bids from three years ago,” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the bipartisan Concord Coalition, which champions deficit reduction. “The real question is: Do they start a negotiation this year? It’s not where they start, it’s where they finish. So you can take both of these budgets with a big grain of salt.”
Obama seemed to do that Tuesday in a lunchtime meeting with Senate Democrats, the first of four sessions he plans to hold this week with rank-and-file lawmakers in both parties.
While the White House issued a statement criticizing Ryan’s blueprint as “the wrong course for America,” Obama told Senate Democrats to expect a months-long debate over fiscal issues that will begin in earnest only after each chamber has approved its own partisan vision for improving the economy and shrinking the national debt.
“The best course now is to let the budgets go, get them into [a] conference [committee] and try to reconcile the two,” Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) said the president advised senators during the closed-door meeting.
Still, a senior administration official acknowledged that the dueling blueprints illustrate the immense challenge of trying to forge a compromise between a president and Democratic lawmakers, who insist on a big dose of new tax revenue to reduce borrowing, and Republicans, who refuse to consider any additional revenue beyond the relatively modest tax increase adopted Jan. 1.
Ryan, who campaigned against Obama last year as the GOP vice-presidential nominee, is offering the more uncompromising spending planby far, one that Democrats say ignores Obama’s convincing reelection victory less than five months ago.
In addition to repealing the president’s health-care expansion, the 91-page blueprint proposes rolling back the administration’s Wall Street reforms and opening federal land to oil drilling. Ryan also would protect the Pentagon from automatic spending cuts known as the sequester by shifting those reductions to domestic agencies. And he proposes to trim domestic agencies by an additional $250 billion over the next decade.
All told, Ryan would slice $4.6 trillion from projected spending, with more than half of those savings — $2.7 trillion — coming from the big health-care programs, primarily Medicaid and Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
That would let him wipe out deficits by 2023 without raising taxes. Ryan also calls for an overhaul of the tax code, but he would eliminate an array of tax breaks to finance a reduction in the top rate to 25 percent from 39.6 percent, a goal Democrats say would reduce taxes for the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.
At a Capitol Hill news conference, Ryan defended his decision to reprise policies that Obama and other Democrats opposed during the 2012 campaign.
“The election didn’t go our way. Believe me, I know what that feels like. That means we surrender our principles?” Ryan said. “We think we owe the country a balanced budget. We think we owe the country solutions to the big problems that are plaguing our nation: a debt crisis on the horizon. A slow-growing economy. People trapped in poverty. We’re showing our answers.”
As Ryan prepared for a vote on his budget in committee this week and before the full House next week, Senate Democrats were crafting a more modest blueprint that nonetheless retreats from the terms of the budget deal Obama has offered House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and, more recently, Republican senators gathered for dinner with the president last week at a Washington hotel.
Full details of the plan will be available Wednesday. Democratic aides and lawmakers briefed on the document said it proposes to replace the sequester cuts with $1.85 trillion in alternative policies over the next decade, including nearly $1 trillion in new taxes — far more than the $600 billion Obama is seeking.
Murray also proposes nearly $1 trillion in spending cuts, with just $275 billion coming from health programs, short of Obama’s $400 billion offer. And she seeks $100 billion for a new “economic recovery protection plan” that would fund infrastructure projects and education programs — and was quickly derided by Republicans as a new burst of “stimulus” spending.
In a statement, Murray called her plan “a responsible pro-growth budget that reflects the values and priorities of the middle class.” But Republicans pounced on the call for new taxes.
After 1,413 days without a spending plan, “all the Democrats can come up with for a budget is a trillion-dollar increase in taxes,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (Kan.).
Despite the sniping, there were signs that both sides are open to a compromise. In contrast to the combative tone Ryan adopted last spring, when a Republican takeover of the White House and the Senate seemed like a real possibility, Ryan this year acknowledged that Obama is unlikely to adopt his proposals. And he repeatedly referred to his spending plan as “an invitation” to open negotiations.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) welcomed Obama’s outreach to the GOP, which will continue Wednesday when the president returns to Capitol Hill to meet with House Republicans.
“I told the president on Friday I hope he’ll invite all of our members down for these dinners,” McConnell told reporters. “We all know that with the president’s request to raise the debt ceiling here again, later this summer, we’ll be discussing again the possibility of finally solving our huge deficit and debt problem.”
Paul Kane contributed to this report.
Maybe Paul should focus more on being a pretty boy and leave politics to those who actually care about the “47%’.
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