House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan on Tuesday released the House Republican budget, which promises to eliminate the annual deficit by 2023 and cuts projected spending growth over the next decade by $5 trillion.
As promised, the budget repeals the president’s health care law, replacing it with what Ryan describes as “patient-centered” reforms. The budget also makes changes to Medicare for future beneficiaries.
“Anyone who attacks our Medicare proposal without offering a credible alternative is complicit in the program’s demise,” Ryan warns in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
The former vice presidential candidate’s plan paves the way for comprehensive tax reforms to be made, including the reduction of the U.S. corporate income tax, the highest of all developed countries. It also approves the highly controversial Keystone XL pipeline), welfare reform, and tax reform.
Ryan concedes critics will cry “austerity” and claim the budget risks recession, but contends “a balanced budget will help the economy. Smaller deficits will keep interest rates low, which will help small businesses to expand and hire.”
“On the current path, we’ll spend $46 trillion over the next 10 years. Under our proposal, we’ll spend $41 trillion. On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year. Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%,” Ryan writes, making the case that his plan is not as dire as his critics would contend.
Ezra Klein of the Washington Post compared the budget to social engineering. “Ryan’s budget is intended to do nothing less than fundamentally transform the relationship between Americans and their government,” he writes.
The Democratic-controlled Senate is expected to release their budget Wednesday.
“Dealing with the difference of opinion is tough,” said Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of finding a common ground for budget negotiations.
The president has four scheduled meetings on Capitol Hill this week to meet with both Republican and Democratic leadership.
“The president and his aides have said that this rare display of bipartisan outreach, coming a week after Mr. Obama dined with a dozen Republican senators, is intended to help foster cooperation between the parties,” the New York Times reports.
Meanwhile, Ryan tries to make the moral case for a balanced budget.
“Yet the most important question isn’t how we balance the budget. It’s why,” he writes in the WSJ.
“By giving families stability and protecting them from tax hikes, our budget will promote a healthier economy and help create jobs. Most important, our budget will reignite the American Dream, the idea that anyone can make it in this country.”
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