How Paul Ryan proposes to balance budget in 10 years

Alex Pappas Political Reporter
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WASHINGTON — House budget chairman Rep. Paul Ryan on Tuesday unveiled the GOP’s budget proposal that would slash $4.6 trillion in projected government spending over the next decade in order to balance the country’s budget by 2023.

“We owe the country a balanced budget,” the Republican congressman and 2012 vice presidential nominee said during a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday.

Ryan’s plan includes a combination of tax reform, reform of entitlements and repeal of President Obama’s health-care law.

“Are we going to continue to be complicit with never, ever balancing our budget and therefore guaranteeing an inferior standard of living for the next generation?” Ryan asked. “We know that this debt and this deficit is hurting our economy today and destroying the future of tomorrow.”

Here are some of the major bullet points from Ryan’s 91-page fiscal year 2014 budget proposal, “The Path to Prosperity”:

• Simplify the tax code to make it fairer to American families and businesses.
• Substantially lower tax rates for individuals, with a goal of achieving a top individual rate of 25 percent.
• Consolidate the current seven individual-income-tax brackets into two brackets with a first bracket of 10 percent.
• Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax.
• Reduce the corporate tax rate to 25 percent.
• Transition the tax code to a more competitive system of international taxation.
• Provide states flexibility on Medicaid.
• Repeal the health-care law’s expansion of Medicaid.
• Repeal the health-care law’s exchange subsidies.
• Allow states to customize SNAP to address the needs unique to their citizens.
• Reinstitute welfare’s work requirements.
• Preserve Medicare for those in or near retirement.
• Reform Medicare for younger generations.
• Repeal the health-care rationing board.
• Reform the medical-liability system.
• End the raid on the Medicare Trust Fund.
• Means-test premiums for high-income seniors.
• Require the President to submit a plan to shore up the Social Security Trust Fund.
• Reform civil-service pensions.
• Reform the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation.
• Reform civil-service pensions.
• Require the President to submit a plan to shore up the Social Security Trust Fund.
• Restore competition to the energy sector with the goal of energy independence.
• Stop the government from buying up unnecessary land.
• Wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
• Reform the Federal Credit Reform Act.
• Revisit flawed financial regulations.
• Repeal the President’s health-care law.
• Move toward patient-centered reform.
• Provide $560.2 billion for defense spending in fiscal year 2014, an amount consistent with America’s military goals and strategies.

Throughout the Tuesday press conference, Ryan challenged Democrats to offer a plan to solve the country’s debt problem.

“Show us how to balance the budget,” Ryan said. “If you don’t like the way we’re proposing to balance our budget, how do you propose to balance the budget?”

Democrats in the Senate — where Ryan’s budget would be dead on arrival — are expected to release their own budget proposal on Wednesday.

Even though it’s extraordinarily unlikely that President Obama’s health-care law could be repealed with a Democratic-controlled Senate and a Democrat in the White House, Ryan’s budget still proposes doing away with it.

“We don’t like this law,” Ryan said. “This is why we’re proposing to repeal this law in this budget. More importantly, we believe this law is going to collapse under its weight.”

On Tuesday, Ryan pushed back when a reporter asked him why he feels the need to put forth such a budget, even when Republicans lost the White House and Senate during the 2012 election.

“That means we surrender our principles?” an incredulous Ryan responded. “That means we stop believing in what we believe in?”

“What we believe in this divided government era, we need to put out vision,” Ryan said. “We think we owe the country a balance budget.”

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