In announcing the Republicans’ new budget and tax plan Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan said “We are sharpening the contrast between the path that we’re proposing and the path of debt and decline the president has placed us upon.”
Ryan is right about sharpening the contrast. But the plan doesn’t do much to reduce the debt. Even by its own estimate the deficit would drop to $166 billion in 2018 and then begin growing again.
The real contrast is over what the plan does for the rich and what it does to everyone else. It reduces the top individual and corporate tax rates to 25 percent. This would give the wealthiest Americans an average tax cut of at least $150,000 a year.
The money would come out of programs for the elderly, lower-middle families, and the poor.
Seniors would get subsidies to buy private health insurance or Medicare – but the subsidies would be capped. So as medical costs increased, seniors would fall further and further behind.
Other cuts would come out of food stamps, Pell grants to offset the college tuition of kids from poor families, and scores of other programs that now help middle-income and the poor.
saying: The proposal scales back the controversial Medicare reforms that drew such a strong response from Democrats a year ago. But it offers a Republican touchstone for spending, taxes, and debt likely to resonate in the national dialogue through November elections.
Moreover, it gives Republicans the ability to say they're promoting actual solutions to the nation's long-term financial problems and to remind voters that Senate Democrats haven't passed a budget in more than three years.
“If we have a difference of opinion with the president and the direction he and the Senate leaders have taken the country, which we do, we feel morally bound to offer a choice,” said Mr. Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, at a morning press conference on Tuesday. “And we had a legal obligation in our budget laws to produce a budget.”
One thing the two proposals have in common? Roughly the same enactment prospects (zero). But the Ryan budget's contrast with the White House offers a Republican touchstone for spending, taxes, and debt likely to resonate in the national dialogue through November elections. It gives Republicans the ability to say they’re promoting actual solutions to the nation’s long-term financial problems and remind Senate Democrats that they haven’t passed a budget in more than three years.
Like Ryan's proposal last year, the fiscal year 2013 budget has virtually no chance of passing the Senate or being signed by Mr. Obama.