FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
The “Extreme” Ryan Budget
In the coming days, we will invariably be subjected to a barrage of lies about the “extreme” Ryan budget. As such, it’s worthwhile to reexamine the latest version of his budget, and view it in its proper context. Here are some talking points for Soledad O’Brien the next time she wants to grill a Democrat on the Ryan budget:
- The budget won’t balance until 2040, yet that is considered extreme for Democrats. After all, their budget, which never balances even with massive tax increases, is mainstream.
- Spending will be reduced from 24% of GDP to 19.8% – roughly equal with the post-WWII average. The debt held by the public would only decline from73.2% of GDP to 62.3% under this budget.
- Out of Obama’s $11.575 trillion in discretionary spending, Ryan’s budget cuts just $352 billion, a mere 3%. Evidently, 2008 (Pelosi era) spending levels were extremely low. Some of those cuts come from farm subsidies – cuts that Obama claims to support.
- Under Ryan’s plan, spending would still increase by about 3% a year after 2015. Even after the full 10 years of Ryan’s “slash and burn budget,” outlays will reach $4.9 trillion by 2022, only 13% less than forecast in Obama’s budget.
- Not one penny of the projected $10.5 trillion in Social Security spending is cut or altered in any way. It will remain insolvent for the entire 10-year budget frame.
- What about the much-maligned Medicare plan? Unlike the original version of the Ryan Roadmap, free market forces are interjected into the Medicare system not through direct vouchers, but through government subsidized and regulated private healthcare exchanges. This is not too different from a major aspect of Obamacare (although it’s important to note that Ryan-Wyden makes single-payer healthcare for those over 65 slightly more free market, while Obama makes ‘under 65’ healthcare more government-run). More importantly, the latest Ryan plan retains the inefficient inflation-inducing traditional fee-for-service Medicare as an option for those under 55, while those over 55 will all remain on traditional Medicare. Ryan-Wyden contains layer upon layer of means-tested subsidies to fill in the remaining holes and ensure that most seniors are shielded from (God forbid) paying almost anything for their own healthcare. Anyone who opposes this plan (from the left) simply cannot and will not support any plan to reduce the unsustainable cost and inflationary effect of Medicare. Hence, it is they who are throwing grannie over the cliff.
- The budget achieves $770 billion in savings from Medicaid off of Obama’s $4.2 trillion baseline. This is achieved by block granting the program to the states, encouraging them to innovate and save money instead of enticing them to add more people to the Medicaid rolls.
- The Ryan budget will still add an additional $3.1 trillion to the debt over the next 10 years. That might be considered extreme by Obama’s standards because he has added $5 trillion in just 3.5 years.
Extremism and moderation are all relative terms, but when compared to Obama’s “mainstream” budget, which garnered a grand total of zero votes in the Senate, Ryan’s budget is only mildly extreme. Then again, for Obama and his minions, any budget that balances within the century is extreme and an anathema to his inexorable desire to bankrupt this country.