It’ll be big news all day tomorrow after they formally roll it out on the Hill so familiarize yourself with the broad strokes now. Paul Ryan was coy yesterday when Chris Wallace pressed him for a firm number, but here it is: $4.4 trillion less in spending over 10 years if we’re going by CBO’s numbers or, if you prefer to use Obama’s cynical, unserious, catastrophic budget proposal as the baseline, it’s $6.2 trillion over the next decade. Just a few hours ago, the Treasury Department warned that the U.S. will hit the debt ceiling no later than May 16, with a do-or-die date of July 8 if the first deadline is missed and Treasury has to use “extraordinary measures” to extend it. So at long, long, long, long last, we’re finally going to have that “adult conversation” on entitlements that both parties have been promising us for decades — with a federal default bearing down on us, no less.
How long do you suppose the tenor of the conversation will stay “adult”? Over/under is 36 hours.
The president’s recent budget proposal would accelerate America’s descent into a debt crisis. It doubles debt held by the public by the end of his first term and triples it by 2021. It imposes $1.5 trillion in new taxes, with spending that never falls below 23% of the economy. His budget permanently enlarges the size of government. It offers no reforms to save government health and retirement programs, and no leadership.
Our budget, which we call The Path to Prosperity, is very different. For starters, it cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president’s budget over the next 10 years, reduces the debt as a percentage of the economy, and puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt. Our proposal brings federal spending to below 20% of gross domestic product (GDP), consistent with the postwar average, and reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion.
A study just released by the Heritage Center for Data Analysis projects that The Path to Prosperity will help create nearly one million new private-sector jobs next year, bring the unemployment rate down to 4% by 2015, and result in 2.5 million additional private-sector jobs in the last year of the decade. It spurs economic growth, with $1.5 trillion in additional real GDP over the decade. According to Heritage’s analysis, it would result in $1.1 trillion in higher wages and an average of $1,000 in additional family income each year…
This budget would focus on growth by reforming the nation’s outdated tax code, consolidating brackets, lowering tax rates, and assuming top individual and corporate rates of 25%. It maintains a revenue-neutral approach by clearing out a burdensome tangle of deductions and loopholes that distort economic activity and leave some corporations paying no income taxes at all.
Read it all. Everything is on the table: Medicare, Social Security, even “Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s plan to target inefficiencies at the Pentagon.” Peter Robinson calls it “the most important domestic proposal of our lifetimes” and “the first concerted, credible effort to shrink the federal government since the birth of the welfare state seven decades ago.” TPM calls it, well, you can guess. I keep hoping against hope that The One will gradually realize that signing on to this plan, or some version of it, is actually in his interest politically. There’s literally nothing he could do to alienate the left to the point where they won’t vote for him — most of them trust his judgment more than they trust their own, an unforeseen side effect of Hopenchange messianism — so he could win over independents by coopting Ryan’s plan and have nothing to fear about losing liberals in the general election. There’d be nothing much to fear from seniors, either: I think Ryan and Boehner are so sincere about tackling this problem that they’ll give O whatever bipartisan cover he needs to get this done. (Boehner has promised as much.) And needless to say, whoever the GOP nominee ends up being, there’ll be no complaints from him/her that Obama and the GOP have cut too much. Take the deal, champ.