THE BIG BUCKS ARE FLYING – AT 10:15 A.M. ET: Republicans have unveiled their budget proposals. They are dramatic, and they will be controversial. From Bloomberg:
U.S. House Republicans today unveiled a plan to overhaul the federal budget and slash the deficit in coming years by about three-quarters, with a $6- trillion cut in spending and 25 percent cap on tax rates.
The proposal, the Republicans’ first comprehensive budget plan since the November elections, would cut the deficit next year to $995 billion from $1.4 trillion now. It would continue to narrow the shortfall to as little as $379 billion in 2018, though it wouldn’t balance the government’s books until 2040.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s plan relies on spending cuts to reduce the red ink, slicing more than $6 trillion over the next decade out of Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and scores of other programs. At the same time, his proposal calls for cutting taxes, with the top corporate and individual tax rates set at 25 percent.
“We believe that we have the moral responsibility to step in and provide the leadership that the president has not been providing,” Ryan told reporters today in Washington. “He punted on debt reduction. We’re not going to do that.”
The plan marks a major escalation in Washington’s budget wars where lawmakers have been debating for months funding levels for the remainder of the government’s current fiscal year. Ryan’s proposal presents substantial political risk for Republicans because Democrats are sure to pounce on proposed cuts to popular government programs before next year’s presidential and congressional elections.
COMMENT: At least the Republican proposals are serious and far-reaching. Paul Ryan, whose career may either be enhanced or fatally damaged by the sheer scope of these proposals, deserves enormous credit for shaping the GOP plan. He is a public servant in every sense.
The demagogues will now pounce. My fear is that they will be successful, for they will have the media fronting for them.
As we said here yesterday, the way the GOP presents and explains this plan will be just as important as the plan itself. Republicans should learn from the way Democrats botched the introduction of Obamacare.
April 5, 2011