published Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Courageous, bipartisan budget plan

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has proposed a long-term budget plan that would put the United States on a path to fiscal responsibility. The plan would cut deficits nearly $5 trillion over 10 years, compared with only $1 trillion that President Barack Obama’s budget framework would cut. Also unlike the Obama plan, Ryan’s plan “is on par with recommendations from Obama’s own bipartisan deficit commission in December,” The Associated Press noted.

The key to Ryan’s bipartisan proposal is a plan he crafted with Alice Rivlin, who was a White House budget director in the Clinton administration, to reform Medicare, which is headed for bankruptcy. Americans 55 or older could stay in Medicare or switch to a new plan that would apply to anyone 54 or younger. Those 54 or younger would get vouchers from the government to buy medical insurance from one of many private plans. Lower-income or sicker beneficiaries would get more money.

Medicaid would be reformed, too, with the federal government turning it over to states and providing them lump sums to run the program. They could fashion it to suit their needs, without heavy federal dictation.

Ryan’s blueprint would give the federal tax code a needed overhaul as well, by getting rid of many of its lobbyist-backed tax breaks. The plan would promote economic growth by reducing the top income tax rate on individuals and corporations from 35 percent to 25 percent.

Even with the much bigger spending cuts that this plan envisions compared with the president’s plan, it would take years before deficits get somewhat under control. But isn’t it wiser to begin that effort now rather than wait until disaster is upon us?

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acerigger said...

“If the House Republican budget blueprint released on Tuesday is the “path to prosperity” that its title claims, it is hard to imagine what ruin would look like. The plan would condemn millions to the ranks of the uninsured, raise health costs for seniors and renege on the obligation to keep poor children fed. It envisions lower taxes for the wealthy than even George W. Bush imagined: A permanent extension for his tax cuts, plus large permanent estate-tax cuts, a new business tax cut and a lower top income tax rate for the richest taxpayers. […] The deficit is a serious problem, but the Ryan plan is not a serious answer.” [New York Times, 4/6/11]

April 7, 2011 at 3:14 p.m.
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