Afternoon Roundup: Harmful and Unrealistic GOP Budget Edition

A look at the headlines after Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his budget this morning shows that Americans aren’t fooled by the extreme Republican budget that continues to focus on partisan politics and relies on false budgeting gimmicks:

Time: New Paul Ryan Budget Cuts Trillions in Spending, Faces Difficult Vote

“While all of this may sound like a Republican, or at least Tea Party, dream, Ryan is expected to have a tough time getting his bill through the House. The measure assumes a 2015 spending baseline as prescribed in the deal he made with Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray earlier this year. That baseline mitigates the sequester cuts and assumes a higher level of spending than House Republicans like. Sixty-two Republicans voted against that deal, which passed on Democratic support. There will be no Democratic votes for the Ryan budget as it includes drastic cuts to programs Democrats seek to protect, which means Ryan must convince those 62 nay votes to support his budget despite the short-term increase in spending.”

The Washington Post: Ryan’s last budget proposal would slash $5 trillion over the next decade

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled a spending proposal Tuesday that would slash more than $5 trillion in federal spending over the next decade, primarily by repealing President Obama's signature health law.”

“Ryan uses his final budget to distance himself from a tax overhaul advocated by the outgoing Ways and Means chairman, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), who on Monday announced plans to retire. The Ryan budget does not contain a counterproposal to Camp's, except to reassert the goal of a top individual tax rate of 25 percent, collapsing the current seven individual income-tax brackets into two brackets and calling for consideration of several ideas to overhaul the tax system.”

“Ryan's plan recycles several proposals from previous years that remain popular with GOP lawmakers, including repealing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act. But he keeps the taxes and cuts to Medicare mandated by the law. He calls for privatizing Medicare by changing it from an entitlement program into a voucher-style program.“

“Overall, Ryan would cut about $5.1 trillion from projected spending over the next decade, with nearly $3 trillion coming from repealing the health-care law and revamping Medicaid. Still, Ryan's proposals fall short of balancing the budget, forcing him to resort to a vague promise of new revenue from "economic growth" to meet his goal of wiping out deficits by 2024.”

New York Times: Ryan Budget Would Cut Food Stamps and Medicaid Deeply

“Representative Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin on Tuesday will lay out a tough, election-year budget that he says will come into balance by 2024, in large part through steep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps and the full repeal of President Obama’s health care law, just as millions begin to see its benefits.”

“But even with those cuts, Mr. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, is counting on a boost of economic growth to balance the budget, a boost he says will be gained by reducing the deficit. Many economists believe such dramatic spending cuts — especially those affecting the poor — would have the opposite effect, slowing the economy and lowering tax receipts.”

“The budget resolution, which will be formally adopted by Mr. Ryan’s committee on Wednesday, will serve more as a 2014 Republican campaign manifesto than a legislative agenda.”

“But the toughest cuts would come from domestic programs that have already been reduced steadily since 2011, when Republicans took control of the House. Mr. Ryan’s 2024 domestic spending figure would be lower in nominal dollars than such spending was in 2005. Adjusted for inflation, it would be a 29 percent cut from today’s levels, and 28 percent below the average level of Bush administration spending.”

Wall Street Journal: Paul Ryan Unveils GOP Plan to Balance Budget in 10 Years

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) Tuesday proposed eliminating the government's budget deficit in 10 years through major changes to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and other programs—and took the controversial step of counting in assumptions on how the plan would spur economic growth.”

“Mr. Ryan's decision to build in assumptions about economic growth is a controversial part of budget math, and he didn't include the same assumptions in prior proposals. This sort of analysis is popular with Republicans, who often cite it in proposals to cut taxes. Steve Bell, an ex-GOP Senate budget aide now with the Bipartisan Policy Center, called Mr. Ryan's move ‘unconventional,’ but wouldn't expound further.”

Politico: Paul Ryan’s budget makes big Medicare changes:

“It’s Paul Ryan’s wish list.”

“The House Republican 2015 budget, penned by the Wisconsin Republican, will seek to shave federal spending by $5 trillion by offering changes to social welfare programs, ending government ownership of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and repealing Obamacare.”

“Unveiled on Tuesday, Ryan’s budget is nothing more than a political document, which serves as an outline of Republican priorities going into the November election.”

MSNBC: Paul Ryan’s April Fool’s joke

“But House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) today unveiled a 99-page document anyway, not because he had to but because he wanted to. This is a political exercise, intended to make an election-year point. That’s not intended as criticism, per se – political exercises in election years are hardly outrageous – but it’s important to realize this more of a Republican fantasy. There’s no pretense that this will actually become the nation’s budget.”

“In recent years, the House Budget Committee chairman has struggled to actually pay for all of this – it’d insult smoke and mirrors to call Ryan’s financing ‘smoke and mirrors’ – so this year he embraces ‘dynamic scoring.’ In other words, Ryan believes he can pay for his wish list by implementing it, which he’s certain would make the economy soar, which means he’s comfortable counting predicted revenue as actual revenue.”

Huffington Post: Paul Ryan Unveils House GOP Budget, Claiming Balance

“House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled an updated Republican budget plan Tuesday that would slash $5.1 trillion in federal spending over coming decade and promises to balance the government's books with wide-ranging cuts in programs like food stamps and government-paid health care for the poor and working class.”

“Ryan's plan would also cut Pell Grants for low-income students and pensions for federal workers, while steering away from cuts to benefits for senior citizens, at least in the short term. The proposal would reprise a voucher-like Medicare program for future retirees that would be the basis for GOP claims that the measure would drive down government debt over the long term. It also relies on unofficial scorekeeping help from the Congressional Budget Office, reflecting the beneficial effects of deficit cuts on long-term economic growth and tax revenues.”

“The legislation promises to serve more as a political and policy statement by House Republicans than a realistic attempt to engage President Barack Obama and Democrats, who control the Senate, in any serious effort to further cut the deficit. Election-year politics are in play, for starters, as are entrenched differences over spending and taxes.”

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