This morning, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled the latest GOP budget blueprint. The plan cuts $4.6 trillion over the next decade, bringing the budget into balance by 2023. The principal savings in the plan come from a repeal of ObamaCare.
Washington's budget debate is premised on the notion that solving the deficit is complicated and requires a series of unpleasant choices. Ryan's budget blueprint puts a lie to that notion. Current budget baselines assume an annual 5% increase in federal spending. Ryan's budget holds the annual increase to 3.4%. A yearly increase above the rate of inflation is hardly a step down the path to austerity.
Almost half the savings in the Ryan budget come from a repeal of ObamaCare. Eliminating Obama's new health care entitlement saves $1.8 trillion over the next decade.
Another $1 trillion in savings come from making basic reforms to existing health care entitlements, Medicaid and Medicare. Ryan's plan block-grants much of Medicaid to the states, giving them greater flexibility to provide health care to recipients. In many ways, the plan builds on the success of President Clinton's welfare reform in the 1990s. That program gave states greater flexibility to design programs to move people out of welfare and into jobs.
Ryan's Medicare reforms reduce federal spending by introducing greater competition into the senior's health insurance market. The plan mimics the health benefits of federal workers and members of Congress, who select from a range of coverage options. The federal government would provide full premium support for a basic package of coverage, allowing seniors to select plans that best meet their needs.
Ryan's budget provides a good framework for evaluating the choices we face in bringing down our budget deficit. The choices aren't nearly as dire as Democrats and Obama often present them. Rather than sacrifices, it provides choices. Like everything else in our lives, greater choice provides better services at lower cost. Government does not operate in an alternative universe.
The left will no doubt demagogue Ryan's budget. They can only do so by denying the economic forces that shape every other aspect of our life.
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