Expert take: Weighing in on Paul Ryan’s budget
Romina Boccia of the Heritage Foundation gave us her take on the benefits of Paul Ryan’s recently proposed budget, and what it means for the GOP:
Briefly, what are the top three points about this budget that are the most advantageous from the Republican perspective?
“Repealing Obamacare is the first thing, Medicare premium support is crucial, and the Ryan budget does slow the growth of federal spending significantly. This would allow the budget to save more than five trillion dollars over the ten year period, and this would actually lower public debt from the current level of 72 percent of GDP down to 56 percent of GDP.
“The most important thing is that the Ryan budget would repeal the entire Obamacare healthcare law, and that it saves about two trillion dollars over the ten year period. And even though it would repeal all of the tax increases that came with the Affordable Care Act, through tax reform the Ryan budget expects to bring in about the same amount of revenue as would be collected now, done in a broader, fairer way that would also rely in part on greater economic growth.
“Another highlight is that this budget continues to push for greater choices for seniors and savings through implementing the Medicare premium support system. The one downside is because Ryan wants to shield seniors 55 and younger from any changes to Medicare, these reforms don’t phase in until nine years down the road. This reform helps seniors and tax payers by making Medicare subject to greater market competition, and having private options available to seniors would help them save on their premiums, would likely produce greater quality care, save tax payers money, and would impose some competition on the government and their mismanagement of those programs.”
A third highlight, thinking about reforms, this budget would give states more flexibility and save the federal government money by doing so, especially when it comes to welfare programs that include incentives for people to work.
Has the Republican Party in this budget addressed or taken into consideration counters from Democratic opponents?
“This budget, because it is authored by the Republican-controlled House Budget Committee under Chairman Paul Ryan, allows them to really put out their vision for federal spending and the role of the government over the course of the decade. Basically, because the Senate has refused to do a budget this year, they sort of said there wouldn’t be any action on major spending reforms or tax reforms this year. So with that in mind, that there isn’t any prospect of achieving a compromise this year, the budget does have more flexibility in terms of putting forth conservative proposals without having to strive for proposals that might achieve a compromise, because it’s not on the table.
“The Ryan budget does, however, suffer from disagreements within the Republican conference. If you’re thinking about the tax plan, Ryan does mention that it would build on some of the foundations laid out by Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee Dave Camp, but then it doesn’t adopt that plan either, and Ryan is very clear that there are disagreements within the Republican conference about what tax reform looks like.
“It’s a realistic budget that could actually be implemented. By no means is this a radical budget that would cut the size of government to levels that would be unusual.”
What now? If the Senate isn’t going to act, what was the point? In the event that the Republicans regain the Senate in 2014?
“I think it was very important that the House Budget Committee put out this budget that continues to drive for budget balance within the ten year budget window. It also continues to stretch the policies and give the Republicans and other members of the House the opportunity to vote on this budget and therefore communicate their vision for government as well. It puts members of Congress on the record for what policies they support and it puts out a positive agenda as well, as to if they had their way, what policy changes they would implement.
“So I think it’s very important in terms of transparency and accountability and showing the American people what the GOP agenda is.”