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Paul Ryan’s Budget

The Republican alternative budget, introduced this morning by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is here. It has cost analyses and projections, unlike the widely panned “blueprint” released last week by House GOP leaders, and it’s unfortunate for Ryan that the previous botched press conference stole his thunder. But there are problems here, too, such as Ryan’s decision to project both budgets into the year 2080. No one has scored the Democratic budget through 2080—Republicans just drew a line projecting the increased spending into the distant future. The result:

Under current policy, debt held by the public soars to the improbable level of more than 800 percent of GDP (though the economy would crash well before this level were reached).

There are more serious short-term Republican proposals, which bring together ideas that the party has pushed since the stimulus debate began.

• A cap on spending “as a percentage of GDP at the spending levels projected to result from the this legislation.”

• Ending the estate tax, permanently.

• Cutting the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 25 percent.

• A one-year moratorium on earmarks “until a commission reports reforms.”

• A simplified tax code of “10 percent on adjusted gross income up to $100,000 for joint filers, and $50,000 for single filers; and 25 percent on taxable income above these amounts.”

• More oil drilling after “a review and streamlining of environmental laws and regulations that apply to energy production,” with some of the gains put into clean energy research funds.

• Reforming Social Security by reducing the 15-percent Primary Insurance Amount bracket by 0.25 percentage points per year.

The plan is notably vague about entitlement spending, which takes some of the heat off Republicans who could be accused of backing big Medicare and Medicaid cuts.

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