House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., unveiled a new budget on Tuesday that would cut spending by $5.7 trillion and reduce the top tax rate to 25 percent in a quest to balance the federal budget in the next decade.
The plan, which is already the subject of pronounced criticism for its enormous reductions in healthcare spending, would double down on many of the proposals Paul espoused as the GOP vice presidential candidate in 2012.
“By living beyond our means, we’re stealing from the next generation. By promising a higher standard of living today, the federal government is guaranteeing a lower standard of living tomorrow,” Ryan said in the bill. “Unless we change course, we will have a debt crisis.”
In particular, the proposal would alter the federal Medicare program by giving seniors the option to purchase private insurance with the help of a government voucher, instead of receiving service directly through Medicare. The changes would apply to individuals who are age 54 and younger.
While the Ryan budget doesn't make any changes to the Social Security program, it does require Congress to compromise on a plan that would presumably help the program remain solvent.
Click here to read the full budget.
Here's is the text to the introduction of the 2014 House budget:
The United States faces many challenges. This year, unemployment will hover around 8 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Economic growth will remain tepid. The national debt recently eclipsed the size of our economy. Millions of families are stuck in foreclosure. Student loans are piling up. Gas prices are at historic highs. And soon, families will struggle with a new health-care bureaucracy, while medical costs further erode their paychecks.
It’s no surprise, then, that most Americans think we’re on the wrong track.2 By living beyond our eans, we’re stealing from the next generation. By promising a higher standard of living today, the federal government is guaranteeing a lower standard of living tomorrow. So it’s troubling to consider where this track will lead. Unless we act, by 2023, we will add another $8.2 trillion to our national debt. That debt will weigh down our country like an anchor.
Unless we change course, we will have a debt crisis. Pressed for cash, the government will take the easy way out: It will crank up the printing presses. The final stage of this intergenerational theft will be the debasement of our currency. Government will cheat us of our just rewards. Our finances will collapse. The economy will stall. The safety net will unravel. And the most vulnerable will suffer.
But it’s not too late. This budget provides an exit ramp from the current mess—and an entry ramp to a better future. Unlike the President’s last budget, which never balanced, this budget achieves balance within ten years. In the next decade, it spends $4.6 trillion less than will be provided under the current path. The fact is, we owe the American people a balanced budget. The less we owe to foreign creditors, the more of our future we will control.
And we balance the budget for an important reason: An unbalanced budget is a sign of overreach. When government does too much, it doesn’t do anything well. So our budget makes room for community—for the vast middle ground between government and the person. It recognizes that people do not find happiness in grim isolation or by government fiat. They find it through friendship— through free, vibrant exchange with the people around them. They find it through achievement. They find it in their families and neighborhoods, their places of worship and youth groups. They find it in a healthy mix of self-fulfillment and belonging.
While we belong to one country, we also belong to thousands of communities—each of them rich in tradition. And these communities don’t obstruct our personal growth. They encourage it. So the duty of government is not to displace these communities, but to support them. It isn’t to blunt their differences or to flatten their character—to mash them all together into a dull conformity. It’s to secure our individual rights and to protect that diversity.
We are a self-governing people. Yet, if we can’t manage our own affairs, we can hardly govern a nation. It’s in the assembly hall and the boardroom—in the town meeting and the state legislature— that we learn how to govern. And that’s where we forge our common bonds. Yes, government is one of those bonds. But it can’t unite 300 million people—not on its own. It needs our communities to tie us together.
Today, our communities—our families, in particular—face many dangers: rising health-care costs, a stagnant economy, a massive debt, an uncertain world. These dangers require a lean, dynamic government—one that can protect its people and keep its word. They also require government to respect its limits—to understand it plays a role in our lives, but not the leading one.This budget seeks to revive our communities with an emphasis on six areas. It expands opportunity by growing our economy. It strengthens the safety net by retooling federal aid. It secures seniors’ retirement by reforming entitlements. It restores fair play to the marketplace by ending cronyism. It keeps our country safe by rebuilding our military. And it ends Washington’s culture of reckless spending.
None of these priorities can be met if a debt crisis hits. This budget gets government spending under control. Balancing the budget is a sensible goal—a commitment that both parties should share. And because our debt has grown with greater speed, the Committee on the Budget has tackled it with greater urgency. But our aim isn’t merely a balanced ledger. It’s the well-being of our people. We need government to focus on the people’s priorities—not its own. And so our budget returns the federal government to its proper limits and focus.
We can overcome these challenges—and we must. It’s our duty to leave the next generation a better country than the one we inherited. We know what the problem is: We have to fix our entitlements and to grow the economy. We understand that not everyone shares our view. And we respect that difference of opinion. Last year, the American people chose divided government.So this year, we have to make it work. We offer this budget in recognition of that need—and in a spirit of good will.Paul RyanChairman of the House Budget CommitteeMember of Congress, First District of WisconsinMarch 12, 2013House Budget
Ashley covers U.S. politics for the International Business Times, with a focus on civil liberties, women's issues and campaign finance. Her work has also appeared in The...