House Republicans don’t have an official budget yet. But they have what amounts to a first draft. The official budget will be released in March or April and will be authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the ranking member of the House Budget Committee in consultation with the other Republicans on the Committee. But Ryan has released a budget he’d like. And it’s actually fairly detailed. And if you read it, which we have, you start to wonder why Democrats aren’t making a bigger deal out of it.
What’s in it? A few interesting things.
First, it calls for big cuts in Social Security benefits for everyone currently under 55 years of age. On top of the cuts it also calls for privatizing Social Security.Basically the exact plan President Bush tried in 2005. Next, it calls for the full privatization and phasing out of Medicare. It’ll be replaced by a system of vouchers in which instead of getting Medicare you get a voucher to buy un-reformed private insurance.
Weirdly, with all that, the draft GOP budget doesn’t get the federal budget into surplus until sometime after 2060, which seems like a pretty long time. But isn’t this sort of a big deal? House Republicans are poised to run in 2010 on slashing or abolishing the two most popular federal government programs — Social Security and Medicare.
Now, Minority Leader Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Whip Cantor (R-VA) have been sort of dancing around the Ryan draft. They’re both saying they’re putting forward a detailed budget plan and then simultaneously refusing to say Ryan’s plan is endorsed by the conference. But Ryan’s their budget writer. So this is a bit like Peter Orszag releasing a budget document and having Obama and Rahm saying he’s just speaking for himself.