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Paul Ryan: The GOP Plan to Balance the Budget by 2023


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The goal can be reached, with no new taxes, while increasing spending 3.4% annually instead of the current 5%.

Paul Ryan



America's national debt is over $16 trillion. Yet Washington can't figure out how to cut $85 billion—or just 2% of the federal budget—without resorting to arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. Clearly, the budget process is broken. In four of the past five years, the president has missed his budget deadline. Senate Democrats haven't passed a budget in over 1,400 days. By refusing to tackle the drivers of the nation's debt—or simply to write a budget—Washington lurches from crisis to crisis.


House Republicans have a plan to change course. On Tuesday, we're introducing a budget that balances in 10 years—without raising taxes. How do we do it? We stop spending money the government doesn't have. Historically, Americans have paid a little less than one-fifth of their income in taxes to the federal government each year. But the government has spent more.


So our budget matches spending with income. Under our proposal, the government spends no more than it collects in revenue—or 19.1% of gross domestic product each year. As a result, we'll spend $4.6 trillion less over the next decade.




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Unleash Paul Ryan!

James Pethokoukis

March 12, 2013


Paul Ryan isn’t a backbencher, he’s chairman of the House Budget Committee. As such, the budget plan he released today is a document of politics, a document of compromise. Yes, the updated “Path to Prosperity” contains the core elements of Ryanomics — tax reform, premium-support Medicare, Medicaid block granting, patient-driven health care. On these rocks, Ryan has smartly built the GOP economic agenda.


But since Ryan’s PTP also serves as the fiscal 2014 budget resolution for House Republicans, the blueprint is far from ideal:


1. If the GOP’s Medicare reform plan is such a good idea (and budget deficits are such a problem), it should be implemented before 2024. Ryan knows this, surely.


2. There’s no Social Security reform plan.


3. The plan repeals Obamacare, which is highly unlikely. Better to have shown how the ACA can be fixed.



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A Ryan Reboot

The budget will never balance without faster economic growth.



The political class seems to be scandalized that Paul Ryan had the cheek Tuesday to propose another reform budget. Doesn't the House Budget Chairman understand that the 2012 election settled every political question in President Obama's favor?


Er, no. The federal fisc is still a shambles—despite the tax increase on millionaires and billionaires that Mr. Obama said would solve everything and despite the modest sequester spending cuts he says are too painful to abide. Thus Mr. Ryan's proposal for fiscal 2014 is still an important document, even if it has no chance of becoming law this year, because it reaches for that elusive thing in Washington—realistic solutions to the country's problems.


As a guide to how Republicans would govern, the third iteration of the Ryan budget blueprint would increase annual spending by 3.4% over the next 10 years, down from the roughly 5% rate under the current Obama autopilot. Government would gradually fall to 19.1% of GDP by 2023 from 23.3% this year, and average 19.5% over the decade—a notch or two below historic postwar spending levels. This is not a return to the era of Calvin Coolidge.


The major difference with Mr. Ryan's previous two budget documents is that this would balance the budget faster, inside of 10 years instead of decades. The government would even run a mini-surplus of $7 billion in 2023. This change is in part a concession to Mr. Ryan's critics on the right, who view a balanced budget as a political totem.



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