Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has introduced a ground breaking budget that is set to offer $6.2 trillion in spending cuts from President Obama's 2012 budget proposal.
The left-wing, be it on Capitol Hill or in the print and television media have already begun attacking Ryan's plan with bold-faced lies. But what should we really expect?
As written, the Ryan plan, or the Path to Prosperity as it will be titled, would bring spending levels down to 20 percent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or well under 2008 spending levels.
What makes it the boldest budget proposal in history is its focus on federal spending across the board. No stone is left unturned. Even the defense budget is slashed.
It is the only plan that has been written that actually addresses the soaring costs of our welfare state-the entitlement programs that are complete money vortexes.
Medicare and Medicaid will be reformed. Farm subsidies, welfare programs and corporate giveaways will be wiped away and will be reformed with the taxpayer in mind.
First I will focus on some of the brief details of the policy, then I will reflect on the politics of Ryan's plan going forward.
The most impressive part of Ryan's plan is that it completely reforms Medicare for those who are 54 years old and under.
As it currently stands Medicare is a vortex, sucking an always-increasing amount of money away from the taxpayers, and on the current rate would have to be funded completely by government borrowing.
The Ryan plan would reform the system. Over 10 years, beginning in 2022, Medicare beneficiaries will choose the plan that best suits them through a government funded elite pool of insurance programs. A Medicare (the government funded program) premium support payment will be issued to the insurer, subsidizing the cost.
Medicaid, the program that is currently funded by both the states and the federal government would be turned into a block grant program.
Currently, governors across the country are saddled with problems that are caused by the federal governments involvement in the program. By making Medicaid a block grant program, the Ryan budget would reduce costs, and allow the governors of every state freedom to make the decisions that are in the best interests of their states.
Sticking to welfare-type programs, Ryan also addresses the food stamp program which is currently rigged, allowing states to fudge their numbers to gain more money for food stamp benefits than are otherwise needed.
The budget also does something about the massive duplication we learned about in the administration of many welfare areas. This budget will create a one-size fits all job program (instead of having dozens of different programs trying to do the same thing) which would come in the form of career scholarships, making the unemployed seeking work more competitive in the job market.
The budget will also implement enforceable spending caps. This means that if any future Congresses impose spending increases anywhere in the budget, those increases must be met by spending cuts somewhere else.
What might be the most shocking part of the budget is that it actually tackles tax policy.
First it would seek to reform the tax code, making it far simpler, and would lower the rates all taxpayers have to pay. It would assume a top tax rate of 25% for corporations and eliminates the loopholes and deductions that corporations currently use to skate taxes altogether.
In short, this is a progressive (small-p) budget that gets us on the track to fiscal stability while tackling the necessary drivers of our debt. Obviously it won't be implemented in full, but instead of being a guideline, this should be the model by which the 2012 budget process proceeds.
What might be more fascinating than the plan itself is the politics of the plan, and how exactly they will play out over the coming months.
We already know what liberals will be saying:
"Leaving the Old And Poor Without Healthcare" is the title, TITLE of Ezra Klein's Washington Post article.
You can expect just about every other Democrat and liberal everywhere to echo the sentiment of that article's title.
What's great about Ryan's budget plan though is the line it has firmly drawn in the sand.
We know that the President and Democrats believe their is a revenue problem, not a spending problem, and thus want to raise taxes. This budget doesn't raise taxes (instead it implements a system in which taxes can't be skated), and reduces our debt and deficit at the same time.
For months (years even) Democrats and the President have always asked Republicans, "Hey, where's your plan?" Well, here it is, and it's necessarily drastic, and forward thinking.
Now the tables have turned, and the media will be forced to ask Democrats what (if anything) they have planned for the budget, and if they punt and say they support something along the lines of the President's budget, they are open for attack because of the fact the President's budget only increases spending, taxes, and the debt and deficit.
Since Democrats have never initiated deficit reduction (read spending and benefit cuts) ever, their only solution has ever been to raise taxes.
So, for as long as the Ryan plan remains the only true plan coming out of our nation's legislative branch of government, the Democrats will be on their heels.