Thursday, March 22, 2012

South Florida Democrats trash Paul Ryan budget

Posted By on Thu, Mar 22, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Paul Ryan
  • Paul Ryan
On Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his new budget plan, called The Path to Prosperity. Perhaps predictably, it was promptly slammed by Democrats.

Under his plan, federal debt would be reduced from 73 percent of GDP at the end of FY 2012 to 62 percent in 2022. It would do so by block-granting and reducing Medicaid, repealing provisions in President Obama's signature health care bill, and substantially cutting domestic spending.

It also would simplify the tax code for individuals — dropping the six current rates at which personal income is taxed down to just two —10 percent and 25 percent.

But the key question in our incredibly divided capital is simple: Does the plan have a chance of getting through both houses of Congress and being signed into law by President Obama?

Based on the reaction on the left, the answer would be no.

And because Ryan's plan has been endorsed by Mitt Romney, Democrats are folding their criticism of Ryan's budget into an attack against Romney as well.

South Florida Democratic Congressman Ted Deutsch called the Ryan plan "one of the worst proposals for Floridians and the middle class that we've ever seen."

Speaking on a conference call Thursday morning, Deutsch noted Mitt Romney turned 65 last week, saying "just because he doesn't want Medicare..that doesn't mean he should take it away from retirees."

Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the Romney/Ryan budget would be "devastating for older Americans."

Harvard economics professor David Cutler said the Republican party is giving a clear message with this new budget — that seniors should go bankrupt. He said the Ryan plan would raise Medicare spending for seniors up to $10,000 a year, and that they'd have to contend with the "donut hole" in the prescription drug plan that the Affordable Care Act alleviated.

Cutler said that nobody is denying that there need to be structural changes in Medicare, but says the Ryan plan would simply shift health care costs from the government to seniors, and would do nothing to address increasing health care costs (which some critics say is the problem with the Affordable Care Act).

"Critics say the Ryan plan would dismantle Medicare as we know it...they are correct," Cutler asserted. When Democrats said the same thing about Ryan's budget blueprint in 2011, which led the Tampa Bay Times fact-checking site PoliFact called that claim the "lie of the year," a charge that itself became quite controversial.

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