On Medicare: Ryan's budget kept Obamacare's Medicare cuts and added another $127 billion. His budget projects $6.74 trillion in Medicare spending between 2014 and 2023. Obama cuts even deeper with $380 billion in cuts below his baseline, and his budget projects $6.67 trillion in Medicare spending over the same period. Upshot: Obama's ten-year Medicare budget is $70 billion below the GOP, and his announced cuts are about $250 billion deeper than the GOP. (See below for brief explainer on differences.*)
In fact, as Michael Linden at the Center for American Progress (who helped me with many of these numbers), pointed out, Obama's new proposal would mean about $1 trillion in lower Medicare spending in this decade compared to projections from before he took office. That includes the effects of slowing health-care inflation after the Great Recession. That's a 13 percent reduction!
Two questions I can anticipate.
(1) If the GOP isn't cutting Social Security and Medicare (and they're certainly not cutting defense), what are they cutting? Everything else, really. Obamacare gets demolished, and Medicaid (which, to be fair, is considered an entitlement), income-support for the poor, and non-defense discretionary all get the guillotine.
(2) Have I forgotten about Ryan's Medicare reforms after 2023? Nope. But I don't understand why, in 2013, it's considered reasonable, brave, or admirable to propose a dramatic and radical Medicare change that won't take effect for another ten years. That's seven years after Obama has left office. It's not for another two presidential election cycles plus another midterm. I'd rather talk about what these budget plans for this year, and this decade.
And here's the bottom line: Obama preserves federal Medicaid spending, he doesn't unwind Obamacare, and he spends much more on mandatory and non-defense discretionary programs than Ryan proposed. But his cuts to Social Security and Medicare combined are somewhere between $200 billion and $380 billion deeper than the GOP budget. On these programs there is no room to "compromise." The president is already to the right of the right.
* It's hard to compare these numbers perfectly because they're operating off different baselines. The GOP budget uses the CBO baseline. The White House budget uses the OMB baseline. The baselines are close, but there are subtle differences, because not every budget analyst in Washington agrees on the exact same inflation and wage growth projection (which affects Social Security) or health-care cost growth projection, which affects Medicare.