The Budget chairman says his plan would save trillions. Are his numbers credible?
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) released his 2012 budget Tuesday. credit: Tim Shaffer/Reuters
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's 2012 budget is estimated to cost $6.2 trillion less over 10 years than President Obama's plan, with an initial deficit of $950 billion next year that decreases, along with government debt, over time.
But some of the savings in Ryan's budget will be difficult to realize and others are ambiguous; further, it is not clear if his economic or revenue assumptions are credible.
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Ryan's sweeping reductions in government and the social safety net -- accompanied by philosophical justifications for a shrunken public sector and dire warnings of America's debt-fueled decline -- stands in stark contrast to Obama's plan for sustainable investment and promises to make the chairman's budget a key pivot point in the 2012 elections.
Ryan's budget matches Obama's in terms of national security spending, but would chop $923 billion from discretionary spending over the next decade to move toward 2008 level spending, beginning with a $72 billion cut next year -- an ambitious goal, as Republicans are currently stymied trying to craft a deal to cut around $33 billion from current spending this year.