The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has done a quick analysis of Paul Ryan's budget, and says the main things that need to be said about it. This article by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles is along similar lines.
First, give Ryan some credit for setting out concrete proposals. That was brave. He can hardly be accused--unlike the Obama administration--of evading the hard questions. And he has a suitably ambitious goal for long-term debt reduction, as well: his plan fails to get debt back below 70 per cent of GDP as quickly the Bowles-Simpson proposal, but it does achieve this goal before the end of the decade. Under Obama's budget, the debt approaches 90 per cent of GDP by 2020 and is on track to keep rising.
Unfortunately, however, it is hard to see Ryan's plan as a good-faith effort to come to terms with Democrats over what should be done. His proposal cuts spending to just under 20 per cent of GDP by the end of the decade--less than the historical average of around 21 percent, and much less than the 24 per cent in the White House plan. Revenues do rise under the Ryan proposal, from 16 per cent in 2012 to about their historic average of 18 per cent by 2020. (He cuts tax rates but aims to balance that by simplifying the system and narrowing exemptions, a good basic strategy.) So by 2020 Ryan is collecting 1 per cent of GDP less in revenue than Obama's budget, and spending 4 per cent of GDP less. In the abstract, that does not look too wild, yet by tilting the adjustment so heavily toward lower spending, he has to do some things that Democrats--and, more important, most of the public--will be unable to accept.