The White House is reacting aggressively to a budget proposal put forward by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), that would cut spending by $5.2 trillion in government spending compared to President Obama’s budget, while cutting taxes by $2 trillion over the next 10 years.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Ryan’s refusal to endorse tax hikes was "not fair" and "unbalanced" at a press briefing on Tuesday morning. He also criticized the plan for not abiding by the path laid out by several deficit reform commissions—the same ones that the president has himself ignored.
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"There is no responsible way to deal with our budget challenges if we don’t do it in a balanced way … it’s not the right approach and it’s not fair," he said. "It is not the balanced approach Simpson-Bowles represented."
Carney’s boss, however, ignored the same deficit reduction panel’s recommendations to raise taxes on nearly all Americans, not just the high earners Obama has targeted for a tax hike. Carney referenced the Simpson-Bowles Commission several times in attacking Ryan, while insisting the recommendations "mirror the president’s view" —even if he didn’t follow up on them.
Ryan’s 2013 budget proposal includes several updates to the budget Ryan put forward last year, including a hybrid Medicare plan, which would include vouchers for private insurance, as well as a government option. It would also establish flat tax rates of 25 percent and 10 percent, which is expected to save taxpayers $2 trillion over the next ten years.
The national debt has risen to $15.57 trillion—growing nearly $5 trillion under Obama. The Ryan plan would cut the deficit by $3.3 trillion over the next ten years, much of that savings coming from spending cuts. In September, Obama put forward a deficit plan that would cut the deficit by nearly $4 trillion. Nearly half of those savings would come from tax hikes with another $1.1 trillion coming from assumed savings on the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.
Ryan’s budget would also do away with the sequester cuts, which would automatically slash defense and domestic spending by $500 billion each at the end of the year.
Carney told reporters on Monday that the administration is using that sequester as a bludgeon to force Republicans to agree to tax hikes.
"The sequester was designed to be objectionable and onerous … (The cuts) exist in order to force congress to … get our fiscal house in order," Carney said. "What we don’t need is another proposal that says we need to preserve or extend the tax cuts for wealthy Americans."
Ryan put forward his budget plan on Tuesday as an alternative to the budget policies of President Obama, though it has almost no chance of passing the Democratic Senate or, as Carney made clear, the White House.