House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., launched a campaign to promote his budget proposal on Tuesday, saying that it sets up a clear choice for voters between the president’s plan and the Republicans' budget in the election this fall.
In an attempt to rein in government spending and slash corporate tax rates, Ryan’s budget aims to lower the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, from its current level of 35 percent. It also consolidates the six current tax brackets to just two: 10 percent and 25 percent, among other cuts and changes to the tax system.
“What I think we owe the country is to let them make the choice,” Ryan said Tuesday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. “We should show them how to fix the problem so they can choose what solution they want. They can implement the solution.”
He continued, “Let the country decide in the fall. Whoever wins the referendum gets to implement the plan. We owe it to the country if we don't like the path the president put us on.”
The Ryan budget aims to cut 5.3 trillion over the next 10 years—a drastic move that will see fervent pushback from his Democratic colleagues. The White House criticized his budget, saying that it does not bring in the necessary revenue that the federal government needs to function, while also hurting Medicare.
“This process risks creating an actual death spiral for the basic guarantee of Medicare, as more people are forced out of the system and those who remain face higher and higher costs,” Gene Sperling, the director of the National Economic Council, said on the same show.
However, Ryan said that this level of deficit reduction is needed to fend off what he says is a looming debt crisis.
“We have a debt crisis coming,” Ryan said. “We know this. It's the most predictable crisis we have had in this country. We feel as leaders we have to do something about it. We have a legal obligation to pass a budget.”
Ryan recognizes that even with his plan, there will be debt in the coming years. What he is proposing, he contends, is reforming programs like Medicare so that debt does not go “off the rails.” He said, “We will have increasing debt. We have to absorb it in a way we can manage it.”
Coinciding with the release of his budget, Ryan wrote an op-ed in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal, where he argues that President Obama’s budget only expands the reach of government and increases the national debt. His budget, he writes, “delivers real spending discipline” by “ending the epidemic of crony politics and government overreach that has weakened confidence in the nation's institutions and its economy.”