CNN reporter Jeanne Sahadi makes an important point that many others do not this morning, and warns against making direct comparisons between what Ryan is proposing and what the president has proposed:
A budget resolution and a presidential budget request, however, are very different documents, and comparing them is not as telling as those doing the comparing will claim.
For one thing, the Congressional Budget Office has already offered an independent analysis of the costs and savings included in the president’s budget, which is far more detailed than a budget resolution.
The CBO, however, will not be scoring the House budget resolution, so any costs or savings claimed by Republicans will only reflect the calculations of the House budget and tax committees.
Still, despite those differences, the previewed proposal has set the pundits off as budget negotiations continue and Friday’s shutdown deadline looms. The Huffington Post’s Rome has a post up that is pretty representative of the left’s response. The block grants he describes will be most problematic.
In most instances the Republicans will impose deep cuts to the program—fewer people will be covered and their benefits will be scaled back. As usual, this means the Republicans would balance their budgets on the backs of the people who can least afford it - the elderly, the blind, the disabled, working families and the poor - while letting corporations and the very rich off the hook. That is immoral.
Caring for the Medicaid population with capped funding under the discretionary control of Republican ideologues in state capitals will harm the health of millions, create even larger financial shortfalls in states and force cuts in other core areas, like transportation, education and law enforcement.
Matt Yglesias at Think Progress homes in on the issue of the 25 percent tax top rate. Yglesias writes:
part of the plan here is that Ryan is going to promise currently elderly people that they’ll get all their currently promised benefits plus that he’ll undue the Medicare cuts that were part of the Affordable Care Act. The idea here is that today’s old people—a very white group that’s also hostile to gay rights, and thus sort of predisposed to like conservative politicians—will also get to benefit from an extremely generous single-payer health care system. But younger people—a less white group that’s friendly to gay rights and thus predisposed to skepticism about conservative politicians—will get to pay the high taxes to finance old people’s generous single-payer health care system, but then we won’t get to benefit from it. This is in part in order to clear headroom in the budget so as to make gigantic tax cuts for rich people affordable.
But what Hulse [the Times reporter who wrote the story to which Yglesias refers] doesn’t report on is Ryan’s thinking about tax reform. This is an important element of Ryan’s original “roadmap” plan that’s never gotten the attention it deserves. But according to a Center for Tax Justice analysis (PDF), even though Ryan features large aggregate tax cuts, ninety percent of Americans would actually pay higher taxes under his plan.
Jonathan Chait, writing on Friday about the upcoming proposal, may have summed up the precise frame in which liberals will present the Ryan plan: “Paul Ryan To Boldly Take On Big Poor.”
On the right, the reviews were more glowing, with many citing Ryan’s smart political game in tracking in a direction the president may not have anticipated. Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner writes:
When President Obama ignored the proposals of his own fiscal commission, it was an indication that he had chosen politics over leadership. That is, it was more important for him to goad Republicans into proposing entitlement reform so Democrats could attack them for it, then it was for him to try and actually address the nation’s challenges. Evidently, Ryan has decided to take the opposite approach.
Even the Post’s Ezra Klein, while signaling there was much to take issue with in Ryan’s proposal, gave Ryan credit for at least proposing to take on entitlement reform despite the potential political costs.
Tuesday will mark the second time that Ryan has come out as his party’s official Obama rebuttal—the first being his not-quite-Jindal-bad State of the Union response back in January. Then, he was upstaged by Michele Bachmann. Now, the main thing threatening to upstage him is bipartisan agreement on the Hill. It will be interesting to see if he soars on his second try as the fiscally shrewd face of the GOP and whether tomorrow’s proposal significantly alters budget debates heading into 2012.