BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Greenstein on the Republican Budget Offer
House Republican leaders portray the deficit-reduction offer that they issued yesterday as a fair middle ground. It isn’t.
On the crucial issue of revenues, the new Republican offer proposes $800 billion over ten years. Contrast that with the plan that Erskine Bowles, Alan Simpson, and some members of their commission issued in December 2010, which proposed tax changes that would raise $2.6 trillion in revenues over 2013-2022. [See our analysis of that plan.]
In this offer, Republicans also proposed substantially deeper cuts in health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid than Bowles-Simpson. The health care cuts in the Republican offer will likely be draconian. For months, we have studied options to generate savings in this part of the budget, and we can’t get close to $600 billion — what the Republican plan requires — with items that wouldn’t seriously hurt low-income and vulnerable individuals (and that would have any chance of passing Congress).
How then does the new Republican plan get to $600 billion? Republicans do not say.
When the well-being of millions of Americans is at stake — as it is with major changes in Medicare and Medicaid — that shouldn’t be acceptable. If policymakers want to propose $600 billion in health care entitlement savings, as they have every right to do, they should show us the specific changes they would make to get there. Until they do, such proposals shouldn’t receive much credibility.Click here for the full statement.