Ryan: Plan Will Exceed Debt Panel Goals

Arguing that the presidents budget proposal for FY 2012, locks in very high spending levels, and does nothing to address the drivers of our debt, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) gave Fox News Sunday a first look at his proposal which he says will provide a stark contrast. Reports had the Ryan proposal cutting a couple trillion in federal spending over the next decade. Ryan replied, We're looking at more than that right now, we're going to be cutting a lot more than that. He added, We will be exceeding the goals that were put out in the president's debt commission. The Budget chairman said his plan will achieve this ambitious goal by cutting spending, reforming entitlements and growing our economy. In arguing that spending cuts and entitlement reform must happen now, Ryan warned, If we keep kicking the can down the road and keep making more empty promises to people, then we'll have the European kind of pain and austerity. Then you have cuts to current seniors, tax increases that slow down your economy.

Specifically, Ryan said his plan will call for spending caps that will bring the US budget back down to its historic size. We're going to put out a budget that gets us on a path to not only balancing the budget, but gets us on a path of paying off the debt, Ryan said of his proposal. The budget chairman said his plan will call for fundamental tax reform. We agree with the direction of the fiscal commission, lower tax rates, broaden the tax base, and those are the kinds of things we're going to be proposing. Ryan emphasized that his plan will not be calling for raising taxes. We don't have a tax problem. The problem with our deficit is not because Americans are taxed too little. So we're not going to go down the path of raising taxes on people and raising taxes on the economy. Regarding entitlement reform, Ryan laid out some specifics of what his committee proposes to do with Medicare. Premium support is exactly the system I as a member of Congress and all federal employees have. (Under such a system) Medicare puts a list of plans out there that compete against each other for your business, and seniors pick the plan of their choosing, and then Medicare subsidizes that plan, Ryan explained. He argued that this kind of reform would save Medicare, which he describes as the biggest driver of our debt. As for Medicaid, Ryan said the budget committee will be proposing block grants to the states so governors will have more flexibility to customize their programs. Medicare and Medicaid spending will go up every single year under our budget. They don't just go up as much as they're going right now, because they're growing at unsustainable rates, Ryan concluded. Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace asked whether the current struggle to get an agreement between the two parties over billions of dollars in cuts means Ryans proposal to cut trillions next year is dead on arrival. Ryan answered, Whether it's dead on arrival, I don't know. But where the president has failed to lead, we are going to lead, and we're going to put out ideas to fix this problem.