What is the 'Ryan plan'? Budget proposal back in spotlight with VP announcement

Why the Wis. congressman may be the GOP intellectual leader on budget policy and the president's most challenging detractor


With Rep. Paul Ryan selected as Mitt Romney's running mate, voters will be hearing a lot about the so-called "Ryan" plan. 

So what is it? 

Though each party has strong feelings about what Ryan's controversial budget proposal entails, here are a few highlights. Just the facts: 

  • The latest full-scale version of the plan, unveiled in March, vows to cut spending by $5 trillion over the next decade, compared against President Obama's plan. 
  • The plan would, a decade from now, give seniors the option of taking a government payment to purchase health insurance. That payment could be used to buy a private insurance plan, or go toward the traditional Medicare plan. The plan calls for extra assistance to help low-income beneficiaries and those with "greater health risks." 
  • The plan would overhaul Medicaid by turning it into a block grant system for states. 
  • The plan would cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. It would implement two individual income tax brackets -- 10 percent and 25 percent. 
  • The plan would head off the scheduled automatic defense cuts, first by diverting the planned $55 million defense cut in 2013 by implementing those cuts elsewhere. 
  • The plan vows to bring the size of government to 20 percent of GDP by 2015.