The so-called federal deficit reduction plan announced recently by the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee is represented as a blueprint that makes the hard choices necessary to steer the United States away from fiscal disaster. But learned analysis exposes Rep. Paul Ryan's prescription as a plan that differs little from President Obama's vision in terms of total deficits, but apportions the pain in very different ways.
Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" runs through various fantasy lands, envisioning that large tax cuts, mostly for the rich, and huge spending cuts, mostly in programs that benefit the poor and middle class, will lead to unprecedented booms in hiring, homebuilding and other economic activities.
Ryan's plan is mostly a means to shelter those who have already benefited from a half-century of fiscal irrationality and dump the burden on those who are to come later. Under Ryan's plan, traditional Medicare will only be available to people who are already on it or less than 10 years away. Ensuing generations would instead be given government vouchers and tossed out into the very health insurance market that has gobbled huge portions of the private economy and given us the worst health-care outcomes in the developed world.