Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) went on the offensive ahead of the release of his 2013 budget proposal on Tuesday, ripping Democrats for “scare tactics” over his Medicare proposal and saying that his plan addresses “all of the empty promises that our government is making.”
“The core idea is that we want to get ahead of this debt crisis,” Ryan said on CBS. “We want to take all of the empty promises that our government is making and making sure that they’re not broken promises. We want to save Medicare from bankruptcy, we want to put our debt on a pathway to balance and to pay off the debt and we want to get our economy going again.”
The House GOP plan would slash personal income taxes to a 25 percent top rate and a 10 percent lower rate, simplifying the tax code by collapsing the current system of six tax brackets for individuals into two marginal rates. Ryan’s budget also lowers the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent and scraps the Alternative Minimum Tax.
The plan sets up a fight with Senate Democrats, as the budget proposes spending cuts deeper than those agreed upon in the debt-ceiling deal from last summer.
“We’re talking about $5.3 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years,” Ryan told MSNBC on Tuesday. “But I believe that is not the politically risky thing anymore. I think the wrong thing, just from a political standpoint, is ducking this issue.”
The new budget will once again take on Medicare reform, but in a shift from his 2012 plan Ryan’s new proposal would give future seniors the choice of receiving subsidies to buy into the current public program or a private plan.
Ryan’s new proposal was developed along with Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.).
Republicans took a pounding on Ryan’s budget plan last year, which didn’t give seniors the option of using the subsidies to stay on traditional Medicare. Democrats seized on the issue, accusing Republicans of looking to end Medicare completely, and they have signaled they will make a similar argument against the new Ryan-Wyden proposal.
“Scare tactics, I don’t think are going to work,” Ryan said. “The country wants to be spoken to like adults, not pandered to like children. We owe the country a choice, we owe them leadership, we think, and if you want to save Medicare and prevent it from going bankrupt, you have to reform the program, and that’s what we’re doing.”
Ryan argued that there is at least one aspect of his plan that both sides agree on — that by getting rid of tax shelters for the wealthy, the Alternative Minimum Tax would become redundant.
“Nobody wants to have the Alternative Minimum Tax — I don’t know a Democrat that wants the Alternative Minimum Tax to continue,” he said. “The Alternative Minimum Tax was because people were using tax shelters, therefore they had the Alternative Minimum Tax. We’re saying get rid of all the tax shelters so you can lower everybody else’s rates. It’s more competitive, it’s fair, and it helps us grow our economy.”