Respected Republican Answers the Question: “But how will you save all that money?”

By Joe Campbell
February 2nd, 2010

[digg-reddit-me]Ezra Klein calls Obama’s budget proposal released yesterday the second most interesting budget proposal released on Monday. The most interesting belongs to Rep. Paul Ryan:

Ryan’s budget — and the details of its CBO score — is also an object lesson in why so few politicians are willing to answer the question “but how will you save all that money?”

As you all know by now, the long-term budget deficit is largely driven by health-care costs. To move us to surpluses, Ryan’s budget proposes reforms that are nothing short of violent. Medicare is privatized. Seniors get a voucher to buy private insurance, and the voucher’s growth is farslower than the expected growth of health-care costs. Medicaid is also privatized. The employer tax exclusion is fully eliminated, replaced by a tax credit that grows more slowly than medical costs. And beyond health care, Social Security gets guaranteed, private accounts that CBO says will actually cost more than the present arrangement, further underscoring how ancillary the program is to our budget problem.

An important note to understanding how Ryan’s budget saves money: It’s not through privatization, though everything does get privatized. It’s through firm, federal cost controls. The privatization itself actually costs money.

I’m a bit unclear on what these firm, federal cost controls are – and I don’t mean this as an attack on Rep. Ryan.

What we need is more representatives like Ryan who are willing to stick their neck out so – at least if we are to ever deal with our fiscal issues responsibly.