House Republicans released their budget outline on Tuesday to an immediate chorus of criticism that they're conducting class warfare aimed at the poor in order to protect the interests of a small, high-income minority.
The Paul Ryan plan, as the bill is being called, aims to reduce the deficit but commences with a giant tax cut which some critics say will disproportionately benefit the better off. The plan envisions making the tax cut for the highest earners affordable through unspecified tax reform.
Ryan's plan, which is as much a party position paper as a budget proposal, still envisions the repeal of Obamacare and outlines an extensive series of biting cuts to domestic programs ranging from Medicaid to college grants. It would also reportedly require future Medicare patients to bear more of the program's cost.
On Tuesday Senate Democrats seized on the plan to underline what they called its tilt toward the wealthy, claiming that it lowers taxes on the rich, increases taxes on the middle class, and cuts programs for the poor.
By contrast Democrats offered their counter proposal that offered higher spending on domestic programs and additional tax hikes on top-bracket earners. That plan will inevitably be rejected by the GOP-controlled House, however.
According to the Huffington Post the dueling GOP and Democratic budget proposals are more about defining their political differences than charting a path forward toward a solution.
Congressional budgets often simply state party positions, and Ryan's plan and the Democratic counter proposals are both accused of doing that.
The partisan posturing comes even as President Barack Obama travels to Capitol Hill in an attempt to resuscitate his efforts to achieve bipartisanship.
Ryan, the losing vice presidential nominee last year, has returned to his former role as Budget Committee chairman, a task he fell back into with abandon.
'We're introducing a budget that balances in 10 years – without raising taxes,' Ryan said in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal this week. 'How do we do it? We stop spending money the government doesn't have.' Ryan's plan would slash $4.6 trillion in spending over the coming decade, he says.
Although the GOP plans for healthcare were rejected by the electorate in November Ryan has nonetheless resurrected the controversial Medicare proposal that replaces traditional Medicare for those currently under 55 with a government subsidy to buy health insurance on the open market.
Critics of the plan say the subsidies won't grow with inflation fast enough and would shove thousands of dollars in higher premiums onto seniors before very long.
The House GOP plan again proposes sharp cuts to the Medicaid health program for the poor, tighter food stamp eligibility rules and claims it would achieve $1.8 trillion in savings over a decade by repealing Obamacare.