- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The White House dismissed GOP House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget plan that would cut spending by $4.6 trillion through 2023 and balance the nation’s fiscal books, saying the “math doesn’t add up” and the proposal would harm middle-class Americans.

“While the House Republican budget aims to reduce the deficit, the math just doesn’t add up,” the president’s spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement Tuesday. “Deficit reduction that asks nothing from the wealthiest Americans has serious consequences for the middle class.”

Mr. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and the party’s 2012 vice presidential nominee, unveiled a budget blueprint that cuts taxes and targets some of the main parts of the president’s health care law by eliminating subsidized insurance exchanges and an expansion of Medicaid. It also would repeal Democrats’ Wall Street regulatory overhaul law, as well as high-speed rail programs Vice President Joseph R. Biden has championed.

The White House took particular exception to the tax cut proposals in the bill. Mr. Ryan’s budget blueprint would implement a simplified tax system aimed at producing just two tax brackets, 10 percent and 25 percent. It would do away with the tax increases on families with incomes over $400,000 that passed Congress as part of the “fiscal cliff” deal in early January. The corporate tax rate would also fall, from 35 to 25 percent, and Mr. Ryan argues that the tax changes would stimulate the economy and bring about the same amount or more revenue than the current tax code.

“By choosing to give the wealthiest Americans a new tax cut, this budget as written will either fail to achieve any meaningful deficit reduction, raise taxes on middle class families by more than $2,000 – or both,” Mr. Carney said.

The Ryan budget backs away from Medicare cuts he previously advocated. The plan does transform Medicare into a subsidized system of private insurance plans, a proposal Mr. Obama and Democrats attacked on the campaign trail.

The White House repeated its criticism Tuesday, saying the budget would turn Medicare into a voucher program, “undercutting the guaranteed benefits that seniors have earned and forcing them to pay down thousands more out of their pockets.”

“We’ve tried this top-down approach before,” Mr. Carney said. “The president still believes it is the wrong course for America.”

Mr. Obama missed his fourth budget deadline in a row in early February, but Mr. Carney said the White House will release the president’s budget the week of April 8. Mr. Obama is heading to Capitol Hill this week for a series of meetings, the first of which will come Tuesday afternoon with Senate Democrats.

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