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Republicans Present Alternative Budget…Outline

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A lot of people are making fun of the fact the Republican plan (.pdf) doesn’t contain any numbers, and after all of the grief they’ve been giving Obama and Geithner for not providing the appropriate amount of detail, the scorn is deserved.

Still, it’s what’s in the outline that’s important.

First, they cut a bunch of funding for programs that conservatives hate (National Endowment For The Arts, Public Broadcasting, Americorps, etc.), but these don’t add up to much at all. So why they target them by name is obvious, but disappointing. But hey, whatever, it’s the Republican’s budget.

Instead, to combat the higher spending, they propose the freeze that McCain suggested. Of course they don’t include military spending in that…

In addition, Republicans would cut overall nondefense spending by reforming or eliminating a host of wasteful programs deemed ineffective by various government entities. And Republicans would fully fund our ongoing commitments overseas while devoting the entirety of any savings from reduced fighting to deficit reduction, rebuilding our military, and funding our commitment to our veterans.

And their plans to reform healthcare? Well, first we get a healthy dose of scare tactics…

Over time, the Democrat plan would result in a government-run health system. Those who like the health insurance they have now likely will not be able to keep it because their employers will stop providing coverage. New entitlement spending would add to the skyrocketing federal debt needed to fund the $56 trillion in existing unfunded promises to current beneficiaries, and the higher taxes accompanying a new government-run and bureaucratic health care system would sap economic growth and prosperity.

In a government-run health care system, bureaucrats would exercise increasing control over all health care decision-making and would resort to rationing of care as the sole means to control skyrocketing costs. Such rationing would import not only the policies of other countries, but their horror stories.

Boo!

Their actual proposal…

Republicans support leveling the playing field through policies that will provide tax incentives for millions more working families and small business owners to obtain access to coverage.

Republicans also support breaking down the balkanized barriers within our current health insurance industry, allowing individuals to shop across state lines to purchase affordable policies that best meet their needs. Independent estimates suggest that as many as 12 million individuals could obtain access to health insurance through this approach alone—health insurance that would be more responsive to individual consumers’ needs.

Does anybody know what’ll happen if they do this? All the health care companies will eventually just move to the one state with the best tax laws and it’ll make this strategy null and void. But hey, it sounds good at least.

They also get a shot in at the lawyers…

Republicans support reasonable limits on non-economic damages, along with penalties for trial lawyers who file frivolous lawsuits, among other reforms necessary to preserve patients’ relationships with their physicians and end the unnecessary defensive medicine practices
increasing costs for all Americans.

Good times.

But the biggest whopper in this document is how Republicans plan on reforming the tax code, and it amounts to a MASSIVE 11% tax cut for the wealthiest Americans…

Republicans propose a simple and fair tax code with a marginal tax rate for income up to $100,000 of 10 percent and 25 percent for any income thereafter, with a
generous standard deduction and personal exemption. Republicans would allow any individual or family satisfied with their current tax structure to continue to pay those rates, while dropping the two lowest rates by 5 percent to provide every taxpayer with a tax cut.

To be fair, some Republicans were none too pleased with the idea that this document was being rolled out before they thought it was ready…

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) raised objections to an abbreviated alternative budget “blueprint” released today — but were told by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) they needed to back the plan, according to several Republican sources. […]

Cantor and Ryan were reportedly “embarrassed” by the document — believing it was better to absorb a week of hits from Democrats than to be slammed for failing to produce a thoughtful and detailed alternative.

Expect this to be the topic du jour today.