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Topic of the day: Paul Ryan's budget and the Republican strategy

Published: Thursday, April 3 2014 9:34 a.m. MDT

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., presides over a markup session where House Republicans are pressing ahead with a slashing plan to try to balance the budget within 10 years, relying on big decreases in health care programs for the middle class and the poor, as well as tax hikes and Medicare cuts engineered by President Barack Obama.

J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press

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Rep. Paul Ryan, who serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee along with his duties as representative for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, released the House GOP 2015 budget on Monday, and Sarah Palin was not pleased.

According to Politico, Palin posted her disapproval on her Facebook page shortly after the proposal was released, arguing that “(The proposal) Is STILL not seeing the problem; it STILL is not proposing reining in wasteful government overspending TODAY.”

According to the New York Times, Ryan’s budget proposes $5 trillion in cuts by 2024, including cuts to Medicaid, food stamps and the eventual repeal of Obamacare.

“Defense spending would increase. Domestic programs would be reduced to the lowest levels since modern government accounting. And Medicare would be converted into a 'premium support' system, where people 65 and older could buy private insurance with federal subsidies instead of government-paid health care,” The Times’ Jonathan Weisman wrote on Monday.

But these proposed cuts aren’t enough for Palin, who not only fears that time is running out to make significant changes to the nation’s spending, but that the Republican brand should not relinquish the demands that eventually led to the government shutdown last October.

As The Atlantic’s Billy House argued on Wednesday, “The reality is that no one expects this budget document that pushes higher defense spending — and cuts and changes to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, and other social-safety-net programs — really has any chance of becoming law.” Instead, the document serves as an outline for Republican strategy for the coming years.

“The White House’s budget proposal in March was largely seen as a political document rather than a step toward bipartisan agreement, and Republicans in Congress quickly brushed it aside,” The Wall Street Journal’s Damian Paletta wrote on Tuesday. “Mr. Ryan’s budget could be seen that way, too. But it serves a practical purpose — it is meant to unify the GOP going into the November midterm elections, when a strong showing at the polls could deliver control of the Senate to Republicans.”

Using the Ryan budget as the blueprint for Republican strategy may have its disadvantages beyond Palin's concerns, according to The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent.

With the recent advances in Obamacare sign-ups, Sargent wonders if the budget might backfire, playing into the perception that Republicans are not concerned with the well-being of low-income Americans.

“The argument is that GOP priorities would set back efforts to increase economic mobility and protect ordinary Americans from economic harm,” Sargent wrote on Wednesday. “No question, the map for Dems is so daunting that nothing may be enough to stave off major losses. But the Ryan blueprint could help Dems make their central argument.”

JJ Feinauer is a Web producer for Moneywise and Opinion on DeseretNews.com. Email: jfeinauer@deseretdigital.com, Twitter: jjfeinauer.

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