J. Scott Applewhite, Associated Press
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., center, presides over a markup session where House Republicans are crafting a budget-balancing plan, Wednesday, April 2, 2014, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Ryan is flanked by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., right, the committee's ranking member, and Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., left.

Rep. Paul Ryan's annual budget offering got mixed reviews this week. President Barack Obama called it a "stinkburger" and a "meanwich." Critics on the right call it a tepid joke. With the Senate determined not to pass a budget, some wonder why he bothers.

The Ryan budget aims to balance by 2024.

The budget from Ryan, R-Wis., The New York Times reported, "laid out a budget plan that cuts $5 trillion in spending over the next decade. He said it would bring federal spending and taxes into balance by 2024, through steep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps, and the total repeal of the Affordable Care Act just as millions are reaping the benefits of the law."

Obama was not impressed, but he was amused.

"Clearly in a good mood a day after announcing that at least 7.1 million Americans had signed up for health insurance through ACA exchanges," Politico reported, "Obama followed up one punchline with another. 'If they tried to sell this sandwich at Zingerman’s they’d have to call it the Stinkburger or the Meanwich,' he said, referring to the local restaurant where he stopped for lunch before his arrival on campus."

Sarah Palin called Ryan's budget a joke: "The latest Ryan (R, Wisconsin) Budget is not an April Fool’s joke. But it really is a joke because it is still not seeing the problem; it still is not proposing reining in wasteful government overspending today, instead of speculating years out that some future Congress and White House may possibly, hopefully, eh-who-knows, take responsibility for today’s budgetary selfishness and shortsightedness to do so."

Other conservatives steered a middle ground, arguing that Ryan was playing a bad hand as well as he possibly could.

"Critics on the right will say that this new budget is not the best we can do," wrote Kevin Williamson at National Review, "and they are correct: It is by all appearance far beyond the best we can do at the moment. The American public would be lucky to see the enactment of this budget, which would reduce the deficit down to digestible levels quite quickly. But they have no apparent appetite for it. Representative Ryan performs his thankless task admirably, but he is peddling broccoli outside of Baskin-Robbins. And it’s pretty expensive broccoli: Taxes are to stay approximately where they are. The revenue-neutral (in theory) tax reform Republicans propose would be a welcome development, but the real game-changer would be substantially reducing the federal footprint on the economy."

Email: eschulzke@desnews.com