Rep. Paul Ryan (R) is out with a new House budget that is fairly similar to his previous one when it comes to policy. One big difference though is how it has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office.
The problem is that the CBO has recently downgraded its revenue projections, making it harder for Ryan to meet his goal of eliminating the deficit in 10 years. If the deficit was really a top priority for Republicans they could have made the tough decision to raise taxes or put forward even more cuts in spending. Instead they decided to basically cheat to get a better CBO score. From The first paragraph of the CBO report:
At the request of the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Paul Ryan, CBO has projected budgetary and economic outcomes under paths for federal revenues and spending (excluding interest payments) specified by the Chairman. The projections do not represent a cost estimate for legislation or an analysis of the effects of any specific policies. In particular, CBO has not considered whether the specified paths are consistent with the policy proposals or budget numbers that Chairman Ryan released on April 1, 2014, as part of his proposed budget resolution.
This is the CBO’s diplomatic way of saying this analysis is nonsense because Ryan asked for a fake score.
This budget is a purely statement of principle by Republicans since it has no chance of becoming law or even being the starting point for a negotiation. In this statement of principle Republicans had to choose between a real plan to balance the budget or their other priorities like tax policy and defense spending. By going this route they made it clear the national debt is at best a second tier concern for them.
Personally, I think not focusing seriously on the budget deficit at this time is a good idea. I just want people to stop pretending that Republicans really care about the deficit or that it is some magical path to compromise.
Republicans have repeatedly had the chance to choose between reducing the deficit and keeping taxes low for rich people, and once again they proved they will pick rich people every time.