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GOP Takes Second Crack at Budget Alternative

House Republicans finally unveiled their 2010 budget proposal — with actual numbers this time — and proposed sweeping new plans to contain the cost of Medicare and Medicaid, ditch stimulus spending and enact a new round of tax cuts.

The plan announced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the ranking member on the Budget Committee, comes a week after GOP leadership received bipartisan ridicule for unveiling of a blueprint that didn’t include a single number.

The new effort includes a veritable blizzard of numbers — a $4.8 trillion cut to spending over the next decade compared to Obama’s budget, with tough new controls on government health care spending leading the way.

“We have a plan to get our debt under control,— Ryan said.

Ryan said his budget would generate $3.3 trillion less debt over the next decade than Obama’s blueprint, although significant deficits continue to persist under the GOP outline.

Ryan would rescind the spending in Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package except for unemployment insurance, restrict Medicaid payments to states to inflationary increases, and hold the line on Medicare spending as well, although the document didn’t include much detail on how the health care savings would be achieved without compromising care. House Republicans unanimously opposed Obama’s stimulus measure.

“The safety net itself is unsustainable,— Ryan said, arguing that they are going “bankrupt— and would spur an explosion of debt unless they are dealt with.

“Let’s tackle these challenges now,— he said.

Ryan also proposed new cuts to corporate and capital gains taxes, which he argued would get “private capital off the sidelines,— spur a recovery and make the country more competitive.

“We can’t tax our employers more than our competitors tax theirs,— he said. And he proposed a new optional and simplified tax system with two rates — 10 percent and 25 percent — that would allow filing on a postcard.

Ryan also took a stab at Social Security reform, proposing a trigger — one he said he borrowed from Obama Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag — that would shrink some Social Security payments to some higher-earning seniors in the year 2036. Any savings would be plowed back into the program to mitigate a potential 22 percent cut in benefits in 2041.

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