The chart represents the national debt (not deficit) as a percentage of GDP. The dark blue line is where we were headed prior to the debt ceiling deal in the summer of 2011. The light blue line is the projection after that deal. The yellow line shows the long-term picture after the so-called "fiscal cliff" deal and the red line is where we'd be heading with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings over the next 10 years.
A couple of weeks ago at his press conference, President Obama called the sequester cuts that just went into effect - providing an additional $1.2 trillion in savings - "dumb." The reason he said that is because they don't tackle the one thing that is driving those upward spikes...health care costs. Here's how Kevin Drum explained it.
In other words, we don't have a discretionary spending problem. We don't have an interest expense problem. Once we withdraw from Afghanistan we don't have a big defense spending problem. And Social Security, at worst, is a very small and very manageable problem.We all know that Rep. Ryan's budget does nothing to address this problem other than transfer those increased costs on to seniors. Here's what President Obama is proposing:
Our only serious problem is Medicare, thanks to an aging population and rising health care costs. That's it. End of story. If you actually care about federal spending, that's the only thing you should be focused on.
While the Affordable Care Act was an historic step toward getting health care costs under control, there is still more that we can do to realize efficiencies, cut waste, and improve Federal health care programs. Most importantly, we can make modest adjustments to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid in a way that does not undermine the fundamental compact they represent to our nation’s seniors, children, people with disabilities, and low-income families. For this reason, the President's Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction included proposals to save approximately $320 billion in federal health spending over the next decade. As these reforms save money, they also will strengthen these vital programs so that they are robust and healthy to serve Americans for years to come...
More specifically, the President’s proposals:Yesterday President Obama conceded that if Republicans aren't willing to make this kind of deal, the opportunity to tackle these issues will have been missed. He's basically echoing the same thing he said in response to Rep. Ryan's release of his last budget back in 2011.
- Create payment incentives for skilled nursing facilities to improve their care to prevent avoidable hospital readmissions.
- Include incentives for people with Medicare to choose high-value health services.
- Reform Medicare payments to better align with patient care costs. Accelerate the availability of lower-cost generic drugs.
- Take steps to make Medicaid more efficient, accountable, and flexible.
They want to give people like me a $200,000 tax cut that’s paid for by asking 33 seniors each to pay $6,000 more in health costs. That’s not right. And it’s not going to happen as long as I’m President.So Ryan's plan is once again DOA. If any Republicans are really interested in a deal - there's one on the table. If not...we move on.