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The $1 Billion-a-Day Difference between Ryan and Obama

9:08 AM, May 18, 2011 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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Much has been made of the Paul Ryan-authored House budget’s proposal to make Medicare more solvent through increased competition and choice — and rightly so. But that proposal is hardly the sole difference between the respective budgets authored by Ryan and President Obama.

Obama thinking

In fact, Ryan’s proposal to reform Medicare, which calls for the government to provide premium support to help seniors purchase private health insurance of their choice, would not even kick in until after the 10-year budgetary window (and, even then, it would not affect anyone now 55 years old or older). So, without even counting that proposal, and focusing entirely on the next ten years, how much difference would there really be between Ryan’s and Obama’s budgets? A cool $1 billion a day. 

To be a bit more exact, Ryan’s budget would actually save another $201 million a day on top of that. So the overall daily difference between Ryan’s and Obama’s budgets, rounded to the nearest million, would be $1,201,000,000.00 ($4.382 trillion — see Table S-2 — divided by 3,650 days).  

To break it down just a bit more, in relation to Obama’s budget, the Ryan-authored House budget would save $253 million a day in non-security discretionary spending ($923 billion — see Table S-4 — divided by 3,650 days), $201 million a day in Medicaid spending (S-4), $264 million a day in interest payments on the debt (S-4), and $384 million a day from repealing Obamacare (S-4).

If you add up all of the savings in these and other areas, the difference in overall spending would actually be $1.702 billion a day ($6.214 trillion — see Table S-4 — divided by 3,650 days). But taxes would be $502 million a day higher under Obama’s budget ($1.831 trillion — see Table S-2 — divided by 3,650 days).  So the difference in deficit spending (including a slight rounding error) would be $1.201 billion a day. 

An average of more than $1 billion a day, every day, for a decade, amounts to a colossal sum of money. The American people face a clear choice in 2012.

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