NOW With Alex Wagner, 3/5/13, 7:00 PM ET

Paul Ryan’s impossible new budget plan

Alex Wagner and her panel look at the mathematical impossibilities in Rep. Paul Ryan’s new plan that’s aimed at balancing the budget by 2023.

Paul Ryan: Man with a budget axe


Defying political odds and mathematical calculations, Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) is back in action with a new budget–one that seeks to balance the budget in a mere ten years.

In case you need a refresher, Ryan’s last plan sought to balance the budget over 30 years by taking an axe to the federal budget and converting Medicare into a “premium support” voucher program that would shift increasing costs to seniors.

The plan sought to balance the budget on the backs of the poor, with 62% of its cuts coming from low-income programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and Pell Grants.

So, what’s the difference between the last budget and the new incarnation? That’s where things get a little hazy.  House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy says the new budget is “not going to be that much different, except for the fact that it will balance in 10 years.” But economists say that balancing the budget in ten years would be nearly impossible without imposing even greater spending cuts to Medicare, Social Security, or the Defense budget.

And even though Ryan’s budgets have so little chance of becoming the law, House Republicans have already passed them twice. Will they go for a third time?

On Wednesday’s NOW with Alex Wagner, Alex and the panel evaluated Ryan’s plan and took it to task.


Paul Ryan: Man with a budget axe