Three things you might not know about the Paul Ryan budget:
1. It’s changed: Claims that Ryan’s plan would force seniors out of the traditional Medicare system and into the private market are outdated. Last year’s version of Ryan’s Medicare proposal would have ended the fee-for-service system for new enrollees in 2022, replacing it with a private-market voucher program. But the current plan gives new enrollees a choice between the two Medicare systems, beginning in 2023.
2. It would balance the federal budget, but not until 2040. In 2011, the annual deficit was almost 9 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. The Congressional Budget Office estimates Ryan’s plan would gradually reduce the deficit over the next three decades until the budget began running small surpluses in 2040.
3. It leaves little money for non-defense discretionary spending. Mitt Romney plans to spend 4 percent of GDP on defense. The Ryan budget would spend 4.75 percent of GDP on all discretionary spending – including defense – in 2040, leaving just 0.75 percent for social programs other than Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Social Security. Such spending in 2011 added up to about 7 percent of GDP.