LIKE BILL Murray’s character in “Groundhog Day,’’ Representative Paul Ryan appears condemned to repeat the same experiences over and over again. When Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, unveiled his House budget proposal last week, you could almost hear strains of “I Got You Babe’’ — the song that awakens Murray day after day after day. And like the good people of Punxsutawney, Penn., the masses on Capitol Hill seem oblivious to his plight as he patiently treads the same ground one more time.
Budget resolutions are required by law, though the Senate hasn’t passed one in years. Big and unwieldy, they provide a tax and spending roadmap for legislation to come. Yet budgets from the White House and Congress are often filled with vague policy proposals, savings from wishful “efficiency improvements,’’ and unrealistic economic assumptions. There’s still plenty of that to go around; but Ryan changed the business-as-usual approach last year with bold and detailed plans to restore solvency to Medicare and Social Security.