This table shows how Paul Ryan will balance his budget

On Wednesday, I wrote about how higher taxes and improving budget forecasts have made Paul Ryan's effort to balance the budget inside 10 years a whole lot easier. But this table from the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which looks only at the last year of his last budget, makes Ryan's glide path particularly clear:

 

They explain:

The 2022 deficit in last year's House budget was estimated at $287 billion. The fiscal cliff deal, according to the OMB, will shave about $125 billion off that. Other non-legislative changes in CBO's baseline since March 2012, some of it coming from reduced health spending, reduce the 2022 deficit by an additional $75 billion or so. If the budget chooses to account for a timing shift which pushes payments that would be made in FY 2023 into FY 2022 (as the CRFB Realistic baseline does), that would take another $45 billion off the year's deficit. Thus, the budget would only need to make additional cuts beyond last year's budget of about $40 billion to reach balance in nine years. The story would likely be similar for 2023.

The conclusion CRFB reaches is similar to the one I reached on Wednesday: "After speculation about how the House budget might change to reach its new goal, the answer might actually be: not much."

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Neil Irwin · March 7, 2013

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