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Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) official portrait
From a New York Times op-ed written by Rep. Paul Broun, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia:
The latest budget proposal by Representative Paul D. Ryan, called “The Path to Prosperity,” is anything but. It fails to seriously address runaway government spending, the most pressing problem facing our nation. I cannot vote for something that would trick the American people into thinking that Congress is fixing Washington’s spending problem, when in actuality we’d just be allowing it to continue without end.
Despite Broun's rejection of the Ryan budget, many of the proposals that he endorses in his op-ed are virtually identical to elements of the Ryan plan. He dwells on a proposal to eliminate the Departments of Education and Energy, but while he tosses out the rhetorical red meat ("Constitutionally speaking, the federal government should not have a role in K-12 public education anyway," Broun writes), he doesn't actually propose a huge change in terms of the budgetary bottom-line. According to Broun's own numbers, his proposal would reduce Ryan's spending by just one percent.

Yes, a one percent cut is enough to say that Broun's plan makes a bad plan even worse, but the similarities between Broun's plan and Ryan's plan are much bigger than the differences. They both seek to turn Medicaid into a block grant program. They both want to end Obamacare. They both want to turn Medicare into a voucher system. And they both support a balanced budget amendment.

So despite his rhetoric, Broun actually isn't all that far removed from Ryan on a substantive basis. That's not terribly surprising: Proposing a budget significantly to the right of Ryan's plan is pretty much mission impossible. But Broun isn't primarily interested in budgetary policy, here—he's running for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate in Georgia. He knows full well that as far as GOP primary voters are concerned, the crazier you sound, the better. And as long as people think he's crazier than Paul Ryan, Paul Broun could care less whether he actually is.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Mar 19, 2013 at 10:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kos Georgia.

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