MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Rep. Paul Ryan's main goal as House budget chairman is to figure out how to get America's fiscal house in order.
The Wisconsin lawmaker has come up with a budget that takes serious steps to reign in a $16 trillion national debt that's growing by the day.
His plan wouldn't cut defense spending, but everything else in the budget would be trimmed by roughly 20 percent.
"We're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar our government spends today. We already know our children are going to have a diminished future if we stay on the current path," Ryan told CBN News.
While his budget passed the Republican-controlled House, it's dead on arrival in the Senate because Democrats say it would take away benefits from low income Americans. Liberals say about 60 percent of the budget cuts Ryan is proposing are going to hit low income Americans.
But Ryan is dismissive of such arguments.
"First of all, we need to fix our social safety net," Ryan told CBN News. "And spending still continues under our budget on Medicaid and these other programs, they just don't grow at the crazy pace that the president is proposing because those become unsustainable."
Ryan wants to partially privatize Medicare to save the system. But liberal groups say such a move will hurt senior citizens. To make their point, they've run campaign ads showing Republicans throwing a grandmother off a cliff.
Ryan scoffed at the ad, saying, "We're used to the vision from the president. Unfortunately, the president doesn't like to offer solutions, he likes to offer attacks. He likes to distort and demagogue. It's really beneath him, I think."
The president has taken direct aim at Ryan's plan, calling it 'social Darwinism."
"If this budget becomes law and the cuts were applied evenly, starting in 2014, over 200,000 children would lose their chance to get an early education in the Head Start program," Obama warned. "Two million mothers and young children would be cut from a program that gives them access to healthy food."
This is where faith comes into the equation. Liberal churches generally see the government as a vital way to help people in need. But Ryan says his Catholic faith teaches him that less government is the way to go.
"Having a civil society of the principal of solidarity where we, through our civic organizations, through our churches, through our charities, through all of our different groups where we interact with people as a community," Ryan said.
"That's how we advance the common good by not having big government crowd out civic society, but by having enough space in our communities so that we can interact with each other, and take care of people who are down and out in our communities."
Ultimately the real question is will anything ever really change in Washington? The debt is huge but so is the political risk when lawmakers take tough votes to rein in spending.
"What we're experiencing in America, in Wisconsin, are decades of politicians making empty promises to voters," Ryan told CBN News. "And those empty promises are going to quickly become broken promises if we have a debt crisis. What we believe we owe the country is the truth."
Ryan warned that the country could find itself in hot water if lawmakers don't get their acts together.
"We're at a very precarious moment in America," Ryan warned. "Do we want the American ideal, the opportunity society with the safety net or do we want this cradle-to-grave welfare state this sort of European social democracy in a debt crisis, a nation in debt, doubt and decline?"