The House of Representatives passed Paul Ryan's Path to Prosperity budget this afternoon. It will die in the Senate, of course, but now it goes on record as the House Republicans' official fiscal plan for the future.

This package, again, is the one that would eliminate Medicare and replace it with a system of partial vouchers (that wouldn't keep up with medical inflation) for purchasing private insurance, convert Medicaid to block grants for states, slash taxes on the highest income earners, repeal both the health care and financial reform laws Democrats passed last year, bring unemployment to a percentage lower than that of full employment, and more.

All but four House Republicans voted for it, and every Democrat voted against it.

How will the Democratic party respond to this vote? The plan seems to be "use it as a sledgehammer to beat the living crap out of Republicans forever." From ABC News:

Rep. Paul Ryan and his Budget, which would change the face of Medicare, will be the cornerstone of Democrats election strategy in 2012, according to Rep. Steve Israel, the Democrat in charge of taking back the House in 2012, appearing on ABC's Top Line today.

Israel distilled Democrats' message into what a likely campaign ad would be.

"Well all we have to do is use the ad Republicans used against Democrats," he said. "They ran these ads saying I'm going to come to Washington to protect Medicare and we're going to remind the American people they lied about us, all we have to do is tell the truth about them. And the truth is in today's vote to terminate the Medicare guaranteed benefit. All we have to do is tell the truth and we'll win the House back."

But don't they understand that this will hurt Paul Ryan's feelings? Democrats are heartless.

[Image of Rep. Paul Ryan via AP]