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The Paul Ryan Budget: It’s Not Radical

Mar 13, 2013
The Paul Ryan Budget: It’s Not Radical

Hooray to Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for putting out a budget that balances in 10 years.  But he doesn’t go far enough.

Let’s back up and take a look at what led up to this budget.  President Obama is required, as all presidents are, to present a budget framework by the first week in February. He certainly had budget priorities when he gave the State of the Union Address with an estimated $189 billion in new spending by some estimates.  He now says he’ll have a budget in April.  Since then, with the lead up to sequestration, the president gave a laundry list of doom and gloom cuts, none of which have come to pass–except for White House tours, it seems.  I thought about adding up all the things he said he was going to cut.  I’ve speculated that it was much more the the sequestration amount.  I’ll leave that to the mathematicians.

The president says he wants a “balanced approach,” he just doesn’t want a balanced budget.

The Senate is unveiling it’s first budget in more than 4 years and it’s got more taxes and a pittance of cuts over 10  years.  It won’t fly.  The president’s budget won’t fly if it looks anything like what he laid out in the State of the Union Address.  And critics say Paul Ryan’s budget won’t fly.  I disagree.

Here’s what’s interesting about the Ryan Budget.  It balances in 10 years, but it’s not radical.  It assumes the repeal of Obamacare, but doesn’t remove the taxes created to support it. It spends less money through reforms and changes and cuts to programs.  But it still allows the budget to grow about 3% a year.  It allows all of the tax increases passed during the Obama Administration to stay in place.  So the president gets the revenues he has been able to get to this point and he gets some increases in spending–3% instead of about 5% a year.  On a $3.6+ trillion budget, that’s substantial.  This budget is not radical and it doesn’t go far enough for me.  However, in any world besides “Obamaland,” this would be a budget compromise as everyone gives and gets some things.

I’m in the Sen. Rand Paul camp where we need to forget about 10 year budget plans.  A current Congress can’t hold a future Congress to anything.  If they could, then we would have achieved a Balanced Budget in 2012, based on agreements made in the late 1990′s.  It didn’t happen, in fact, it got worse. Sen. Paul says let’s cut $500 billion this year and watch it roll out.

One of the lies of the Obama Administration is the $800+ billion 2009 Stimulus Program was a one time deal.  We’ve spent that $800 billion in every year since then.  It’s in the baseline of the budget now.  That’s not how it was sold.

Paul Ryan’s plan is a good start.  If it’s passed, the president should sign it, he won’t get a better deal.  The truth is, he doesn’t want one.  He doesn’t want a grand bargain or a balanced approach, he wants an issue for 2014.  That is his actual last election, the midterms of 2014.

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