Politics

Congressman Paul Ryan Budget Takes Fire From the Right

Measured against Obama spending, plan 'not cutting anything that's real'
By: Kenric Ward | Posted: April 7, 2011 3:55 AM
Congressman Paul Ryan

Congressman Paul Ryan

Reflexively attacked by Democrats, Rep. Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" budget isn't getting an overwhelmingly warm reception from conservatives, either.

Though the Wisconsin congressman touts nearly $6 trillion in cuts over 10 years, he measures his numbers against President Barack Obama's projected outlays. Which is to say, they're not so much actual cuts as they are reductions in the rate of increase.

Conservatives say that spreading the spending blueprint over 10 years will bring little, if any, immediate relief.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., counters that he wants more than $500 billion in cuts this year -- just for starters. By contrast, Obama says he is willing to "compromise" with a $73 billion reduction -- a piddling amount in the face of the current $1.6 trillion budget deficit.

"Ryan's plan is not cutting from anything that's real. A 10-year budget is craziness. It just has too many variables," says Steve Stanek, a research fellow on tax and budget policy at the conservative Heartland Institute in Illinois.

The D.C. budget showdown comes as federal officials warn that the U.S. government's debt ceiling must be raised by May 16, or the country will risk default this summer.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that Congress's failure to raising the debt ceiling could trigger "a financial crisis."

Stanek says Geithner is "spinning fantasies" that can be knocked down by deep, immediate spending cuts.

"They're lying," Stanek said of officials' apocalyptic scenarios. "There are all sorts of things that can be done. Instead of raising the debt limit or defaulting, you can control spending."

Fueled by record spending by the Obama administration, the U.S. debt has ballooned from $9.6 trillion to more than $14 trillion in two years. By comparison, the nation's debt was $2.8 trillion at the end of the Reagan administration.

"Now they want to make it even bigger, and it's simply unsustainable," Stanek said.

"At some point, the Fed won't be able to print enough money to buy the debt. China, Germany and Japan won't continue to buy our debt because they're not sure they will get paid back. Or if they do, it will be in greatly devalued dollars. That's the greater threat."

Critics say Ryan's plan won't help to lighten the debt load. Indeed, it would actually increase the federal debt from $15 trillion to $23.1 trillion.

Tea party groups that helped Republicans retake the House of Representatives in 2010 expect the GOP to take a tougher stand on fiscal issues.

"Personally, I don't think either party has what it takes to actually get spending under control," said Robin Stublen, a tea party activist from Charlotte County.

"They need to eliminate the departments of education and energy, and close all overseas military bases that are not in our absolute vital interests," Stublen said.

"I'd cut salaries for all administration and elected officials by 20 percent, reduce federal departments by not hiring replacements and reduce the retirement packages," he added.

Ryan's plan, which does none of the above while leaving Obama's defense budget unscathed, makes former Democratic President Bill Clinton look like a model of fiscal restraint, says Libertarian Party Chairman Wes Benedict.

"Republicans want to spend $40 trillion over 10 years. That averages a staggering $4 trillion per year. As recently as 2000, federal spending was only about $1.8 trillion," Benedict said from his Washington, D.C., office.

"People should not judge the quality of this Republican plan by the standard President Obama has set. Everyone knows Obama is a big spender.

"What this budget shows is that Republicans have no intention of cutting the federal government down to size. Paul Ryan still wants the feds to be spending 19.9 percent of GDP. That's a higher percentage than during Clinton's second term."

Nevertheless, Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" did receive a favorable review from the conservative Heritage Foundation this week.

Applauding the plan's proposed reduction in top individual and corporate tax rates, Heritage researchers forecast that it could help create nearly 1 million new private-sector jobs next year, lower unemployment to 4 percent by 2015 and increase GDP by $1.5 trillion over the decade.

Tom Feeney, a former Republican congressman from Central Florida, is equally bullish on Ryan's agenda.

"While his proposal does not restore America to fiscal health and prosperity as quickly as we would like, it's a very realistic assessment of what is politically possible."

Calling Ryan's plan "an enormous step forward," Feeney predicted that "world financial markets would applaud if Congress and the White House would endorse the proposal. Within in a matter of months, you would create meaningful, long-term jobs."

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Contact Kenric Ward at kward@sunshinestatenews.com or at (772) 801-5341.


Comments (3)

CarolO
4:24AM APR 7TH 2011
Paul Ryan......hero yesterday and idiot today.

All a big lie. Ryan claims he had the backing from a Democratic lady who flatly stated she did NOT endorse this plan at all. Ryan says this plan will bring down unemployment to under 2.8 where it has never been EVER.

Ryan got his information from the Heritage Foundation who now has stated: "After widespread criticism that its analysis of Paul Ryan's budget was optimistic to the point of absurdity, an author of the Heritage Foundation is admitting to reporters that his numbers may have been a tad off." A tad????

Heritage immediately removed that information from their site. So goes for Ryans 15 minutes of fame with a fake endorsement and incorrect numbers taken from a site on the web.

The thought of vouchers to buy insurance makes me want to throw up. What good do vochers do when insurance companies refuse to insure everyone with pre-existing conditions and the elderly?
Ornithopter
5:12AM APR 7TH 2011
CarolO,

Have you glanced at the Heritage Foundation's website www.heritage.org ? They feature Rep. Paul's video prominently on thier page. Innacuracies are what you get when you get your news from MSNBC, HuffPo, or from most of the Liberal establishment.
JC
6:03PM APR 7TH 2011
CarolO, you are an idiot, Paul Ryan's plan is incorrect and wrong and he got his information from Heritage Foundation. Heritage Foundation got a lot of heat and ended up changing their figures. Heritage has a history of being inaccurate. The Bush tax cuts they predicted would create jobs and increase job growth every year. What ACTUALLY happened was the Bush tax cuts increased the deficit over 3 trillion and Bush has the worst job creation and job growth record out of any president.

But please don't let facts get in the way of your brainwashed logic.

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