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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Paul Ryan Is Not Who You Think

Washington Post Excerpt:
According to the Congressional Budget Office, Ryan's plan would result in annual deficits of between 3.5 and 4.5 percent of GDP between now and somewhere after 2040, with a balanced budget coming only around 2063. This would add at least $62 trillion to the national debt over the period. (My estimate is conservative mostly because the independent Tax Policy Center says Ryan's tax reforms would produce far less revenue than Ryan required the CBO to assume.)

Ryan doesn't dispute these basic facts (though I believe this is the first time his actual debt numbers have been called out). When I asked him at a recent National Press Club event how he could put out a plan that didn't balance the budget for decades and added trillions to the debt, and still call himself a "fiscal conservative," he offered an evasive digression on how this just shows how tough the demographic challenge is.
That sounds like Paul Ryan.

Plus, the Paul Ryan I know has voted for a stunning amount of debt in his first twelve years in office. Just consider that he voted for the Iraq War ($1.2+ trillion through 2012), the GOP's Medicare Part D boondoggle ($200B+ 2004 through 2008) ($725B+ 2009 through 2018), and the recent tax cut ransom package ($858B). Throw in TARP (originally pegged at 700B) and the first round of the Bush tax cuts ($2.3 trillion over 10 years). All in all, just those few pieces of legislation resulted in adding $5.98 TRILLION to the national debt. I categorize this as debt because Ryan and the GOP majorities never legislated tax policies to pay for it. This doesn’t include the first stimulus or other major incidentals. Ryan voted for all of it and played a significant role in adding almost the same amount to the nation’s debt that it previously took over 200 years to accumulate. Not one single democrat in congress can boast voting for the same string of spending bills and as much debt as Paul Ryan has over the span of the past twelve years.

Fiscal hawk? Fiscal conservative? Oh please, stop.
Even after assuming entitlement reforms that most Republicans think would be politically fatal, Ryan's red ink never stops flowing.
Ryan's "Roadmap" is a twisting and winding 20,000 word novel that could be summed up in just a few sentences. First, it dramatically increases taxes on the working and middle classes and cuts taxes for the wealthy. In addition, he continues to play up the "individuals" control of their health care as the manifest destiny for his Roadmap when in reality, his plan is little more than a Wall Street prospectus whose endgame ultimately calls for the government to subsidize private health care insurance control – not your health care. That’s straight up. Ryan’s plan subsidizes the private health care insurance industry while the much maligned government-run plan subsidizes you. He's clearly fighting for the middle-man.

Ironically, Ryan vehemently complains that one of the unintended consequences of Obamacare will result in employers dumping their employees out of their employer health insurance plans. Yet, that is precisely a key feature in his Roadmap. In fact, Ryan considers the final termination of employer linked plans a huge step forward. Unless I suppose, it's the unintentional consequences of a competing plan. Well, that's different then.

Lastly, he disingenuously implies that his plan will save Social Security for generations while he diverts 33% of the payroll taxes away from beneficiaries in a system that he swears 100% of the payroll taxes can't cover. So which is it?

Paul Ryan is a budget novice who will bury our country in a fiscal hole.

Related: Capital Times Ryan will say whatever Wall Street wants him to say

Maddow On Ryan and Bachmann, SOTU

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