By the Left Coast Rebel
"Balancing the budget on the backs of the POOR!!!" they screamed in predictable fashion.
So, seeing this, I wanted to like Paul Ryan's recently-released budget.
But I know better...
If you are an independent conservative that doesn't trust the beltway antics of both parties and the establishment press, you might want to check out Club For Growth any time you need answers on economic legislation. That's what I did regarding Paul Ryan's budget.
The Club issued a statement on Ryan's budget today. Brace yourself: it's not good:
“Despite containing several important reforms and pro-growth policies, the Ryan Budget falls short in two critical respects. First, it does not balance for decades. Secondly, it violates the Budget Control Act by waiving the sequester,” said Club for Growth President Chris Chocola. “By waiving the automatic spending cuts required under the Budget Control Act, this budget is asking Americans to trust future Congresses to do the hard work later. It is hard to have confidence that our long-term fiscal challenges will be met responsibly when the same Congress that passed the Budget Control Act wants to ignore it less than one year later. On balance, the Ryan Budget is a disappointment for fiscal conservatives.”
Interesting... the Paul Ryan budget doesn't go far enough and extends deficits almost as far as King Obama's budgets? How can this be? That's certainly not what the talking heads on Fox News have been saying?
Updated: More from Tad DeHaven at Cato's Downsizing Big Government:
Chris Edwards provided an ample overview of Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) budget proposal, so I won’t rehash the numbers. Instead, I’ll just add a few comments.
Democrats and the left will squeal that Paul Ryan’s budget proposal is a massive threat to the poor, the sick, the elderly, etc, etc. It’s baloney, but a part of me thinks that he might deserve it. Why? Because the excessive rhetoric employed by the left to criticize lower spending levels for domestic welfare programs isn’t much different than the excessive rhetoric Ryan uses to argue against sequestration-induced reductions in military spending. For instance, Ryan speaks of the “devastation to America’s national security” that sequestration would allegedly cause. (See Christopher Preble’s The Pentagon Budget: Myth vs. Reality).
Now I’m sure that I’ll receive emails admonishing me for failing to recognize that the Constitution explicitly gives the federal government the responsibility to defend the nation while the constitutionality of domestic welfare programs isn’t quite so clear. Okay, but what are Ryan’s views on the constitutionality of domestic welfare programs?
At the outset of Ryan’s introduction to his plan, he quotes James Madison and says that the Founders designed a “Constitution of enumerated powers, giving the federal government broad authority over only those matters that must have a single national response, while sharply restricting its authority to intrude on those spheres of activity better left to the states and the people.” That’s nice, but then he proceeds to make statements like this:
But when government mismanagement and political cowardice turn this element of the social contract into an empty promise, seniors are threatened with denied access to care and the next generation is threatened with a debt that destroys its hard earned prosperity. Both consequences would violate President Lyndon B. Johnson’s pledge upon signing the Medicare law: ‘No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine…No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and their aunts.’ To fulfill Johnson’s pledge in the 21stcentury, America’s generations-old health and retirement security programs must be saved and strengthened.Social contract? Well, so much for those enumerated limits on federal power.
Ryan’s “Statement of Constitutional and Legal Authority” only cites Congress’s general power to tax and spend. Based on the contents of his proposal, which would do little to rein in the federal government’s scope, one could conclude that Ryan’s view of federal power is almost as expansive as that of his Democratic colleagues. Yes, Ryan would reduce the size of government by reducing federal spending as a percentage of GDP. But as I often point out, promises to reduce spending in the future don’t mean a lot when you have a federal government that has the ability to spend money on pretty much any activity that it wants. And under Ryan’s plan, the federal government would be able to continue spending money on pretty much any activity that it wants.
So let's see... with Paul Ryan's budget we get lower domestic spending (good) but ratcheted Military-Industrial Complex spending (aka Republican welfare for Pentagon/defense fat cats and the budget-busting war industry) and end up at nearly the same place down the road. What the Dems want isn't all that much different than Ryan's plan; it's just the flip side of the same coin: Increased domestic spending as far as the eye can see with decreased military spending.
The saddest thing about what DeHaven says here is that I consider Paul Ryan one of the only mainstream congressional GOPers -- or Republicans in general -- that has Big Ideas.
What does it say that the Republican party's wonk wunderkind falls this short?