Is Paul Ryan’s Budget Radical? Not Even Close
Most libertarian policy wonks knew this all along, but John Merline in Investors Business Daily Makes an important point. While Ryan sounds infinately closer to Ronald Reagan than Romney ever could, his second proposed budget taxes and spends more than post-World War II historical averages:
His proposed spending and revenue levels are above historic averages. His Medicare reform has strong bipartisan support. His tax reform plan is similar to one proposed by Obama’s own bipartisan debt reduction commission.
Ryan’s budget, which passed the House last March, would set the federal government on course to spend an average of 20% of GDP over the next decade. That’s slightly higher than the post-World War II average of 19.8%.
His tax plan would produce revenues averaging 18.3% of GDP. That, too, is somewhat higher than the 17.7% post-war average. What’s more, Ryan’s plan would set tax and spending rates higher than every Democratic president before Obama.
This shows why some conservatives weren’t thrilled with Ryan’s budget when proposed and would rather see spending tied to 18% of GDP. For example, here is what the Club for Growth said back in March:
“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.”
“The Club for Growth urges Republicans to support a budget that balances in the near future and complies with the Budget Control Act,” added Chocola.
And contrary to the latest scare tactics, not only are Ryan’s budget ideas reasonable, he is not going to kill Grandma by taking away her healthcare. As John notes:
But under his plan, Medicare spending in the near term would track levels set by Obama. Unlike Obama, however, Ryan wouldn’t use any of those near-term savings to finance ObamaCare, but would direct all that to extending the Medicare Trust Fund.
And starting in 2023, Ryan would offer retirees — who are today 55 or younger — the ability to choose from a range of private insurance options, as well as traditional Medicare, with the government providing a fixed level of premium support.
The thinking is that this will unleash competitive insurance market forces, keeping costs down, while providing greater control over federal spending. But Ryan’s plan would let Medicare spending continue to climb over the long term, just not as fast as projected under current law.
Therefore, Ryan’s offense were to offer specifics while suggesting young people might be able to be involved in their private health care choices. This is has been so badly reported and spun, radicals have been worked into a frenzy to confront him at rallies:
Instead of being a radical, Ryan provides a pragamatic, specific vision of how to face our country’s incredible fiscal challenges while explaining it in a way average voters can understand. This is why Ryan “scares the living ****” out of the left.