Paul Ryan Budget Simply Does Not Add Up


In his speech before the GOP faithful at the Republican convention, Paul Ryan declared “we will not duck the tough issues. We will lead.” Since he presented his budget, Ryan has been hailed by many in the media as someone who is not afraid to take bold action to deal with the country’s debt and deficit. A closer look at his actual proposals, however, reveals a budget that would explode rather than reduce the country’s long term debt.

Many tend to portray Ryan’s budget as a serious attempt to deal with the budget woes of the country. But what they fail to note is that his numbers do not add up. For instance, Ryan not only would extend the Bush’s tax cuts, but would cut additional taxes for the wealthy and corporations. It has been determined that the loss of revenue as a result of those steep cuts would amount to $4.3 trillion in the coming decade. While he is cutting taxes for the wealthy, he plans on making deep cuts to Medicaid and an array of other programs that the poor and the middle-class rely on. The cuts yield savings that total about $1.7 trillion. Hence, Ryan’s plan consists of a $4.3 trillion in revenue loss and $1.7 trillion in savings.  Nowhere in his budget, however, did he specify how he is going to make up for the almost $2.6 trillion gap. But he did point out that he intends on bridging the difference by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions, which he refuses to enumerate. He continues to be portrayed as a deficit hawk despite these inconvenient facts.

The government spends 12.5 of GDP on all programs other than Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. In his budget, Ryan noted that he would shrink such spending to “less than 3.75 percent of GDP by 2050.” In order to see the sheer implausibility of that claim, it needs to be pointed out that the defense budget by itself has always been “more than 3 percent of GDP.” Even worse, Mitt Romney has vowed to maintain spending on defense “above 4 percent of GDP.” The question that arises is the following: how exactly would Ryan go about achieving that reduction? Once again, he does not lay out specifically how he would accomplish this massive reduction in federal spending.

The Ryan budget is a classic bait-and-switch proposal. It does not come close to do what his architect professes he would do. Furthermore, the notion that Ryan’s plan would reduce the country’s debt rests largely on faith since he has stubbornly refused to provide any details as to what tax deductions or loopholes he would eliminate. Despite Ryan’s pledge in his convention’s speech that he would not “duck the tough issues,” some of his major proposals that he claimed would cut down the debt are hazy. Ryan’s plan, if enacted, would more likely lead to runaway deficit and burden the country with even more debt.