View Full Version : When Ryan Worried the Debt Was Too Small

08-13-2012, 12:04 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> Remembering When Paul Ryan Worried the Debt Was Too Small

Jonathan Chait
April 15, 2011

The Republican pose toward deficit projections under the Obama administration is one of pure hysteria -- we face an existential civilizational crisis that requires us to remake our welfare state. <span style='font-size: 14pt'>Ten years ago, the Republican pose was surplus hysteria. The surplus is huge, we must eliminate it it lest the government pay off the entire national debt and start buying up private industry. As part of this argument, conservative <u>Republicans were fervently insisting that the Congressional Budget Office was underestimating surpluses over the next decade</u>.</span> Here, via Nexis, is a Robert Novak column from 2001 conveying the fashionable conservative view of the time:

The most enthusiastic congressional supporters of President Bush's proposed tax cut consider it much too small, but that's not all. They have reason to believe that government estimators, in both the administration and Congress, are up to their old tricks and badly underestimating tax revenue.

Lawrence Hunter, chief economist of the Empower America think tank, has made calculations that lead him to believe that the Congressional Budget Office has lowballed its estimated 10-year surplus of $ 5.6 trillion. He figures the realistic number is at least $ 1 trillion higher and probably another $ 1 trillion above that. Those numbers not only would permit a considerably larger tax cut than Bush's, estimated to lose $ 1.6 trillion in revenue, but in fact would mandate it.

There are senior Bush policymakers who privately admit that Hunter and his allies in Congress have a point. But these officials claim they cannot change the rules in the middle of the game. Nor can they adjust unrealistic methods that bloat the revenue loss from Bush's cuts. Thus, Washington's high-tax establishment is able to use underestimated surplus projections and overestimated tax losses to claim the country cannot afford the president's program.

<span style='font-size: 14pt'>"It's too small," Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the most junior member of the Ways and Means Committee but a leading House supply-sider, told me. "It's not big enough to fit all the policy we want."</span>

Ryan has refashioned his image from "supply-sider" to "serious budget hawk," but there's not much evidence his worldview has changed. He still favors enormous tax cuts for the rich far beyond those passed into law by George W. Bush, only this time he promises to pay for them via closing unspecified deductions.</div></div> link (http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/86893/remembering-when-paul-ryan-worried-the-debt-was-too-small)


<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">As Vice President Dick Cheney famously declared in 2002, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." <u>(Not, that is, unless a Democrat is in the White House.)</u>

Inheriting a federal budget in the black and CBO forecast for a $5.6 trillion surplus over 10 years, <u>President George W. Bush quickly set about dismantling the progress made under Bill Clinton.</u> In 2001, Bush signed a $1.4 trillion tax cut, followed by another $550 billion round in 2003, <span style='font-size: 14pt'>the first war-time tax cut in modern American history. </span>(It is more than a little ironic <u>that Paul Ryan at the time called the tax cuts "too small"</u> because he believed the estimated surplus Bush would later eviscerate would be even larger than predicted.) <span style='font-size: 14pt'>In keeping with Republican orthodoxy that "tax cuts pay for themselves," President Bush confidently proclaimed:

"You cut taxes and the tax revenues increase."

As it turned out, not so much.</span>

Federal revenue did not return to its pre-Bush tax cut level until 2006. As a share of American GDP, tax revenues peaked in 2000; that is, before the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. Analyses by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded, <span style='font-size: 14pt'>the Bush tax cuts accounted for half of the deficits during his tenure, and if made permanent, over the next decade would cost the U.S. Treasury more than Iraq, Afghanistan, the recession, TARP and the stimulus—combined.</span> By the time he shuffled out of the Oval Office in January 2009, President Bush bequeathed a $3.5 trillion budget and a $1.2 trillion annual deficit to his successor, Barack Obama. Which is roughly where things stand today. </div></div>

You can fool some of the people...


Q. link (http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/08/12/1118685/-You-can-fool-some-of-the-people-all-of-the-time?showAll=yes)

Gayle in MD
08-13-2012, 07:39 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The plans Mr. Ryan submitted as House budget chairman — which are now Mr. Romney’s too — were never models of clarity, but they at least made his priorities quite stark: more than three-fifths of his cuts would come from low-income programs like job training, Pell grants and food stamps. That’s not something Mr. Romney ever talked about on the stump, raising the question of whether the vice-presidential choice will end up defining the man at the top of the ticket better than Mr. Romney has himself.

Mr. Romney wants to offload federal responsibility for Medicaid and move it entirely to the states by turning it into a much cheaper block-grant program. He claims this approach would save $200 billion a year, but never mentions that this would force states to drop coverage for at least 14 million people when states are unable to keep up with rising medical costs, which would raise emergency costs at local hospitals. He says he supports Mr. Ryan’s plan to provide the elderly with a fixed amount to buy either traditional Medicare or private plans, but has also said he would issue his own Medicare plan this fall, far too late.

Beyond his standard line about undoing financial reform and Mr. Obama’s “anti-carbon” agenda, Mr. Romney has also vowed to repeal any Obama regulation that might burden the economy, without telling us which ones. Could he mean the power-plant rule that keeps mercury out of children’s lungs, perhaps? Or the one requiring better brakes on big trucks? Or the one expanding disability protections to people with AIDS or autism? Don’t expect an answer.

The Romney campaign decided long ago that it didn’t need a real economic plan of its own when it could just bash the president’s. “As long as I continue to speak about the economy, I’m going to win,” he said last month. Voters, he is saying, need not inquire further.


http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/opinio...=me&ref=general (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/opinion/sunday/romneys-tax-plan-defies-the-rules-of-math.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general)