Yesterday, House Republicans released their “alternative” to the Obama administration’s budget, which was roundly panned by the press because it included so few numbers or details. The Associated Press called it “a glossy pamphlet short on detail,” while MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer noted that “they sent us some paperwork. It’s got no numbers attached.”
One of the plan’s architects is Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), who is crafting the actual budget legislation that Republicans plan to bring to the House floor next week. We’ve noted before that Ryan’s vision for the budget is lots of tax cuts for the wealthy, and little else. NPR interviewed Ryan yesterday, and he predictably launched into a tirade against the Obama administration’s plans:
We think we need to focus on controlling spending and reforming government. We don’t think the answer is to borrow and spend our way to prosperity, so we’re not going to propose all this new spending they’re proposing and that’s going to help us save money and reduce our borrowing costs.
Here’s a golden opportunity for NPR! Having let Ryan air his grievances about Obama’s spending, they could have asked him: “You propose lowering the tax rate on the top three income tax brackets to 25 percent, and having everyone who makes up to $100,000 — and is currently paying 25 percent — pay just 10. You also want to completely eliminate the capital gains tax. Won’t that cost a lot in terms of lost revenue, while making the tax code much more regressive?”
Alas, NPR didn’t bring up any of the radical tax policies that Ryan has put forth, or ask him to defend any part of the Republicans’ plan, including their threat to undo the stimulus. As Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) demonstrated yesterday, Republicans really have no idea how much their tax cut bonanza will cost. NPR should have at least pushed Ryan a little on this, instead of allowing him to wax poetic about the “need to focus on controlling spending.”