National Review’s Robert Costa has a piece on the hesitancy of freshmen House Republicans to embrace House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) radical Roadmap for America’s Future, which purports to balance the budget by dramatically cutting both Social Security and Medicare. There’s no real surprise here: last session, when Republicans were in the minority with no hope of seeing their vision for the budget adopted, Republican House leadership pointedly refused to endorse Ryan’s plan.
However, Costa reported that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), while not on-board with wholesale adoption of the Roadmap, “does see an opportunity for aspects of the roadmap to become policy“:
“I am supportive of the direction that Paul is headed,” he says. Still, he cautions, “as you know, the budget is something that is [scored] within the budget window for the next ten years. I’m hopeful that we can get elements of what Paul is aiming for incorporated.”
Since the GOP seems to be scared stiff of (at least publicly) supporting the portions of the Roadmap dealing with entitlements, what elements might Cantor be talking about? Well, for one thing, since the GOP is endowing Ryan with the unprecedented power to unilaterally set spending limits that are binding on the House, the spending caps that Ryan proposes in the Roadmap (where he doesn’t spell out what these caps would mean in terms of cuts to actual programs) could make an appearance, even though Ryan himself can’t name actual spending programs that he wants to see cut.
But the real meat of Ryan’s proposal is its draconian cuts to both Social Security and Medicare, which would both be essentially privatized over a number of years. In fact, the phase-in of the Roadmap is so slow that federal debt actually increases for decades under the plan that Ryan put on paper, exceeding 100 percent of GDP before starting to come down. The Roadmap’s tax reforms also manage to lose trillions in revenue while raising taxes on 90 percent of Americans.
Back in September, Ryan and Cantor released the book “Young Guns,” which included a chapter detailing and praising the Roadmap. So is Cantor actually on-board with Ryan’s goal of fully dismantling Social Security and Medicare, but hiding from the political ramifications?