Throughout the 2012 presidential campaign, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) railed against the Medicare savings included in the Affordable Care Act, campaigned against President Obama’s desire to increase marginal tax rates on the very wealthy, and promised that a Romney administration would offset the looming sequester.
But next week, just four months after losing the November election, Ryan plans to unveil a budget that incorporates many of the policies he campaigned against, since the very changes he opposed as a vice presidential candidate can now help him reach his goal of balancing the budget in 10 years — and go a long way towards reducing the deficit:
1. Savings from Obamacare. On the campaign trail, Ryan criticized Obama for cutting $716 billion out of Medicare and using it to expand access to health care for millions of Americans through Obamacare.The House Budget Committee Chairman and most House Republicans had voted to preserve the savings in the GOP budget in 2012, though Romney and Ryan promised to restore the cuts if elected in November. Ryan is preserving the savings in this year’s budget even as the National Republican Congressional Committee is still attacking Democrats for the reductions.
2. War savings. Ryan’s budget “will make adjustments for an expected decline in war spending, a move that could reduce assumed expenditures by up to $600 billion over the next decade.” But Ryan’s has consistently derided war savings as “phantom savings.” “The savings that they’re talking about, they suggest that they’re going to be in Afghanistan and Iraq at current levels for 10 years and then they have a withdrawal that saves $1.1 trillion. So a lot of the savings they’re claiming, I think, are phantom savings,” Ryan said when Democrats included the same number in their budget.
3. Revenue from the fiscal cliff deal. Ryan’s budget will include the roughly $620 billion in revenue raised by the deal to avert the so-called “fiscal cliff” that Obama signed in January. Though Ryan ultimately voted for the deal, he was opposed to the tax increases that were used to raise that money. “Our fear is that if you raise tax rates you hurt economic growth,” Ryan would claim.
Ryan’s budget is also expected to include savings from the so-called sequester, which Ryan voted for but later opposed. During the presidential campaign, he claimed that its defense cuts are “devastating,” though after losing admitted, “that $1.2 trillion in spending cuts, we can’t lose those spending cuts. “