Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said he would not support revenue increases in budget negotiations with Democrats during an appearance on Bloomberg TV Tuesday morning, explaining that the nation must reform the tax code by lowering rates and “plugging loopholes” and achieve a balanced budget with spending cuts alone.
“We propose 4.6 trillion dollars in spending cuts that are essential to preventing debt crisis,” Ryan claimed, referring to reductions in spending from the repeal of Affordable Care Act benefits and savings from Medicaid, Medicare and other social programs. Nearly two-thirds of the House GOP’s cuts come from poverty programs that aid the neediest Americans like Pell Grants, food stamps and job training.
Ryan insisted that Republicans would demand these reductions and stand united against additional revenue since, as he put it, Democrats “got their tax increases…but we have yet to get any spending cuts”:
PETER COOK (REPORTER): Isn’t that going to require Paul Ryan to consider revenue and for [Senator] Patty Murray to consider entitlement program changes that she has decided on?
RYAN: Well, I would say to the Patty Murray school of thought to the President Obama school of thought, they’ve got their tax increases. They got $1.6 trillion in tax increases that are just now starting to hit the economy. But we have yet to get the spending cuts. [...]
PETER COOK: Aren’t you going to have to offer something more on the revenue front even if you don’t want to?
RYAN: No offense Peter, I’m not interested in negotiating through the media, but to be candid, no. No. We reform the tax code, that’s what we’re proposing that means that by plugging loopholes you can raise the same amount of money for the federal government with a far more competitive, far more pro-jobs tax code than we currently got.
Past budget deals have reduced spending by $1.5 trillion, a fact Ryan himself bragged about when he urged Republicans to back the Budget Control Act in 2011 and later endorsed sequestration. “We’re actually cutting spending while we do this,” Ryan told his colleagues in 2011. “We’re getting two-thirds of the cuts we wanted in our budget.”
Indeed, spending cuts have so far outnumbered revenue by nearly 3 to 1, which is why economists believe that “the next installment of deficit reduction should reach $2 trillion and about half of it should come from higher taxes.” Ryan, meanwhile, has told voters for more than three years that he would pay for his massive tax breaks by closing tax loopholes without ever specifying which deductions or credits he plans to eliminate.