Why Paul Ryan Is Not A Deficit Hawk

Mitt Romney’s selection of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) as his Vice Presidential running mate suggests that he will advocate strongly for the House Budget Chairman’s proposal if the ticket is elected in November. But there is one big problem: the budget is a big con. It gives massive tax breaks to corporations and the richest Americans, makes drastic cuts in social program, but still raises the deficit.

The document calls for $5 trillion in new tax cuts for the richest Americans and for corporations, on top of extending all of the Bush tax cuts. These include:

— Reducing the top income tax rate to 25 percent at a cost of more than $1 trillion

— Reducing the corporate income tax rate to 25 percent at a cost of more than $900 billion

— Repealing the alternative minimum tax entirely at a cost of nearly $650 billion

— Repealing the Affordable Care Act at a cost of more than $800 billion

— Removing the 15 percent bracket at a cost of more than $1.3 trillion

Ryan argues that he makes up for the lost revenue by “broadening the base” — and closing “special-interest loopholes and tax shelters that litter the code” — though the budget itself “does not name a single existing loophole, deduction, credit, or exemption that it would change in any way.”


As CAP’s Michael Linden has pointed out, “with all the House budget’s tax cuts properly accounted for, revenue would average just 15.3 percent of GDP from 2013 through 2022, not 18.3 percent. The result: deficits would never drop below 4.4 percent of GDP, and would rise to more than 5 percent of GDP by 2022.”

The GOP’s “debt reduction” isn’t just based on fantasy levels of revenue — it’s based on “massive, unrealistic” spending cuts as well. Medicaid would face $1 trillion cuts in the first decade, while education and workforce training programs would get cut in half and transportation funding would be reduced by nearly 25 percent. The plan, which also ignores previous deals and increases defense spending, would also require deep cuts in other vital domestic programs.