Monday, September 03, 2012

Everything you know about Paul Ryan’s budget is (probably) wrong

Ezra Klein, Everything you know about Paul Ryan’s budget is (probably) wrongRyan budget cbo corrected

"But the biggest category of cuts isn’t to Medicaid or Medicare. It’s to everything else, which includes defense spending, infrastructure, education and training, farm subsidies, income supports, veteran’s benefits, retraining, basic research, the federal workforce and much, much more. This category of spending takes cut almost as large as the cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and Obamacare combined.

The thing about these cuts is that they’re not really thought through. Ryan hasn’t said which programs they’ll hit. And he doesn’t have some theory about how we can spend less and get more, as he does for Medicare with his voucher plan. He’s just slashing things to make his numbers add up. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ran the numbers and said two-thirds of Ryan’s cuts will end up falling on programs for the poor.

The reason he’s got to do that is that Ryan doesn’t raise taxes. But here’s the magic trick of Ryan’s budget, and this is really important. Ryan extends all the Bush tax cuts, and then he adds a bunch of new tax cuts costing more than $4.5 trillion. So how does he pay for them?

He doesn’t. But he told Congress’s budget guys to assume he’d figure out how to pay for them later. To pay for those, you’d need to eliminate almost everything else in the tax code — the home mortgage interest deduction, the Child Tax Credit, the deduction for state and local taxes, most all of it. Ryan hasn’t named one that he’d eliminate. So there’s a mystery $4.5 trillion in tax increases sitting at the center of Ryan’s budget promises."

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