Paul Ryan's GOP budget plan -- smoke and mirrors, too?
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) took a dig at the Congressional Budget Office during the health-care summit last week that didn't sit right with me. "I work with [the people at the CBO] every single day -- very good people, great professionals. They do their jobs well," Ryan said at Blair House. "But their job is to score what is placed in front of them. And what has been placed in front of them is a bill that is full of gimmicks and smoke-and-mirrors."
The Wall Street Journal editorial page jumped on that bandwagon writing on Wednesday, "Yesterday Mr. Obama again invoked the 'nonpartisan, independent' authority of CBO, which misses the reality that if you feed the agency phony premises, you are going to get phony results at the other end." The same could be said for the Road Map for America's Future Ryan presented in a Wall Street Journal op-ed back in January.
Ryan's plan has been praised because, according to a 50-page look-see by the CBO, it appears it would eliminate the nation's massive deficit by 2080. But Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center raises a big caution flag on that assertion. "CBO assumed this wonderful outcome would occur only if the revenue portion of Ryan’s plan generated 19 percent of GDP in taxes. And there is not the slightest evidence that would happen," Gleckman writes. Now here's the part that has bugged me since I read it early last month. "Even though Ryan’s plan has a detailed tax component, his staff asked CBO to ignore it," Gleckman continues. "Rather than estimate the true revenue effects of the Ryan plan, CBO simply assumed, as the lawmaker requested, that it would generate revenues of 19 percent of GDP." Ryan's instructions to CBO were also raised as a caution by Robert Greenstein, Jim Harney and Paul Van de Water at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities when I talked to them about the Road Map early last month.
As the lawmaker requested ("Other Tax Provisions," page 4).
Look, I was thrilled when I read Ryan's Road Map for the same reason Maya MacGuineas at The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget was. "[It] is a standout accomplishment if for no other reason than that it deals with details," she wrote on her blog. And it's bold. At a time when the Republican Party is being branded the "Party of No," there's Ryan with something from the right we can sink our teeth into. Unfortunately, given what he gave the CBO to work with, I don't know if what he's offering is more bologna than steak.
| March 5, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
Save & Share: Previous: Sorry, Bart Stupak -- the feds already subsidize abortion
Next: Using federal power to improve Americans' jobs
Posted by: mgochs | March 5, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: frankn1 | March 5, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Easleycpa | March 5, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 5, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Fei_Hu | March 5, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 5, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: kbash33 | March 5, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: sarno | March 5, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: larryphelps20 | March 5, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 5, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: larryphelps20 | March 5, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bdk808 | March 5, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: cocke | March 7, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.