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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.

By Jonathan Capehart  | March 5, 2010; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

Ryan at least hsa a budget plan, to quote about 50 million libs, WHERE IS YOURS? And if you watched the health care debate, he completely befuddled Obama and Obama went back to quoting platitudes. That is why we should elect people who have an education beyond communism 101, organizing radicals, and an unused law degree.

Posted by: mgochs | March 5, 2010 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Ryan did the unthinkable in a public forum with the POTUS, Baffled him with FACTS.
Did you notice the contorted look on the Messiah's face while the facts were laid in front of him, even more priceless was the change of subject after Ryan concluded his statement. After all, it made no sense acknowledging the fact you were one upped by a congressman, right.

Posted by: frankn1 | March 5, 2010 7:11 AM | Report abuse

This argument is an attempt ti discredit rather than analyze. The logic seems to be hey he can't say that about the health care bill because he may be guilty of it himself (which is not demonstrated here). Nontheless it is a specious argument but expected from a completely biased reporter (hmm calling him a reporter may be specious too?).

Posted by: Easleycpa | March 5, 2010 7:47 AM | Report abuse

So Ryan presented a plan, and then asked that only part of it be evaluated, with the ignored section replaced by an assumption. That is fine.

The queston now is: will Ryan and the rest of the Republicans vote to implement the WHOLE of Ryan's plan (that includes the section he wanted ignored)?

The Republicans after all have the habit of filibustering and voting against their own proposals once they are close to passage.

So, if Ryan will not fight for passage of the whole of his plan, and the Republicans will not vote for the whole plan, there is only one conclusion one can reach: THERE IS NO PLAN!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 5, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse

So Ryan presented a plan, and then asked that only part of it be evaluated, with the ignored section replaced by an assumption. That is fine.

The queston now is: will Ryan and the rest of the Republicans vote to implement the WHOLE of Ryan's plan (that includes the section he wanted ignored)?

The Republicans after all have the habit of filibustering and voting against their own proposals once they are close to passage.

So, if Ryan will not fight for passage of the whole of his plan, and the Republicans will not vote for the whole plan, there is only one conclusion one can reach: THERE IS NO PLAN!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 5, 2010 8:28 AM | Report abuse
=====================================

Agreed..No substance
BUT lots of rhetoric..

More Cud chewing by the Republicans to LOOK like they are doing something..
WHICH nothing happens..
AUGMENTED Cud Chewing by FOX and RW Radio

Just like they did to thee Pro Life Movement.

After all these decades what has the Republican really done?

If they do anything positive they lose the Issue..
AND
Even if they pass draconian legislation -
THEY
still lose the Issue!!

Republican are not about governance and growth.

They are about generating Illusions..

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | March 5, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

Fei Hu: You pose ineresting questions that I am curious how posters such as mgochs, frankn1, and Easleycpa will respond to. They apparently are of the opinion that something substantive has been proposed.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 5, 2010 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Yo, Jonathan ... where's your blog about the TRUTHER who tried to shoot his way into the Pentagon?

Posted by: kbash33 | March 5, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Good article - I'm glad you are standing up for true accounting from Gov't . . and bills like health care and others with dishonest estimates need to be voted down. Thanks for supporting honesty in government!

Posted by: sarno | March 5, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Johnathon, I'm going to assume this was an oversight on your part...at least I hope so. When you say, "it appears it would eliminate the nation's massive deficit by 2080..." I would hope you meant to say DEBT instead of deficit.

If you don't know the difference between the two, then it is difficult to take anything you say, on this particular topic, seriously.

Posted by: larryphelps20 | March 5, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

larryphelps20 @ March 5, 2010 12:12 PM: It does mean eliminate the debt by 2080, according to the lnk in the article.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 5, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

AMviennaVA,

I know it says debt in Ryan's report, but Jonathon says DEFICIT in the above post. Just trying to clarify if he knows the difference or if it's just an honest mistake.

Posted by: larryphelps20 | March 5, 2010 2:06 PM | Report abuse

You fail in your first sentence....He clearly wasn't "taking a dig" at the CBO.

The average taxes as a percentage of GDP from 1980-2007 is 18.4%. Using 19% is ridiculous right!?!?
http://perotcharts.com/2008/05/taxes-as-a-percentage-of-gross-domestic-product-1980-2007/

I know Klein got some pub out of this, so maybe your feeling left out.

Posted by: bdk808 | March 5, 2010 6:42 PM | Report abuse

The facts behind the 19% as bdk808 so intelligently mentioned leads to the fun extrapolation the higher taxes lead to smaller economy and lower taxes lead to a bigger economy wiith more jobs. So not only does Ryan's RoadMap knock out the deficit and, more importantly, the debt, he lowers tax rates which has the wonderful side effect of creating a larger economy and jobs.

Posted by: cocke | March 7, 2010 2:12 AM | Report abuse

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