Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisconsin) shouldn’t have endorsed Mitt Romney during the same week that he released yet another unrealistic budget that gives preferential treatment to the wealthy. In his endorsement of Romney, Ryan announced, “The reason I’m supporting Romney is that I’ve spent a lot of time with Mitt and his staff. I think he gets it.” Given the events of the week, the “it” seemed to be Ryan’s budget plans. But, Ryan's plan that is clearly not a sincere attempt to fix America’s deficit problem. Instead, it represents yet another political ploy.
Ryan’s plan is not only DOA in the Senate. It makes cuts that many middle class Americans will find hard to stomach. The plan goes after many popular social programs, including Medicare and Pell Grants. Both of these programs enjoy broad support from the American middle class. The money gained from cuts to these programs, programs that have been proven to lift people out of poverty, is then used to finance large tax cuts for the wealthy. Romney’s tacit endorsement of Ryan’s budget will appear to be yet another example of how he is out-of-touch with the American middle class. While Ryan’s decision to endorse this week was clearly meant to help Romney in the upcoming Wisconsin primary, the timing was not opportune for Romney’s presidential bid in November. According to some experts, even with these cuts the budget will simply not reduce America’s deficit.
Paul Ryan has promised the American people that his budget will free them “from the crushing burden of debt now threatening its future.” But according to the Tax Policy Center, the budget is essentially just a plan to cut federal revenues, not a plan to bring revenues in line with expenses. For the record, tax experts who worked in the Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton administrations formed the Tax Policy Center in 2002. According to the Center, Ryan’s budget would cut revenues by over $500,000,000 by 2019. Ryan has disputed their analysis citing cuts to tax credits, deductions, and exclusions as the route to avoiding a massive run-up in the deficit. His budget does not, however, specify what tax credits, deductions, or exclusions he plans to cut back on.
Which popular tax credits will Ryan dare to cut? Will it be the tax credit for mortgage deductions? Without specifics on how this budget will bring in other sources of revenue to offset the planned tax cuts for the wealthy, the plan doesn’t amount to more than mere political grandstanding.
Without these key details, Ryan’s budget is simply not a real budget document. By not taking a stand on what tax credits will be eliminated, Ryan has proven that he, and by extension the Republican establishment, do not have a real plan to reduce America’s deficit. By insinuating that Romney agrees with his budget plan, Ryan has made it difficult for Romney to claim that he is serious about cutting the deficit in November.