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Ryan vs. Obama Is that all there is?

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alp227 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-07-11 01:33 PM
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Matt Miller is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.


Paul Ryans new fiscal blueprint doesnt balance the budget until sometime between 2030 and 2040, and racks up more than $14 trillion in new debt by then. By Ryans own reckoning, his plan adds $5.7 trillion to the debt in the next decade alone, while more than tripling interest payments, from $212 billion this year to nearly $700 billion in 2021. The only way such a profligate plan can be called fiscally conservative is by comparison to Barack Obamas budget, which never comes close to balance and loads on more debt even faster. Meanwhile, both the House budget chairman and the president shortchange needed investments in Americas future. The question sane citizens should ask in the face of these dueling disappointments is: Why are these the only choices?

There will be plenty of overheated reactions to Ryans budget, declaring him to be either a savior or the devil incarnate. Since neither is the case I want to give folks who are amenable to reason a few facts and perspectives to make sense of it all:

Paul Ryan proposes that the federal government spend $40 trillion over the next 10 years, as opposed to Barack Obamas $46 trillion. The first thing to note is that there is thus about a 15 percent difference in the size of government envisioned by our two major parties. This difference matters greatly, of course, but shouting aside, this is a fight taking place between the 40-yard lines on either side.

If, in addition, you assume, as I do, based on private- and public-sector experience, that theres rarely been a budget that couldnt stand an aggregate 10 percent cut, then the real gap between the parties may be smaller still. Ryans choices within these totals are unwise and deeply unfair for reasons Ill explain. But this overall magnitude of change cant be called radical. Doing so is just a way of underscoring how timid and incremental the debate usually is.

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