Ryan budget is a firing offense: Devoid of arithmetic, truth or a greater economic purpose
By David Rothkopf, Special to CNN
updated 7:32 AM EDT, Thu March 14, 2013
Editor’s note: David Rothkopf is CEO and editor-at-large of the FP Group, publishers of Foreign Policy magazine, and a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
(CNN) — For most Americans, the budget debate in Washington is reaching dog-whistle pitch, a tone that only partisans can hear. Which, as far as I am concerned, is a mercy.
Paul Ryan offered his budget on Tuesday. Let’s do give him props for making the effort and all. The vast majority of his colleagues are potted plants on this front, reading talking points, sometimes banging the table and doing precious little else. But what Ryan calls a budget is what any CEO would call a firing offense. It uses some numbers and some words that appear in real budgets. But it neglects some other key elements … like arithmetic or the truth or a greater economic purpose.
The Ryan budget depends entirely on unspecified tax reforms and the replacement of revenues he doesn’t care for (such as those associated with Obamacare) with others he doesn’t care to actually define or describe. The rigorous, widely respected Center on Budget and Policy Priorities slammed the exercise, taking Ryan to task for failing to live up to his billing as the guy courageous enough to put his ideas out there.
It wrote, “Is it courageous to propose tax cuts but not identify a single tax expenditure to rein in? Is it courageous to target your deepest cuts on the poorest Americans, who vote in lower numbers and provide little in campaign contributions? Is it courageous to camouflage hundreds of billions in cuts for the poor and disadvantaged in broad budget categories without identifying the programmatic cuts, so that analysts, journalists, and other policymakers can’t identify the specific cuts and assess their impacts?”
Meanwhile, on the other side of the aisle, we have a real sign of the End Times: Senate Democrats have actually come out with a budget for the first time since the iPad was invented. There are children in school, reading, who were born since their last budget.