BEYOND THE NUMBERS
Greenstein on the Ryan Budget
When House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan released his previous budget last year, I wrote that for most of the past half century, its extreme nature would have put it outside the bounds of mainstream discussion. It was, I wrote, “Robin Hood in reverse — on steroids,” because it would have produced the largest redistribution of income from bottom to top in modern U.S. history. Ryan’s new budget is just as extreme. Its cuts in programs for low-income and vulnerable Americans appear as massive as in last year’s budget, and its tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans could be larger than in last year’s.
In addition, in critical ways the budget is exceedingly vague — and, as a result, its claim to reach balance in ten years is hard to take seriously. It leaves unspecified hundreds of billions of dollars in budget cuts as well as the several trillion dollars of needed tax expenditure savings to pay for its proposed deep cuts in income tax rates. Thus, the budget’s fiscal claims rest on massive magic asterisks.Click here for the full statement.