Director of Federal Tax Policy
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s name for his budget — “The Path to Prosperity” — is a cruel joke.
One of this nation’s core beliefs is that if you work hard and act responsibly, you can get ahead, raise a family, and have a decent life. That was never more true than in the three decades after World War II, when the path to prosperity was wide enough to accommodate a broad swath of Americans.
That path narrowed considerably starting in the mid-1970s, however, when the relationship between economic growth and the living standards of average Americans broke down. For the last three decades, nearly all the gains of economic growth have gone to the tiny sliver of people at the top of the income scale.
The challenge for policymakers is how to restore opportunity for middle- and lower-income Americans by once again widening the path of prosperity. Unfortunately, Chairman Ryan’s plan would narrow it further.
For the wealthy, Ryan’s proposals are pure gold:
But for working families, whose living standards have stagnated in recent decades, Ryan’s plan seems designed to make it harder for them to help their children have a better life.
Picture a family looking to send their oldest daughter to college, who would be the first in the family to reach this milestone of the American dream.
The Ryan plan would:
“Restoring America’s Promise” is the subtitle of Ryan’s plan, but denying economic opportunity to young people striving to prosper is a strange way to go about that.