Voters might not have focused on the fact that Ryan’s original plan wouldn’t have produced a balanced budget until today’s high-school students reached middle age, but the true deficit hawks in the House Republican caucus certainly noticed. They demanded a budget that reached balance much sooner. Hence Ryan’s revised plan, which claims to accomplish this feat of equilibrium within a decade.
It will in fact do nothing of the sort, because it appears to depend on at least one ridiculous assumption and two glaring contradictions. That’s for starters; I’m confident we’ll see more absurdities when the full proposal is released soon.
Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Ryan said his plan assumes that the far-reaching reforms known as Obamacare will be repealed. Host Chris Wallace reacted with open disbelief: “That’s not going to happen.”
Indeed, to take Ryan seriously is to believe that legislation repealing the landmark Affordable Care Act would be approved by the Senate, with its Democratic majority, and signed by Obama. What are the odds? That’s a clown question, bro.
As he did in the campaign, Ryan attacked Obama’s health reforms for cutting about $700 billion from Medicare over a decade, not by slashing benefits but by reducing payments to providers. Ryan neglected to mention that his own budget — the one he convinced the party to run on in 2012 — would cut Medicare by the same amount. Actually, by a little more.
This was hypocrisy raised to high art. How could anyone who claimed to be so very worried about the crushing federal debt blithely renounce $700 billion in savings? Ryan suggested Sunday that once Obamacare is repealed, this money can be plowed back into Medicare. Which, as you recall, will never happen.
While Ryan’s new budget assumes that Obamacare goes away, it also assumes that the tax increase on high earners approved in the fiscal cliff deal remains in place. “That’s current law,” he said, as if Obamacare were not.
READ MORE: Ryan in Fantasyland | RealClearPolitics.