Spent the day talking about the House and Senate budgets in various settings and I’ll say this: you will be hard pressed to find anyone who takes the Ryan budget seriously. Even Ryan himself seemed to almost distance himself in an interview with Larry Kudlow on CNBC.
At one level, that’s good. It’s a very troubling document. At another level, it’s emblematic of our level of dysfunction. It’s like the folks out on the fringe are too far out there even by their own judgment!
Btw, I did feel like I got a little somewhere in a debate on the Kudlow show with a bunch of peeps including Sen. Tom Coburn. They were all inveighing against the $1 trillion in revenue raised by the Senate budget scheduled for tomorrow, but thanks to some colleagues (h/t: EN, JF), I was able to point out that Sen. Coburn himself raises $1 trillion from closing tax loopholes in his 2011 budget plan. After that, everyone seemed surprisingly comfortable with those revenues (though of course they wanted to use them to lower rates, not against the deficit).
Another thing I heard today worth noting—President Obama making a lot of sense on current fiscal/economic priorities:
My goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance. My goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work, and if we do that we are going to be bringing in more revenue.
We’re not gonna balance the budget in ten years because if you look at what Paul Ryan does to balance the budget, it means that you have to voucher-ize Medicare, you have to slash deeply into programs like Medicaid, you’ve essentially got to either tax middle class families a lot higher than you currently are or you can’t lower rates the way he’s promised.
Also, a substantive point about the Ryan budget that came up today. Gov Romney claimed he could offset a tax cut of top rates from 35% to 28% by closing loopholes (totally unspecified, of course), but that was found to be impossible—there wasn’t enough revenue there—without raising taxes on the middle class. Rep Ryan makes a similar claim in his House budget, but the point spread is now 39.6% to 25%—almost 15 points of revenue lost vs. seven under Mitt’s plan. In other words, if Mitt’s was mathematically impossible, Paul’s is far less plausible.
Headed up to NYC tomorrow to talk this and other stuff with the great Alex Wagner, and then out to LA on Friday to join the panel on the Bill Maher show. Now, that should be different…