Talkin’ Budgets All the Day Long

March 12th, 2013 at 11:17 pm

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…


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4 comments in reply to "Talkin’ Budgets All the Day Long"

  1. rjs says:

    re: “Ryan himself seemed to almost distance himself {from the ryan budget}in an interview with Larry Kudlow on CNBC.”

    that’s revealing; this is all just about meeting the requirements of the bill that kicked the debt ceiling down the road to May…no one takes these new budgets seriously; they just want a package on the table to avoid the penalty of having their pay withheld…

    • Job Creator says:

      That’s true but I don’t think they ever really took it seriously. It was all just about having a bunch of rosy numbers to throw out there that were mostly based on magic asterisks or using Democratic policies that they opposed.

  2. Tyler Healey says:

    It’s great to see that President Obama is learning! Our next goal is to teach him that balancing the federal budget only makes sense when inflation is high.

  3. Th says:

    You were lucky to have Sen. Coburn as the guest who has accepted that spending is spending whether through the tax code or writing a check. Now time to convince him of the second part of that understanding; cutting direct spending without lowering tax rates does the same as eliminating tax code spending without making them revenue neutral. Both reduce the amount of money available in the private sector and both reduce the need for government borrowing. If he thinks it is economically advantageous to cut spending without offsetting tax cuts, then he also thinks the same about closing loopholes without lowering rates. Getting him there might be too heavy a lift but Pethokoukis might back you up on that.