Congress

Paul Ryan: Trillion Dollar Deficit Isn’t My Fault

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced last week that he will not run for reelection, but that doesn't mean he's going to start being honest on his way out the door.

Ryan appeared on NBC's Meet the Press yesterday morning where he said the swift return to trillion dollar deficits under his watch was inevitable.

"That was going to happen. The baby boomers retiring was going to do that," Ryan said on NBC's "Meet the Press" of projections that the country will start running trillion-dollar deficits as soon as 2020. [...]

"These deficit trillion-dollar projections have been out there for a long, long time. Why? Because of mandatory spending which we call entitlements," he said when pressed by NBC host Chuck Todd on [Senator Bob Corker's] criticism.

It is true that some projections say the federal deficit would have grown to a trillion dollars in 2020 under previous policy, but that doesn't make it "inevitable."

What absolutely made it "inevitable" was Paul Ryan's tax cuts. The federal deficit is projected to reach at least $1 trillion in fiscal 2019, meaning Trump and Ryan's tax cuts have moved the dated forward by a full year. It's only going to get worse moving forward as retirements and the GOP's tax cuts hit at the same time.

All of this could have been avoided by raising taxes on the rich by a few percentage points, not cutting their taxes by 20 to 30 percent, and that's exactly what will have to happen in the near future.

The alternative to tax hikes will be political poison and you might say it already is. If Republicans couldn't fully repeal Obamacare and dramatically cut social programs while they controlled the entire government, it's not going to happen in a divided government or with slimmer majorities.

Raising taxes also won't be politically easy, but I think Republicans have unintentionally provided Democrats with a safe frame of attack. Procedural constraints forced Republicans to engineer their tax cuts so that cuts for families would expire, but Democrats can call for extending those while raising taxes on the rich. President Obama made the same move in 2011 and it resulted in cutting the deficit by half without making dramatic spending cuts. President Obama left behind a stable economy and fiscal outlook that Republicans threatened within a year.

  • muselet

    I’ll believe Paul Ryan is serious about the evils of entitlements when he pays back, with interest, the Social Security survivor benefits he received as a teenager.

    Until then, I can only echo Charlie Pierce: Biggest. Fake. Ever.

    –alopecia

  • Badgerite

    ‘Atlas’ sure does a lot of ‘shrugging’. It took Ryan and his ‘hero’ whose most notable ‘best words’ so far have been, “Do I look like a guy who needs hookers?’ , exactly one year to erase 8 years of hard and work and struggle to bring the economy back from the last time the GOP trashed it in 2008. During that time, President Obama offered the Bat Shit GOP a grand bargain on those ‘entitlements’ programs that would have resulted in greater sustainability so as to deal with the retirement years of the baby boomers and instead of actual legislation meant to deal with the problem we got government shutdowns and a Senator reading us Green Eggs and Ham. Who does he think he is kidding. His aim in life and the aim of the people who contribute tons of money to keep them in power is to destroy those programs and they have been at it for decades. The public relies on these programs for medical care and financial stability in retirement so of course they support them. Rather than accept that and deal with the fiscal problems in something bordering on an honest way, Ryan has insisted on tax cuts, that Ryan said often and with absolutely no credibility would “pay for themselves” through spuring

  • Scopedog
    • JMAshby

      I think you’ll have plenty more opportunities before he actually leaves office next January, and probably more after that when he becomes a TV pundit.

    • Badgerite

      Wish I could up vote this more. Can’t be said enough, IMO.

    • Draxiar

      Always on point!

  • David Greenberg

    Again, is he stupid or evil, or both? This is the best the gop has to offer. They need to all go away.

    • Christopher Foxx

      Evil. He knows exactly what he’s doing and the damage it causes, and makes a conscious choice to do it anyway.

  • Aynwrong

    Paul Ryan is every bit the con artist that Donald Trump is.