While he is no longer the chairman of the Budget Committee, former vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan (R-WI) now serves as the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee which is responsible for writing our tax laws.
During the first several weeks of his tenure as the Ways and Means chairman, Ryan has forwarded a series of bills that would increase the deficit by nearly $100 billion because paying for tax cuts is not their prerogative.
[In] his first legislative act as head of the committee that will be central to expected tax reform efforts over the next two years, Ryan pushed through a package of seven tax cut bills that would add $93.5 billion to the deficit in the next decade. [...]
The largest, a measure that lets small business write off expenses more quickly, would add $77 billion to the deficit.
For the last several years Republicans have demanded that all legislation be rendered deficit-neutral by cutting spending in other areas of the budget, but in this case they're making an exception because, as we all know, deficits don't matter if they're the result of a tax cut. Or something like that.
Deficits are not a chief concern of mine, however Paul Ryan has made a career out of being a deficit hawk.
There seems to be a general expectation that our tax code will see significant changes over the next two years, and a number of columnists and reporters have indicated as much, but I don't see it. I can't envision a scenario in which Republicans are willing to compromise to the degree that would be necessary to overhaul the code. It strikes me as a pie-in-the-sky fantasy.
If congressional Republicans actually agree to close significant loopholes in exchange for lowering rates, I'll eat my hat.