A Word about Paul Ryan

I have heard some commentators mention Paul Ryan as the “bold” choice for Mitt as his VP candidate.  As opposed to some safer picks, adding Ryan to the ticket would give Mitt the chance to offer the American people a clear choice between the evil Socialists on the left, and their “protect the entitlements and raise taxes” ways with the common sense, right-thinking Patriots on the right, with their practical and even-handed way to deal with the economic ills of the country.

I’m on board with the recommendations of these commentators.  My snarkless reason is that I think it would be good for Americans to get a chance on a broad scale to evaluate the plans the GOP has for Social Security, Medicare and other such programs in a way that makes it clear to the GOP and everyone else whether such plans are viable with the American public.  I believe a Romney-Ryan ticket would leave us arguing about whether Obama will win merely 46 states, or whether he can get up to 48.  At least, if I’m wrong, it’ll show me and my Party pretty definitively how wrong we have it.

And speaking of Paul Ryan, I’ve run across a few articles on my side of the political divide which tend to show the true nature of how Mr. Ryan’s plan for budgetary and entitlement reform would be put into place.

First, from Kevin Drum at Mother Jones, a bit about how Mr. Ryan’s plan is huge on the generalities, but is lacking in the specifics.  As Kevin says, “One of the big criticisms of Paul Ryan’s budget plan is that he’s eager to specify how much he’d lower tax rates, but not so eager to explain which loopholes and deductions he’d close in order to keep everything revenue neutral.”  It’s a good piece that shows the ugly underbelly to Mr. Ryan’s claim that he’ll cut taxes, but won’t affect the budget deficit because he’ll find tax expenditures, i.e., tax credits and deductions, to eliminate.  Yet Mr. Ryan won’t say which tax expenditure he’ll actually take on.  Take a look at the list and see which expenditures you’d eliminate. 

Of course, I wouldn’t follow the course of tax cuts that Mr. Ryan is proposing in the first place, but if I was looking for a tax expenditure to hack away at, I’d look at the mortgage interest deduction.  Restrict this deduction to a cap of, say, $300 or $400k and you’d go a long way to getting some of that $113b annual tax expenditure back.  Such a cap would help push downward on people’s desires to go for every bigger and more expensive homes when they don’t really need them.  It would also eliminate one of the many, many subtle subsidies given to the very rich in this country.

Second, here’s an article about Barney Frank from TPM.  Congressman Frank goes to town on Congressman Ryan and his media-given reputation as a fiscal hawk.  Mr. Frank points out the fact that, if you look critically as his plan, Mr. Ryan is not really interested in deficit reduction, but instead has an ideological axe to grind.  Mr. Frank points out the aforementioned refusal to specify which tax loopholes he’ll close.  He also states, “It’s not deficit reduction when you increase military spending so that you can make up for that by cutting Medicare and Medicaid. That’s not budget reduction. That’s ideology. That’s the right wing.”

Yeah, I say Romney-Ryan 2012!

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