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Paul Ryan and His Critics

Dissecting the liberal assault on the House Republican budget.

April 13, 2011

One point of a document as subversive as Paul Ryan's 2012 budget is to provoke debate, and has it ever. But amid the thoughtful musings about starving orphans and grandma in a snowbank, could his critics at least get their facts right?

Let's unpack the distortions.

Deficits and debt. Perhaps the most bizarre complaint is that Mr. Ryan's blueprint would worsen the U.S. fiscal imbalance compared to current law. So the House Budget Chairman has proposed supposedly hideous cuts to popular entitlements at great political risk for . . . the fun of it?

Federal deficits have increased 259% over the last three years and the Ryan budget starts to repair the damage. It would bring next year's deficit below $1 trillion, down from estimates of roughly $1.6 trillion for 2011. The false claim that Mr. Ryan would increase deficits and debt seems to be based on a Congressional Budget Office baseline that assumes $4 trillion in new taxes will land after 2012 with the expiration of all the Bush-era tax rates, that the Alternative Minimum Tax will apply to the middle class, and that Medicare physician payments will fall 20% next year.

read the rest at the link below:


Paul Ryan Responds to President’s Disappointing, Partisan Speech

WASHINGTON – House Budget Committee Chairman Paul D. Ryan made the following statement after listening to the President’s speech on deficit reduction:

“When the President reached out to ask us to attend his speech, we were expecting an olive branch. Instead, his speech was excessively partisan, dramatically inaccurate, and hopelessly inadequate to address our fiscal crisis. What we heard today was not fiscal leadership from our commander-in-chief; we heard a political broadside from our campaigner-in-chief.

“Last year, in the absence of a serious budget, the President created a Fiscal Commission. He then ignored its recommendations and omitted any of its major proposals from his budget, and now he wants to delegate leadership to yet another commission to solve a problem he refuses to confront.

“We need leadership, not a doubling down on the politics of the past.  By failing to seriously confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history, this President’s policies are committing our children to a diminished future. We are looking for bipartisan solutions, not partisan rhetoric. When the President is ready to get serious about confronting this challenge, we'll be here.”


Key Facts About the President’s Speech


  • Counts unspecified savings over 12 years, not the 10-year window by which serious budget proposals are evaluated.

  • Postpones all savings until 2013 – after his reelection campaign.

  • Runs away from the Fiscal Commission’s recommendations on Social Security – puts forward no specific ideas or even a process to force action.

  • Calls for the appointment of another commission, after mostly omitting from his Fiscal Year 2012 Budget any of proposals submitted by the commission he appointed last year.

  • Non-specific framework fails to meet Fiscal Commission's definition of sustainability.


  • Proposes to raise taxes on the American people by more than $1 trillion, devastating our fragile economy and stifling job creation.

  • Endorsed the Fiscal Commission’s ideas on taxes, which specifically called for lower tax rates and a broader base, but then called for higher tax rates. Which is it?

  • Government health and retirement programs are growing at more than twice the speed of the economy. At the current rate of spending, revenue would have to rise “by more than 50 percent” just to keep debt at its current level, according to the Government Accountability Office. That means tax increases across-the-board, now and in the future.


  • Instead of proposing structural reforms that would actually reduce health care costs, the President proposed across-the-board cuts to current seniors’ care.

  • Strictly limits the amount of health care seniors can receive within the existing structure of unsustainable government health care programs.

  • Gives more power to unelected bureaucrats in Washington to determine what treatments seniors should or shouldn’t get, against a backdrop of costs that continue to rise.

  • Conceded that the relentlessly rising cost of health care is the primary reason why the nation is threatened by debt, and implicitly conceded that his health care law failed to solve the problem.

  • Eviscerates the only competitive element anywhere in health-care entitlement programs – the competition amongst Part D prescription-drug plans – which allowed the drug benefit to come in 41 percent under budget.


  • Acknowledges that the open-ended financing of Medicaid is a crippling financial burden to both states and the federal government, but explicitly rejected the only solution to this problem, which is to give states the freedom they need to design systems that work for the unique needs of their own populations.


  • Proposes more cuts on top of $78 billion in cuts included in his own defense budget, which he proposed just two months ago – all at a time when he continues to task the military with new missions.

  • Secretary Gates has said that the military needs 2 percent – 3 percent real growth just to keep executing the missions that DOD has already been assigned.

  • Secretary Gates described deficit reduction plans that let budget targets drive defense policy as “math, not strategy.”


Ryan Supports Historic Spending Cut; Calls For Budget Debate Country Deserves

Budget Chairman continues to advance The Path To Prosperity

April 11, 2011
WASHINGTON – House Budget Committee Paul Ryan of Wisconsin issued the following statement in support of legislation to cut spending now and help grow the economy:

“I applaud the leadership of Speaker Boehner in securing tens of billions of dollars in spending cuts, forcing the President and his party’s leaders to retreat from their reckless spending spree. The historic spending cut turns the page from Washington’s pervasive culture of spending, sending a welcome signal to job creators and cleaning up the unprecedented budget mess left by the last Congress.

“There is no question more work is needed to restrain the explosive growth of government and spur sustained economic growth and job creation. Last week, the House Budget Committee advanced a new budget for the United States government – The Path to Prosperity – that will move the debate in Washington from billions in spending cuts to trillions. Later this week, the House of Representatives will consider this budget, which cuts $6.2 trillion in spending over the next decade and helps restore America’s exceptional promise.

“I'm encouraged to see the House Republicans’ leadership advance a budget debate our country deserves. The President, having already put forward an irresponsible budget, has failed to lead on fixing our fiscal problems. I remain hopeful that the President’s remarks on Wednesday will provide more than empty rhetoric and empty promises. If the President does choose to follow our lead with serious proposals that address the drivers of our debt, save our health and retirement security programs, and remove the anchors holding back our economy, the door is open.

“We need a clean break from the politics of the past. Leaders from both sides of the aisle will need to work together to put the budget on the path to balance and the economy on the path to prosperity.”

To learn more about the House Republicans’ FY2012 Budget Resolution – The Path To Prosperity:

Print version of this document


Changing perverse incentives

As soon as Rep. Paul Ryan's plan to save Medicare came out, the Congressional Budget Office said it could result in old people spending a lot more out of pocket.

Or maybe not, said the CBO, but critics ignored the second possibility and touted the first as signaling that the congressman from Janesville must hate old people. One wonders: How do these critics use staircases, since they surely doubt that gravity will go on working?

Ryan, the Republican who heads the House Budget Committee, talked of Medicare as part of his bigger plan to stave off national fiscal ruin. He maps out taxes and debt and corn subsidies, but most admirably, he deals with the entitlement programs that make up 60% of federal spending - especially Medicare, the ever rising cost of which will smother us all as the baby boom retires.

Patrick McIlheran is a Journal Sentinel editorial columnist.

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Last Updated (Thursday, 14 April 2011 01:04)

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