Why exactly should anyone care what Paul Ryan says:
If Mr. Obama decides to talk, he’ll find that we actually agree on some things. For example, most of us agree that gradual, structural reforms are better than sudden, arbitrary cuts. For my Democratic colleagues, the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act are a major concern. And the truth is, there’s a better way to cut spending. We could provide relief from the discretionary spending levels in the Budget Control Act in exchange for structural reforms to entitlement programs.
There are at least two crazy bits in this statement: Paul Ryan has been saying for years that we need to make big cuts now (now!!!!); a compromise with Democrats is to let them help decide where to make cuts–there’s absolutely no possibility of any new taxes.
We should also enact pro-growth reforms that put people back to work—like opening up America’s vast energy reserves to development. There is even some agreement on taxes across the aisle.
Rep. Dave Camp (R., Mich.) and Sen. Max Baucus (D., Mont.) have been working for more than a year now on a bipartisan plan to reform the tax code. They agree on the fundamental principles: Broaden the base, lower the rates and simplify the code.
Obviously allowing more energy development is going to help the economy because … well, it just will–just ignore the added pollution that will come with it and don’t even think about that Climate change thing. Also, notice the sleight of hand with taxes–the ‘some agreement’ is that some Democrats with parts of restructuring the tax code if–well, it doesn’t matter what the if is, because the Republicans will never agree to that part of it (it would involve increasing taxes on the rich). Here’s what Paul Ryan means by broadening the base and lowering the rates: big tax cuts for the rich, tax increases for the rest of us.
This isn’t a grand bargain. For that, we need a complete rethinking of government’s approach to helping the most vulnerable, and a complete rethinking of government’s approach to health care. But right now, we need to find common ground. We need to open the federal government. We need to pay our bills today—and make sure we can pay our bills tomorrow. So let’s negotiate an agreement to make modest reforms to entitlement programs and the tax code.
Notice that he is saying that this whole piece will just be the first stage–he wants to force big cuts, but he’s willing to settle for smaller ones for now. The next time there’s a deadline, expect more demands. And he doesn’t even talk about Obamacare–there will certainly be more demands on that at the future deadlines.
So, shorter Paul Ryan: If President Obama agrees to cut taxes to the rich, cut programs to the poor, and reduce environmental rules, Republicans will agree to reopen the government. They will have more demands in the future.