AndyO Blog

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Romney's VP running mate sends clear signal about economic policy

Today Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked Paul Ryan as his VP running mate. I honestly didn't know much about Ryan until today, although I've heard a lot about his budget plans -- as he's the House Budget Committee Chairman who wrote the Republican budget plan.

The Right is hailing Romney's choice as a bold, energizing move for the Republican ticket. The Left is pointing out that choosing Ryan sends a clear signal about Romney's economic policy intentions, with the Obama-Biden camp calling them "The Go Back Team."

What makes Ryan a bold, if not audacious choice, are his controversial budgets. Ryan's budgets, called the Path to Prosperity, according to the New York Times "defined nothing short of a conservative reordering of the nation�s tax and spending priorities for the 21st century."

And Romney has supported Ryan's controversial budgets in the past:

"I think it'd be marvelous if the Senate were to pick up Paul Ryan's budget and to adopt it and pass it along to the president," he was quoted as saying in March 2012.

Based on information from Congressional Budget Office and the House Budget Committee, the Times put together a chart about his plan:


In addition, the Times reported that the budget (highlighting be me):

Would set a cap on discretionary spending for fiscal year 2013 at $1.028 trillion, which is $19 billion lower than the cap established by the Budget Control Act in August 2011.

Would allow the military budget to grow with inflation over the 10-year period.

Would repeal President Obama's health care law, and like last year's proposal, transform Medicaid into a block grant to the states. Medicare would be changed to offer a menu of subsidized private insurance plans.

Balance the budget? by 2040

New revenues? No

Debt reduction: From 68% of G.D.P. in 2011 to 10% in 2050

For individuals, would eliminate deductions and credits and create just two income tax rates, 10 and 25 percent. Would reduce the top corporate income tax rate to 25 percent from 35 percent.

Paul Krugman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Economist, wrote about Ryan in his New York Times column:

So why have so many in Washington, especially in the news media, been taken in by this flimflam? It's not just inability to do the math, although that's part of it. There's also the unwillingness of self-styled centrists to face up to the realities of the modern Republican Party; they want to pretend, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence, that there are still people in the G.O.P. making sense. And last but not least, there's deference to power -- the G.O.P. is a resurgent political force, so one mustn't point out that its intellectual heroes have no clothes.

But they don't. The Ryan plan is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America's fiscal future.

As the media chewed over what Romney's choice in Ryan meant -- mostly pointing out the controversial points in Ryan's budget -- his campaign seems to have gotten a little nervous. They sent out talking points today distancing Romney from his comments and Ryan's budget.

1) Does this mean Mitt Romney is adopting the Paul Ryan plan?

Gov. Romney applauds Paul Ryan for going in the right direction with his budget, and as president he will be putting together his own plan for cutting the deficit and putting the budget on a path to balance.

Who did Romney think he was getting when chose Ryan? I think there are several reasons why Ryan is a good choice for Romney, but Ryan's budget isn't one of them (unless you're a Tea Party member who thinks it's all about spending and the deficit). For Romney to back away this quickly seems like a serious misstep.

After this backpedaling from his most important choice thus far as presidential candidate, I'm really starting to wonder who's advising Romney.

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posted by AndyO @ 8:21 PM   0 comments