If House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has his way, this will be the last year he sits on the Budget Committee as he has his sights set on chairing the Ways and Means Committee. That means the latest iteration of the Path to Poverty unveiled by Ryan today will likely be his last. And I’ll be sad to see him go as he has provided so much ammunition to Democrats while accomplishing none of his core goals.
The Path to Poverty 4.0 has all the charms of those that came before it in the series — block grants, repealing Obamacare, cutting food stamps, magic asterisks — but this time there’s a certain “whatever” quality to it as a budget has already been passed. Moreover, Ryan’s budget would actually increase spending in some cases (you’ll never guess which ones) and still relies on the magic job-creating powers of tax cuts.
The New York Times has the details.
In his plan, military spending through 2024 would actually rise by $483 billion over the spending caps established in the 2011 Budget Control Act “consistent with America’s military goals and strategies,” while nondefense spending at Congress’s annual discretion would be cut by $791 billion below those strict limits.
In all, Mr. Ryan says, spending would be cut by $5.1 trillion over the next decade. More than $2 trillion of that would come from repealing Mr. Obama’s health care initiative, the Affordable Care Act, a political move that has become much more difficult with the closing of the first enrollment period.
Ryan’s budget would dismantle Obamacare piece by piece; first by ending insurance marketplaces and then eliminating the expansion of Medicaid.
As of today that would mean throwing 10 million people off of their health insurance as the New York Times points out, but that doesn’t account for projections made by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that predict Obamacare enrollment will increase significantly over the next three years. Taking this into account Ryan’s budget could mean kicking more than 20 million people off their insurance.
From the Congressional Budget Office:
Over time, more people are expected to respond to the new coverage options, so enrollment is projected to increase sharply in 2015 and 2016. Starting in 2017, between 24 million and 25 million people are expected to obtain coverage each year through exchanges, and roughly 80 percent of those enrollees are expected to receive subsidies for purchasing that insurance.
Of course that also doesn’t account for the cuts states would have to make to Medicaid when their block grant falls short of their needs.
Among other things, Ryan’s budget would also end subsidies for Amtrak, PBS, environmental research, arts and humanities, and efforts to combat global warming.
And yet even with all the cuts contained in Ryan’s budget — $5.1 trillion — it still wouldn’t lead to the dawn of a balanced budget because there’s no new sources of revenue accounted for in it that would make up for his massive tax cuts. Just as he has in the past, Ryan simply jots down a few magic asterisks on the page and relies on the mythical job-creating powers of tax cuts to plug holes in his math.
You’ve heard all this before, but what some people might not be aware of is the federal budget is already on its way toward being balanced. The federal deficit has already been cut more than half since President Obama took office and by the time he leaves office it will be nearly eliminated.
The federal deficit is not the Deepwater Horizon and we don’t need Ryan’s junk-shot.
Unfortunately this won’t be the last time we hear Ryan bleat about tax cuts or inner city work ethic even if it is the last time he produces a fantasy budget.