IBD: Ryan’s budget is hardly radical

posted at 10:01 am on August 14, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

We’re hearing a lot of scaaaaaaaary things about Paul Ryan’s budget proposal.  Taxes will go through the roof on the poor!  Budgets will get slashed to Calvin Coolidge levels!  Federal spending on wheelchairs will go up — only so we can push grandmas off of cliffs more efficiently!

Does any of this even approach reality?  Investors Business Daily does what no other media outlet can apparently do, and actually reads Ryan’s budget plan, which is so super-secret that it’s part of the Congressional Record.  (I hear that one can find the Lost Ark and the Charm of Making there, too.)  Is the Ryan budget plan for long-term structural reform of federal spending and entitlement programs radical?  Hardly:

His proposed spending and revenue levels are above historic averages. His Medicare reform has strong bipartisan support. His tax reform plan is similar to one proposed by Obama’s own bipartisan debt reduction commission.

Ryan’s budget, which passed the House last March, would set the federal government on course to spend an average of 20% of GDP over the next decade. That’s slightly higher than the post-World War II average of 19.8%.

His tax plan would produce revenues averaging 18.3% of GDP. That, too, is somewhat higher than the 17.7% post-war average. What’s more, Ryan’s plan would set tax and spending rates higher than every Democratic president before Obama.

IBD includes this handy chart to measure Ryan’s spending and revenue plans against post-WWII historic averages:

The chart explains why some conservatives don’t particularly like Ryan’s approach.  It’s too moderate.  In their view, it takes too long to bring the federal budget into balance (more than two decades), and it still spends too much money.  Fiscal conservatives would prefer to see an 18% limit on federal spending, or perhaps even lower, as Congress eliminates entire departments of the federal government and devolves responsibility for their work to the states.

On the other hand, Ryan’s budget actually works, and it plays in the arena of the possible, at least in today’s political and media climate.  One only needs to look at the hysterical reaction to Ryan’s plan to return to what had been the pre-2000 norm of spending and revenue to understand just how difficult it has been to even getthis common-sense plan passed through a Republican-controlled House.

How does that compare to the Obama plan?  IBD has that answer, too:

His last budget, issued in February, would set federal spending over the next decade at 22.5% of GDP, on average, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

For context, federal spending reached or exceeded that level in only seven years out of the past 65 — and three of those were under Obama.

And Obama wants federal revenues to average 19.4% of GDP. That’s higher than all but six of the past 65 years.

What about Medicare?  Ryan wants to kill Medicare and toss Grandma to the tender mercies of — quelle horreur — insurance companies!  Er, not really:

But under his plan, Medicare spending in the near term would track levels set by Obama. Unlike Obama, however, Ryan wouldn’t use any of those near-term savings to finance ObamaCare, but would direct all that to extending the Medicare Trust Fund.

And starting in 2023, Ryan would offer retirees — who are today 55 or younger — the ability to choose from a range of private insurance options, as well as traditional Medicare, with the government providing a fixed level of premium support.

The thinking is that this will unleash competitive insurance market forces, keeping costs down, while providing greater control over federal spending. But Ryan’s plan would let Medicare spending continue to climb over the long term, just not as fast as projected under current law.

So, if Ryan’s plan for budget reform is so terrible, the Obama administration must have an alternative, right?  Right?

IBD editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez reminds us of this choice in his brilliant comparison today (via Power Line):

Elections are choices.  This one’s really not to difficult to make.

Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history.  Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here.  And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.

And a heads-up — Ramirez will have a new book out soon.  We’ll have more on that later this summer.


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Love Ramirez…

OmahaConservative on August 14, 2012 at 10:03 AM

What a great cartoon. Ramirez really is a genius.

search4truth on August 14, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Of course it’s hardly radical. It doesn’t cut anything.

Dante on August 14, 2012 at 10:06 AM

That cartoon is perfect!

aunursa on August 14, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Just FYI, for those following the link to the Charm of Making: I’m the one who translated it from the Irish. That was back when I was studying the language and could read and speak it reasonably well.

Ed Morrissey on August 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM

I doubt if the average Obama voter could even figure out a simple chart like the one above. We’ll have to hope that they can be woo’de by Ryan’s good looks.

BettyRuth on August 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Posted elsewhere – this is what President Downgrade’s plan will be called once the current system is bankrupted:

Socialist Crash Reform Emergency Wealth Equalization Mandate

Chip on August 14, 2012 at 10:09 AM

shouldn’t there have been a bowl of peas????

ted c on August 14, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Ryan’s budget is hardly radical

…but it’s radical for someone to present a budget…when we haven’t had one for over three years! What are they thinking! Ohhhhhh yeah!… No American family balances a checkbook anymore either?

KOOLAID2 on August 14, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Of course it’s hardly radical. It doesn’t cut anything.

Dante on August 14, 2012 at 10:06 AM

….eat your peas!

KOOLAID2 on August 14, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Just FYI, for those following the link to the Charm of Making: I’m the one who translated it from the Irish. That was back when I was studying the language and could read and speak it reasonably well.

Ed Morrissey on August 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM

is that derived from that wonderful love language of Austrian?

/lingual

ted c on August 14, 2012 at 10:15 AM

Michael Ramirez reminds us of this choice in his brilliant comparison today

Yep. And the hypocrisy of DWS and all the other Obama surrogates out there talking about grannie eating cat food is even more offensive by the fact that this administration has done nothing in the way of entitlement reform.

Happy Nomad on August 14, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Why would you let facts get in the way of Obama’s 100% untrue argument?

If Ryan’s plan has a problem, it is that it does not go far enough. Not that it is too radical to begin with.

milcus on August 14, 2012 at 10:20 AM

shouldn’t there have been a bowl of peas????

ted c on August 14, 2012 at 10:13 AM

The Obama Plan: he sits in a palace eating Wagyu beef (?? not sure I got the fancy name right) while we peasants live in shacks eating peas bought by food stamps.

jwolf on August 14, 2012 at 10:22 AM

lower increases in spending! raaaaaaacist

Slade73 on August 14, 2012 at 10:24 AM

The Democrats will try anything and everything to demonize Paul Ryan because they are scared out of their pitiful little minds by him. by way of contrast though, <a href="1 Heartbeat Away from the Oval Office“>there is this cute little video comparing Paul Ryan and Slow Joe, The Villages Idiot.

SWalker on August 14, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Anything that slows down cloward-piven is “radical”.

wolly4321 on August 14, 2012 at 10:28 AM

There was a movie a while back, where vampires had taken over the world. One faction wanted to eat all the humans right away, and the other faction wanted to keep people barely alive on life support, so they could keep sucking blood forever.

logis on August 14, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Budgets will get slashed to Calvin Coolidge levels!

Now THAT’s a petition I would SIGN!

LoganSix on August 14, 2012 at 10:30 AM

The truth is Ryan’s plan is just about the bare minimum. It buys us time – real time, not just kicking it down the road, but more decisions will need to be made and if we cannot streamline the regulation happy clowns in DC, we will see the same problem later as revenues fail to hit the targets.

Scary to think that the democrats are this derelict in their obligations. Are there any grownups left in that party. The GOP isn’t exactly overflowing with that many themselves.

Zomcon JEM on August 14, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Ramirez is a white-hispanic racist.

Bishop on August 14, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Just FYI, for those following the link to the Charm of Making: I’m the one who translated it from the Irish. That was back when I was studying the language and could read and speak it reasonably well.

Ed Morrissey on August 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Go raibh maith agat, Ed!

NavyMustang on August 14, 2012 at 10:43 AM

white hispanic raaaaaacists won’t suffer under the Ryan plan

Paul Ryan hearts white hispanic raaaaaacists

Slade73 on August 14, 2012 at 10:48 AM

There’s gotta be a tie-in there about the Charm of Making and various and sundry Democrat pols canoodling about giving birth to horrendous legislation which has destroyed the country.

But my word-smithing fu and psyche simply aren’t up to the task…

catmman on August 14, 2012 at 10:56 AM

Ramirez rocks:)

jimver on August 14, 2012 at 11:05 AM

Let’s see. Ryan has a plan. And the Democrats have?

GarandFan on August 14, 2012 at 11:11 AM

Gonna be great when the real financial crisis comes. Even with the Ryan plan, it is not going to prevent it.

astonerii on August 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Ryan’s “plan”:

Spending @ 20.0% of GDP
Revenues @ 18.3% of GDP

Current GDP is reported in the neighborhood of $15.6T. Operating at a deficit of 1.7% means adding $265.2B annually to the National Debt.

Obama’s “plan”:

Spending @ 22.5% of GDP
Revenues @ 19.4% of GDP

For an annual deficit of 3.1% or $483.6B based on current GDP numbers.

There is no good news here. I’m thrilled that Ryan is Romney’s choice, and he will definitely take the Democrats to the woodshed on economic issues, but how is anyone supposed to be happy about continually increasing debt, with NO real attempt to reduce it? Of course, what’s more incredible is that so many people will buy the rhetoric lies that Ryan is going to destroy the economy with his “cuts”.

Actually, I can see how Obama’s plan will result in lesser deficits by the end of a decade. Considering that it is designed to strangle business, when GDP falls far enough the deficit value will as well. /s

Go us?

Freelancer on August 14, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I use these cartoons as my desktop wallpaper, and just had a co-worker tell me that “…the medicine in Ryan’s bottle is poison designed to kill us all – while Obama doesn’t need a plan – because the system is working just fine.”

Wow.

Hill60 on August 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

If a long term solution to an immediate problem is the best we can come up with, while the clock may not have officially run out, the game is already over.

DMartin on August 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM

I doubt if the average Obama voter could even figure out a simple chart like the one above. We’ll have to hope that they can be woo’de by Ryan’s good looks.

BettyRuth on August 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM

My 17 year old daughter just texted me this morning telling me what “a cutie” Ryan is. She isn’t an Obama supporter but I still thought it was funny after reading your comment. :)

maables on August 14, 2012 at 12:12 PM

Ctrl+F: “Vouchers”

….. Really? You’re going to talk about the logistics of his plan without acknowledging what actually constitutes the main change to Medicare that he’s proposing? You’re better than this E.

Typhonsentra on August 14, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Comments from Eskine Bowles, a d-cRAT, Bill “monica-stain” Clinton’s former White House Chief of Staff and Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s hand-picked d-cRAT co-chair of his debt commission:

“I’m telling you this guy (Paul Ryan) is amazing. I always thought that I was OK with arithmetic, but this guy can run circles around me. And, he is honest. He is straightforward. He is sincere. And, the budget that he came forward with is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, serious budget and it cut the budget deficit by $4 trillion… The President came out with his own plan and the President came out, as you will remember, with a budget and I don’t think anyone took that budget very seriously. The Senate voted against it 97 to nothing.”

TeaPartyNation on August 14, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Just FYI, for those following the link to the Charm of Making: I’m the one who translated it from the Irish. That was back when I was studying the language and could read and speak it reasonably well.

Ed Morrissey on August 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Ed: quite true, but you do NOT look as good as Helen Mirren wearing the see-through chain mail top while speaking the ‘Charm of Making’… No, Sir!!

Khun Joe on August 14, 2012 at 3:54 PM

It is pretty damn sad when any kind of restraint at all, is seen as dangerous or radical.

Terrye on August 14, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Ed Morrissey on August 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Just FYI, the pro wrestler Sheamus speaks Irish.

As for Ryan’s plan, it is really hard for me to understand what all the fuss is about. At 64 I will probably not live long enough to see any changes in Medicare, and having a plan that will start to effect change 11 years from now is just fantasy. Give Congress eleven years to tinker with something and anything can happen. Neither candidate nor either party has a plan to do something now to shift course. Regardless of who wins on 11/7 we are still headed for the cliff.

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on August 14, 2012 at 4:13 PM

Ryan’s plan does one thing for the under 55 crowd; it’ll change the way you think about your OWN health.

LizardLips on August 15, 2012 at 9:59 AM