The PJ Tatler

White House Befuddled by Paul Ryan's Budget Math

The White House reacted to this year’s Path to Prosperity GOP budget by claiming “the math just doesn’t add up” on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) deficit-reduction proposal.

“Under our proposal, the government spends no more than it collects in revenue—or 19.1% of gross domestic product each year. As a result, we’ll spend $4.6 trillion less over the next decade,” Ryan wrote in the Wall Street Journal this morning.

“Our opponents will shout austerity, but let’s put this in perspective. On the current path, we’ll spend $46 trillion over the next 10 years. Under our proposal, we’ll spend $41 trillion. On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year. Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%. Because the U.S. economy will grow faster than spending, the budget will balance by 2023, and debt held by the public will drop to just over half the size of the economy,” he continued.

A lengthy response from press secretary Jay Carney said “deficit reduction that asks nothing from the wealthiest Americans has serious consequences for the middle class.”

“By choosing to give the wealthiest Americans a new tax cut, this budget as written will either fail to achieve any meaningful deficit reduction, raise taxes on middle class families by more than $2,000 – or both.  By choosing not to ask for a single dime of deficit reduction from closing tax loopholes for the wealthy and well-connected, this budget identifies deep cuts to investments like education and research – investments critical to creating jobs and growing the middle class.  And to save money, this budget would turn Medicare into a voucher program–undercutting the guaranteed benefits that seniors have earned and forcing them to pay thousands more out of their own pockets,” he said. “We’ve tried this top-down approach before.  The President still believes it is the wrong course for America.”

Ryan’s budget opens lands to energy development and approves the Keystone XL pipeline, starts offering seniors a range of insurance plans beginning in 2024, and launches welfare and tax-code reform.

“The President has put forward a balanced approach to deficit reduction with no sacred cows.  It includes more Medicare savings over the next decade than the House Republican budget, but it does so by cracking down on waste and fraud, not by asking middle class seniors to bear the burden.  It closes tax loopholes for the wealthiest and biggest corporations so we can still afford to create jobs by investing in education, manufacturing, infrastructure, and small businesses,” Carney said.

The White House, perhaps wanting to keep Obama’s path to Hill for caucus meetings this week smooth, said the president will work with Republicans, but stressed his plan is the best.

“This is the approach the American people overwhelmingly support, and that is what the President will continue to fight for each day,” Carney said.