Paul Ryan at the Wall Street Journal

Yes I am fascinated with Rep. Paul Ryan. Here is his interview over at the Wall Street Journal. He talks about a bunch of different things. Items that I found interesting:

1) Yes he is a budget “hawk”, but a “pro-growth” budget hawk. What that means is he will stomach deficits and the tax cuts that feed deficits because he believes the economy will be dragged by increasing taxes. While he attempts to make a distinction between tax cuts and other “spending” that has budgetary impacts I think he did a poor job of it. Republicans say that you cannot compare tax cuts with spending (such as on unemployment benefits), and he is critical of the “new spending” and what he calls demand side stimulus contained in the bipartisan agreement, which he supports. But he never directly deals with how the tax cuts impact the deficit, simply saying that growth, plus spending cuts and entitlement reform will get us where we need to go.

2) He apparently does not believe, as Krauthammer does, that the bill will provide stimulus. He calls it a sugar high, with a short term jolt that will dissipate. Back to the WSJ mantra that cutting marginal tax rates is what produces economic growth, and hence his support for keeping the Bush tax rates in place.

3) He did not rule out a revenue component to deficit cutting, but insisted that it be part of a tax simplification process that will reduce rates and eliminate deductions. On this score he seemed at least sympathetic to the goals of the Deficit Commission.

4) He defended his vote no vote on the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan by saying that they had punted on health care, which is a huge driver of federal spending. On that score he agrees with Paul Krugman, who attacked the Commission report from the left in part by making the same point.

5) As part of his Roadmap he touted two items. The first is the conversion of Medicaid to a federal block grant program. (Medicaid is the federal- state health care program for the poor) The second would be major changes in Medicare, including what he calls “premium support” that would turn the program into a “voucher” system, with private health plans competing for business from the seniors with these vouchers. The key point here is that the system would not even come close to providing federal dollars to match current rate of Medicare spending. Bottom line is that while it would achieve cost control over the program by simply limiting federal “premium support” increases, spending on health care for seniors would drop dramatically. And I do mean dramatically. Ryan, along with Democrat Alice Rivlin, has submitted the Rivlin-Ryan plan on Medicaid and Medicare. That necessarily must be another post, because it represents the true heart of this deficit debate.

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5 Responses to Paul Ryan at the Wall Street Journal

  1. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Interesting take on Rep Ryan. Your “fair and Balanced” report lacks just one thing. Balance.

    You apply a test to all your Republican targets which is to note they don’t say in detail how something they propose is to be achieved. You NEVER demand the same logic from your friends.

    I am trying to remember your entry after Nancy Pelosi, “said you would have to pass Healthcare to see what it does or how it works”. How about giving Republicans the same “out”.

    Remember the add that said, “Try it You’ll love it.”

    I await you next chapter of “Rep Ryan talks”

    You fellows handled the gas outage expertly.



  2. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    Are you following the Compton CA school rebellion. Parents kicked the union and Administration. Turning it over to a Charter School. You ready for this; They are largely Liberals.

    Google parents revolution or

    You will be jealous.



  3. Bill Manzi says:


    I have been harder on the Republicans on the deficit for one reason only. They claimed that the short term stimulus spending done by President Obama was wrong because it added to the deficit. In this case, right or wrong, the Dems have primarily said they favor short term stimulus that would add to the deficit. So how can I be as hard on them, when that was not their position pre-election. The Republicans ran on deficit reduction, not the Democrats. Now what we know to be the truth is this. BOTH parties favor short term stimulus and expansion of the deficit. But they favor different forms of stimulus. But the Republican hypocrisy on the deficit has been exposed.



  4. Bill Manzi says:


    I missed that law, and appreciate the link. I had been looking at a posting on Michelle Rhee, who is starting a new organization centered around educational change. She is the bane of teacher unions throughout the country. A post on this soon.



  5. Jules Gordon says:

    Your Honor,

    In reference to your response to the Paul Ryan post.

    The congress and the President are in compromise mode. Everyone is piling on the bucks for pet projects. If you add up the crap being added by the partys I bet the Dems got more.

    Anyway, things are moving unlike before when your friends ran everything, and the Republicans haven’t even taken their majority position. (Can they stay true to their principles–Stay tuned—-Tea Party call to action)




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