Ryan's Hope

K.E. Campbell
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Budget Committee chair, is many things: smart, energetic, articulate, charismatic. A nice guy. And a big government guy too, based on the budget he's championing.

Economist John Tamny makes a good case for this in a column on RealClearMarkets. According to Tamny, Ryan's budget, at best, only slows the expansion of the leviathan that is the federal government.

"Far from a major reduction in the size and scope of government, Ryan's alleged lurch to fiscal sanity involves returning us to 2008 levels of spending; the very levels that so angered a less organized Republican base not long ago such that they handed the keys to the Democrats... [H]igh levels of spending loom large, and a return to 2008 levels reveals a Republican leadership still well out of touch with the an increasingly skeptical base."

Ryan's budget outline, which the House passed on Friday by a vote of 235-193, shows federal outlays increasing from $3.5 trillion in fiscal 2012 to $4 trillion in 2017 to $4.5 trillion by 2020. Over the next decade, spending is projected to total $40 trillion under the House plan versus $46 trillion in the president's budget. From that lofty vantage point, one can see deck chairs being rearranged on the Titanic.

Ryan is committing a fatal error, says Tamny, by focusing on the deficit. This implicitly and wrongly suggests a revenue problem, which derails the debate and opens the door for tax hikes. The real problem is spending -- by both parties, for too long -- outside the scope of constitutional government. Ryan also errs in touting "revenue neutrality," thereby keeping us on the path toward a soft tyranny. Says Tamny:

"...it's long past time that the Republicans cease their worship of rising federal receipts. In short, reduced revenues should be the goal of any tax plan so that politicians have less money to spend on needless programs."

Under Ryan's budget, no departments, boards, bureaus, or programs of any note would be abolished, with the exception of ObamaCare.

"...to read Ryan's summary of what the federal government should do is to read about the perpetuation of myriad programs that have no constitutional basis. Basically Ryan pays insulting lip service to constitutionally limited government...but then proposes a budget that reveals a great deal of contempt for the Constitution's limiting features."

Ryan and like-minded members in Congress have and will get pilloried by liberals and the mainstream media no matter, so why not push for real, substantive reductions in the size and scope of government? The reaction from both sides to Ryan's relatively modest proposals shows "just how silly the policy debate" has become. Given conservatives' lack of meaningful plans to get behind, we're left cheering for only "a less greedy tax collector for the welfare state." What's needed is budget reform.

The GOP has done a lousy job of explaining the benefits of limited, constitutional government. According to Tamny,

Rather than talk about the supposed pain and sacrifice of budget cuts, Republicans must mention constitutional principles first that necessitate major spending cuts, and then they must remind voters that the real pain and suffering is the work they put in to support an expensive and overbearing government. An actual reduction of that spending burden, far from an economic retardant, would release tens of trillions of financial capital into the productive sector, not to mention human capital suddenly needful of work that free markets might actually support.

Too many Republican politicians are members of the "ruling class" first and can't even talk a good constitutional game much less play one. But the true constitutionalists, the patriots with a Tea Party mindset who were recently elected or are now running for office, can and must do better at cutting through the leftist clutter and imparting the many benefits of limited government or, at least, a truly more limited one.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Budget Committee chair, is many things: smart, energetic, articulate, charismatic. A nice guy. And a big government guy too, based on the budget he's championing.

Economist John Tamny makes a good case for this in a column on RealClearMarkets. According to Tamny, Ryan's budget, at best, only slows the expansion of the leviathan that is the federal government.

"Far from a major reduction in the size and scope of government, Ryan's alleged lurch to fiscal sanity involves returning us to 2008 levels of spending; the very levels that so angered a less organized Republican base not long ago such that they handed the keys to the Democrats... [H]igh levels of spending loom large, and a return to 2008 levels reveals a Republican leadership still well out of touch with the an increasingly skeptical base."

Ryan's budget outline, which the House passed on Friday by a vote of 235-193, shows federal outlays increasing from $3.5 trillion in fiscal 2012 to $4 trillion in 2017 to $4.5 trillion by 2020. Over the next decade, spending is projected to total $40 trillion under the House plan versus $46 trillion in the president's budget. From that lofty vantage point, one can see deck chairs being rearranged on the Titanic.

Ryan is committing a fatal error, says Tamny, by focusing on the deficit. This implicitly and wrongly suggests a revenue problem, which derails the debate and opens the door for tax hikes. The real problem is spending -- by both parties, for too long -- outside the scope of constitutional government. Ryan also errs in touting "revenue neutrality," thereby keeping us on the path toward a soft tyranny. Says Tamny:

"...it's long past time that the Republicans cease their worship of rising federal receipts. In short, reduced revenues should be the goal of any tax plan so that politicians have less money to spend on needless programs."

Under Ryan's budget, no departments, boards, bureaus, or programs of any note would be abolished, with the exception of ObamaCare.

"...to read Ryan's summary of what the federal government should do is to read about the perpetuation of myriad programs that have no constitutional basis. Basically Ryan pays insulting lip service to constitutionally limited government...but then proposes a budget that reveals a great deal of contempt for the Constitution's limiting features."

Ryan and like-minded members in Congress have and will get pilloried by liberals and the mainstream media no matter, so why not push for real, substantive reductions in the size and scope of government? The reaction from both sides to Ryan's relatively modest proposals shows "just how silly the policy debate" has become. Given conservatives' lack of meaningful plans to get behind, we're left cheering for only "a less greedy tax collector for the welfare state." What's needed is budget reform.

The GOP has done a lousy job of explaining the benefits of limited, constitutional government. According to Tamny,

Rather than talk about the supposed pain and sacrifice of budget cuts, Republicans must mention constitutional principles first that necessitate major spending cuts, and then they must remind voters that the real pain and suffering is the work they put in to support an expensive and overbearing government. An actual reduction of that spending burden, far from an economic retardant, would release tens of trillions of financial capital into the productive sector, not to mention human capital suddenly needful of work that free markets might actually support.

Too many Republican politicians are members of the "ruling class" first and can't even talk a good constitutional game much less play one. But the true constitutionalists, the patriots with a Tea Party mindset who were recently elected or are now running for office, can and must do better at cutting through the leftist clutter and imparting the many benefits of limited government or, at least, a truly more limited one.