09 April, 2011

Ryan’s Path To Prosperity–Second Look

Speaking of crap sandwiches
No, Paul Ryan’s (R-WI-01) plan isn’t a crap sandwich. But it’s no Philly Cheesesteak either. And it’s certainly not filet mignon.
I stand by what I said in my first look, that overall it’s a great start.
But there are some problems.
  • Spending is still too high. It’s still over 20% of GDP. As I said in my last, that’s a problem. It’s barely over, at 20.5%, but it is over. We need to get it to around 19%. Or lower.
  • Defense spending is still too high. Which is probably why it’s still over 20% of GDP. Look, I understand that defense is always where the Dems go first for “cuts”, and that many on the conservative side feel like defense has given up enough. But, we need to put everything on the table if we’re going to be serious about remaining an economic power. We have no chance of being a military power if we’re not an economic one. Defense cuts need to be part of the plan. Just not the biggest part.
  • Ryan claims we’ll get to 4% unemployment by 2015, which is extremely unlikely. That makes all of his numbers following 2015 circumspect.
  • The long term entitlement reforms are extremely vague. He makes broad strokes and gives us numbers, but it’s hard to believe these numbers without more detail.
  • It doesn’t balance the budget until nearly 2040. And that’s under a best case scenario. Of course, this destroys the argument that it’s extreme. Supposedly we had a balanced budget back in 1998, a mere 13 years ago. Taking 29 years to rebalance it is “extreme”? Not hardly.
  • The final bad thing is that this document is going to be the starting point for budget negotiations in 2012. This is a bad starting point. We should be looking at something like this as the end point. Because whatever we get in place of this, will be a crap sandwich.
No, before you think I’m being super critical, you have to understand that Ryan clearly sees the problems we’re facing. And he’s bold enough to point them out. And he has presented a serious plan to address them. No one else has done that. Certainly not President Barack Obama (D-USA), who seems to have decided that it’s best to pretend that the problems don’t exist. I may have problems with the details (or lack thereof in some places), but that’s going to be true no matter what plan we eventually adopt. At least this is a serious proposal to get us pointed in the right direction.
For more on his seriousness, and the seriousness of our situation, look at this week’s weekly Republican address, given by him.

Veronique de Rugy has more criticisms at Reason. Many mirror my own, but she’s even more critical.

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