Is Ryan freaking out about the end-of-the-world spending cuts?
Add Paul Ryan to the list of skeptics of the Sequester Apocalypse. The cuts would amount to about 3 cents on the dollar over the next decade, not quite enough to bring the country to its knees. Ryan was a guest on the Hugh Hewitt Show and talked about the president's attempts to gin up a crisis:
Paul Ryan: So we’ll call this the Washington Monument effect. It’s kind of like when your local school board is told that they can’t get a tax increase, so they say well, the first thing we’re going to cut is the band and the football team. The Washington Monument, the first thing that’s going to get shut down if the government has to live with less money. We see that as kind of the political game that the President is playing here. Let’s never forget to remind people, though, that the President is the one who insisted on the sequester in the first place.
The President is the one who designed the sequester as it’s currently designed. And the President is the one who has yet to put a plan on the table to actually replace the sequester. And it is the House Republicans who twice passed legislation replacing the sequester with other cuts. So I think it’s important to know this history when you’re listening to all this rhetoric that’s coming, these protestations about cutting spending. We would like to cut spending in a smarter way than sequester does. We’ve proposed specifically how we will do this.
On March 1st, I believe that you and I will probably give these government agencies a scalpel and discretion on how to cut spending so that they can cut lower priority spending and not higher priority spending, and enable to make sure that sequester doesn’t actually damage certain priorities.
JC: Okay, so now let’s assume for the moment that the sequester goes through. In the budget, then, are those the numbers…as you’ve said, that’s about this year, and the budget is about next year and beyond. Are those the numbers that we begin next year with then?
PR: Yes, that’s right. So what we will do, I believe, is we will have a continuing resolution saying keep the government funded at current law levels. Current law levels, in the post-sequester moment, is the sequester levels. And so our budget will reflect what the law of the land is, what reality is, what actual spending is, because that’s what budgets ought to do – reflect what actual spending is. And that’s what the sequester shows us. We have shown how and where we can cut spending in other areas to make up for the sequester. That’s what budgets do. That’s what we’ve passed twice.
Unfortunately, the President, absent any other leadership, you know, is going to bring sequester about. And our budget will clearly reflect that, because if you don’t, then we’re not, we can’t turn off the sequester without replacing those spending cuts with other spending cuts. We believe that you need to go beyond just what the sequester achieves, $1.2 trillion dollars in savings over ten years. You need four or five times that amount if you’re going to get America on a good path, to stabilize our debt, to prevent a debt crisis. Independent fiscal experts agree, but the President, unfortunately, has chosen partisan politics, he’s chosen campaigning, he’s chosen press conferences to actually getting out there and governing, and showing how he would do things differently.