More liberal middle class Orwellian language

Mar 12, 2013 by

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Rep. Chris ‘idiot’ Van Hollen (D-MD), the Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, knows Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) well. The two are often paired against each other in media interviews, debating budget issues in a calm and respectful manner. So it is somewhat surprising, and disappointing, to see that Van Hollen attempt to pre-empt Ryan’s new budget, which balances within ten years, by accusing it of hurting “middle class, seniors, veterans, women, children, federal employees, low-income families, and those nearing retirement.”

That is a response worthy of the demagoguery of President Barack Obama, not a serious budget analyst.

Ryan’s budget, which will be released on Capitol Hill this morning, aims to balance the budget by trimming the deficit by $4.6 trillion over ten years. It is not based on cuts to government spending, but rather cuts to the growth of government spending–hardly the definition of “austerity,” as the Huffington Post headline screams this morning. In addition, the Ryan budget achieves balance without raising taxes, relying on pro-growth policies to increase federal revenues and reduce the percentage of federal spending to 19.1% of GDP.

The Ryan budget is politically ambitious–it assumes the repeal of Obamacare–but also financially serious. One would have thought it would have been possible for Van Hollen to welcome the overall goal of Ryan’s plan, even if he differs strongly with some of the specifics. Instead, Van Hollen, playing the good party man, blasts the budget in the propagandist terms that any Democrat, with no knowledge of the issues, could have used.

“Mathematically,” Van Hollen writes in a Politico op-ed, “there is no other way to eliminate the deficit in ten years without a balanced approach that includes additional revenue–and Ryan knows it.” Actually, what Van Hollen knows is that Republicans make dynamic, rather than static, assumptions. In other words, Ryan predicts that the economy will grow if taxes are low (and growth will fall if taxes are high), whereas Democrats assume, contrary to experience, that growth will be the same regardless of the level of taxes.

To Van Hollen–at least the Van Hollen that attacked Ryan’s budget today, though he knows better–using economic growth to balance a budget is “trickery.” So, too, is the idea that spending patterns will change. Van Hollen accuses Ryan of sneaking $2 trillion in cuts through the back door, in the form of “allowances” and changes in the composition of spending. He makes that accusation though he admits he has not yet seen the budget. No doubt, that $2 trillion will find its way into the Democrats’ talking points on MSNBC.

It is odd, just when President Obama finally seemed to be reaching out to Ryan and other Republicans–meeting with Ryan for the first time (!) in his presidency–that Van Hollen would have resorted to partisan attacks reminiscent of the 2012 campaign trail. What Van Hollen is suggesting is not that the Ryan budget is wrong, but that it is built on bad motives and lies. Van Hollen uses those empty, unsubstantiated charges to push an old tax-and-spend agenda that has sunk the nation into staggering debt. Perhaps the Democrats’ idea is to have Van Hollen play the “bad cop” to Obama’s new “good cop” routine. That is unfortunate, because the Ryan budget is a serious plan for the future, and because Van Hollen surely knows better.

via Van Hollen Recycles 2012 Campaign Rhetoric: Ryan Budget is ‘Trickery,’ Hurts ‘Middle Class’.

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