AP Claims Ryan Budget Would ‘Cut Spending Much More Deeply’ Than Necessary

Historically, Republicans have been reluctant to put forward proposals to reform and reduce the size of government for fear of being denounced by the liberal press. Hours after U.S. Representative Paul Ryan unveiled a new Republican budget proposal, the Associated Press right on cue printed a story that savaged the plan for “cut[ing] spending much more deeply” on popular programs and relied on information favoring Democrats and anonymous “tax experts” to support its claims.

“Mixing deep cuts to safety-net programs for the poor with politically risky cost curbs for Medicare, Republicans controlling the House unveiled an election-year budget blueprint Tuesday that paints clear campaign differences with President Barack Obama,” the news article by Andrew Taylor stated in its first paragraph.

Next, Taylor noted that the “announcement reignited a full-throated budget battle” between the GOP and Democrats.

Led by Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin who serves as chairman of the House Budget Committee, members of the GOP “cast themselves as stepping up to a federal deficit crisis long ignored by both parties, while Democrats and their allies responded with promises to protect the elderly and the poor from drastic cuts they said would harm the most vulnerable Americans."

The Republican proposal “would wrestle the federal spending deficit to a manageable size in short order, but only by cutting Medicaid, food stamps, Pell Grants and a host of other programs that Obama and other Democrats have promised to defend.”

The plan “calls for steep drops in personal and corporate tax rates in exchange for clearing away hundreds of tax deductions and preferences,” the article adds. “It would eliminate oft-criticized corporate tax boondoggles but also tax deductions and credits claimed by the poor and middle class.”

But other than an endorsement from GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the article stated that several Democrats and the White House responded to the plan “with a verbal fusillade.”

Representative Edward Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, charged that House Republicans “once again are trotting out their well-worn playbook to ensure that billionaires and Big Oil triumph over Grandma, Grandpa, the poor and the struggling middle class.”

In addition, the article contained no response from the White House despite listing the Obama administration as part of the Democratic response to the proposal.

But that didn't prevent the author for speaking on behalf of President Barack Obama.

“Almost half of Ryan's spending cuts would come from $2.5 trillion in cuts to federal health care programs—including repeal of Obama's signature health care law—over the coming decade,” Taylor noted.

On taxes, the measure calls for eliminating a host of deductions and credits in order to produce a far simpler income tax code with just two rates for individuals: 10 percent and 25 percent.

However, the AP story quotes unidentified “tax experts” as saying that “the only way to get the top rate down to 25 percent—from 35 percent today—is to eliminate popular but expensive tax breaks like the deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and employer subsidies of health care coverage.”

Even if the plan is approved by the full House, the Senate—which has not had a budget since April 29, 2009—has no plans to debate a budget and will instead rely on last summer's bipartisan budget and debt pact to govern this year's round of spending bills.

Randy Hall
Randy Hall