The Ryan Budget's Savings Come From Shutting Down the Federal Government

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Sunday, 12 August 2012 07:35

The Washington Post seriously misled readers in an article on the Ryan budget. It asserted:

"The Congressional Budget Office [CBO] estimates that it [the Ryan Budget] would not bring the federal books into balance until around 2040. And most of its savings come from the long-term restructuring of entitlement programs."

Actually, in percentage terms by far the biggest savings in the Ryan budget comes from essentially shutting down the federal government, except for Social Security, health care programs and the military. The CBO analysis of his budget [Table 2] shows that all other areas of federal spending falls to 4.75 percent of GDP by 2040 and 3.75 percent of GDP by 2050.

Military spending is currently more than 4.0 percent of GDP and Representative Ryan has indicated that he wants to keep spending at its current levels or raise it. This means that under the Ryan Budget, by 2040 there will be almost no money left for national parks, education, the State Department, the Food and Drug Aministration, federal courts and all the other activities currently supported by the federal government. By 2050 there will be no money left for these activities. The Post has seriously misrepresented Representative Ryan's agenda by not pointing out thus fact to readers.

The article also misled readers by repeatedly referring to a report from the Bowles-Simpson commission. There was not report from the commission. A commission report required the support of 14 of the 18 members of the commission as is clearly stated in its by-laws. No plan received the necessary support to be approved by the commission. The report noted in this piece should be indentified as the report of the commission's co-chairs, Morgan Stanley director Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson.