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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Ryan proposal tackles budget crisis

Move on over 2011 budget, here comes the 2012 budget. Yep, we had about two seconds to rest before new problems popped up. And with House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan having presented his sweeping budget proposal, and President Barack Obama laying out his ideas for deficit reduction, the debate starts again.  

The very fact that Ryan is standing by the tough proposals, which tackle the entitlements that many Washington elite view as untouchable, already gives him a leg up on Obama.

Ryan’s plan essentially couples reduced taxes with reduced spending, with entitlement reform and restructuring as part of the mix. Of course, Democrats didn’t even have to review the proposal to know that they would oppose it. But they, along with critics in general, are correct in fretting over the fact that this proposal does not exactly pay down the debt.

This, however, is easily remedied. One needs only to look to the Simpson-Bowles commission report and observe their proposals for tax reform. While one can nitpick the individual proposals attached to this tax reform, in its entirety, it essentially targets upwards of $1 trillion in tax loopholes, deductions and other credits. Reform here would keep the revenue flowing without strapping American citizens with a new tax burden.

Increase in revenue without an increase in tax rates. Who would have guessed? Very few up on Capitol Hill.  

Once again, the merits of the Simpson-Bowles plan with regard to tax reform can be debated, but its seriousness in tackling waste and inefficiency in the tax code is to be commended. And it is through this type of reform that the revenue gap in Ryan’s budget proposal can be filled.

Putting aside that one major flaw, however, Ryan has truly come out on top of this whole budget debate as a serious and credible voice on fiscal policy. This is because he has got it right when it comes to spending reduction. He understands the need for serious cuts as an impetus for overall deficit reduction.  

Obama, not to be left in the dust, presented his own budget ideas while speaking at George Washington University. But where he echoed the popular sentiment to cut spending, he did so in a tepid, noncommittal fashion. And then came the tax hike proposals. To his credit, he also spoke of a general simplification of the tax code, but even so, he still came off sounding much more in favor of taxing the rich. To be sure, in simple mathematical terms, a decrease in spending along with the increased revenue following tax increases will in the long term reduce the deficit. But this largely misses the point when the U.S. finds itself in the middle of a fragile economic recovery.

In short, taxes are detestable under really any circumstance. But to consider levying them against the rich (which would happen to lump in businesses that are already struggling, not just the uber-rich Oprahs and Bill Gates of the country) is definitely not something to do during tough economic times.  

The challenges that this country faces are complex and daunting. But when looking at the Ryan plan vs. the Obama plan, the former makes a much more genuine and, frankly, daring attempt at balancing the budget.

These budgets are political documents from the get go, and, especially with a divided congress, are not destined to go far in their original state. But Ryan has raised the bar. Concessions will be made and deadlines will loom, just as they did over a week ago. But with this 2012 budget proposal, we know that Ryan is in it for the long haul. He has a concrete plan, whereas the naysayers still struggle to match their rhetoric with serious results.

In short, one young congressman has managed to outshine all the rest in this budget debate. And given a few tweaks, his plan might actually work.

 

— Tanner Weigel is a sophomore studying Spanish and history. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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