Another Sunday, another week where Republicans are allowed to come on the air unchallenged and lie about the reasons for their hostage-taking on raising the debt ceiling. Paul Ryan tells CNN's Candy Crowley that the reason we're running into this debt ceiling is due to "the spending spree that has occurred over the last two years." Never mind that Bush broke the bank with two illegal invasions and tax cuts for the rich.
Never mind, as our own Jon Perr wrote here, that Republicans have proven time and time again they really don't care about the deficits, unless a Democrat is president.
Never mind that the only reasons the Republicans now care about raising the debt ceiling is they want an excuse to dismantle all of our social safety nets. No, all of our problems with the economy supposedly started just in the last two years.
Ryan also claims that they need to slash the budget, which will make the economy worse, in order to keep us from having another recession. And in order to supposedly keep us out of recession, Ryan and his cohorts are willing to threaten not to raise the debt ceiling, which in turn would cause a recession or worse.
Of course Crowley didn't want to "get into a numbers game" but was more interested in what he thought of the politics being played out. And then she allows Ryan to pretend like all of town hall meetings he held "went phenomenally" with no mention of the booing and angry constituents he ran into at them.
Crowley also allowed Ryan to rattle off some talking points from the American Petroleum Institute on ending the tax subsidies for the oil companies, claiming that it would raise gas prices and harm job creation in America.
So par for the course, not only were the Sunday shows loaded up with Republicans this week, they were allowed interviews like this to read off their talking points unchallenged.
Transcript via CNN:
CROWLEY: Joining me now, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee.
Congressman, thanks for joining us. Let me talk to you about...
RYAN: Good morning.
CROWLEY: I think that you heard Senator McConnell say that he was waiting to see what was going to come out of the commission that Biden is heading with Republicans and Democrats on it. As far as you are concerned, must whatever plan comes out of this commission include Medicare reform before you would vote for an increase in the debt ceiling?
RYAN: Well, I think it should, because Medicare is in the future the greatest driver of...
CROWLEY: Must it?
RYAN: ... our debt. We -- like Mitch McConnell, I don't think it is in our interest to be negotiating through the media. So, no offense, Candy, but I think we should be not doing that.
CROWLEY: You are no fun, but OK.
RYAN: But let's get this -- no, I know, I know. Let's get this straight though, we need to address the drivers of our debt. The whole reason we are running into this debt limit so soon is because of the spending spree that has occurred over the last two years.
And so just like Mitch McConnell was saying, we need short-, medium-, and long-term fiscal reforms to get this under control, to prevent a debt crisis from hitting us. And like John Boehner said, for every dollar the president wants to raise the debt limit, we are saying cut at least a dollar's worth of spending because that is the necessary thing to do to stave off a debt crisis.
If we get a debt crisis, Candy, then we have another recession or worse. And that's what we want to avoid.
CROWLEY: So Senator McConnell also indicated that he didn't want to talk about a $2 trillion figure, which is what the speaker sort of put out there saying, there has got to be -- before I will bring along Republicans on the House side, has to be $2 trillion in cuts, which I took to mean in addition to whatever you are raising the debt ceiling by.
Do you believe the $2 trillion figure is where you start and you won't go below that?
RYAN: Look, we offered over $6 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years with our budget. What we've brought to the table is our budget, which has those spending cuts, those spending reforms. We have yet to see a concrete proposal offered by either the president or the Senate Democrats.
So we're the ones who have put out all the specifics and details. We have yet to see counter-offers from the other side. And the reason the $2 trillion number is floating around is because that is the number in which the president has asked Congress to raise the debt limit by.
And so when we say we want at least as much spending cuts for debt limit increase and the president throws up a $2 trillion number, that is where you're getting this $2 trillion number.
If he says let's do $1 trillion in debt limit increase, then we want at least over $1 trillion in spending cuts. And so that's why you'll hear that $2 trillion number.
CROWLEY: OK. And let me -- I just want to sort of get factually two things clear. You would agree that the Bush administration added greatly to this deficit and this debt that you are now looking at.
RYAN: I would. Look, both parties messed this up. This is not a Republican created problem or a Democrat created problem, it is both parties. And we've got to face up that if we're going to get this situation under control.
CROWLEY: And the president does have some ideas out there. You're not the only one with specific ideas. He's put them all out there, you all just don't like them.
RYAN: Well, yes, but you got to remember his budget does nothing close to closing the fiscal gap. He gave a speech which said do more Medicare rationing. We asked the Congressional Budget Office to give us an analysis of this framework. They basically said they can't score speeches. So we still have yet to see from the administration a plan that actually fixes our fiscal problem.
And of course, as you know, we've seen nothing from the Senate so far.
CROWLEY: Right. Others I just want to add here. Certainly check facts, have said that your plan also falls short in the deficit reduction, but rather than get into a numbers game with you, I want to step back and look at this a little politically.
And that is, I want you to sell me this politically. Because as you know, some of your members went home and took a beating on Medicare. The idea that Medicare, as we know it, would be replaced by a subsidy system that would be capped for those as you get wealthier. And a lot of people said don't change Medicare, we see this in the polls.
So you have that, that the Republicans are -- at least your plan and many Republicans backing it, is out there. And then you have Republicans refusing to say, yes, we ought to cut the subsidies we give to the multi-multi billion dollar oil industry. Sell me on that to me politically. How is that shared sacrifice?
RYAN: OK. So first, I would say our town hall meetings went phenomenally well. Mine in particular. Second of all, Medicare is going broke. The trustees just reminded us of this last week.
And so it's not a question of if Medicare is going to change, it clearly is because it is going broke, the question is how will we reform it.
CROWLEY: But politically, don't you think it is a problem for you all to be kind of backing the tax breaks that oil companies are getting while requiring seniors or asking that seniors pay more and have a different Medicare system or seniors to come. I realize it won't affect seniors today.
RYAN: I would argue that's really kind of a non sequitur. The comparison of the two numerically speaking, are infinitesimally different. Medicare has tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities. It overwhelms any other thing such as small provisions like that.
Now with respect to oil company tax subsidies, we've all along said let's reform the tax code, let's clear out the brush in the tax shelters for all different businesses so we can lower tax rates on everybody so that we can have a more internationally competitive tax system to get jobs created.
Now with the one provision you are tacking about, it is a tax benefit that goes to all manufacturers in America if they make something in America. What they're talking about singling out the oil and gas industry and raising their tax rates compared to every or manufacturers which simply eliminates this tax benefit that goes to every manufacturer and therefore raise the cost of producing American oil and gas and make us more dependent on foreign oil and gas. I don't think that's really a good idea.
I just filled up my Suburban yesterday. It cost me $100 to fill up with gas and I couldn't even fill the tank because the pump cut off at $100. We've got high gas prices. raising taxes on American made oil and gas doesn't help that, it hurts that.
But let's go back to the scratch here. We have a country that's going broke. We have a very important entitlement, Medicare, that millions of seniors depend on. And so what we're saying is don't change these benefits to people who are in and near retirement. Who have already organized their lives around these benefits but we have got to reform this program for the next generation if we're going to save it for the next generation and that's what we're proposing to do.