Paul Ryan Defends Republicans' Hypocrisy on Budget Cuts
As Steve Benen noted, Paul Ryan and the Republicans think we can't afford to raise taxes on the rich, but he had no problem defending the massive budget cuts they are proposing that harm the most vulnerable in society.
So, let me get this straight. In order to help protect the interests of our children, we have to cut Head Start, student loans, Title I grants (which help schools with kids who live in poverty), and nutritional aid for pregnant women and women with young children.
By making these cuts, Paul Ryan believes he's helping make children's futures brighter. Presumably, the House Budget Committee chairman also intends to teach kids about fire safety by handing them matches and lighter fluid, and encouraging them to play.
And as Think Progress pointed out, Ryan and the GOP are talking out of both sides of their mouth on border security as well -- Despite GOP Border Security First Stance, Paul Ryan Will Defend A $600 Million Spending Cut:
For past several years, Republicans have repeatedly argued that they will not support comprehensive immigration reform until the border is secured. In 2006, current Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) stated that putting millions of undocumented immigrants on a path to legalization without meeting certain border security benchmarks would place “the cart before the horse.” “We spent a lot of time, effort and money getting more security on the border. But we’re nowhere close to having the kind of secure borders that Americans want,” said Boehner.
So, it comes as a surprise that Republicans are rallying behind a bundle of sharp spending cuts that include slashing $600 million from border security and immigration enforcement funds. Today, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee, told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he’s willing to defend each and every one of the spending cuts Republicans are proposing. [...]
Spending on immigration enforcement has soared since 2002 from $7.5 billion to over $17 billion in fiscal year 2010. Yet Republicans have continued to demand more resources be directed at the border and enforcing immigration laws as a prerequisite to giving comprehensive reform the slightest consideration.
And of course Wallace did nothing to challenge Ryan's assertion that getting the deficit under control and spending cuts are going to somehow create jobs.
Fulll transcript via Lexis Nexis below the fold.
WALLACE: All right, Congressman, this gets a little confusing. The president is going to be offering a budget for the next budget year that starts in October, 2012.
WALLACE: This week you guys, the House Republicans, are going to offer some cuts in the current budget, the 2011 fiscal budget, for the next seven months that are still left in it.
You originally as the House Budget chairman proposed roughly $30 billion in cuts from 2010 spending, and under pressure from the House, Tea Party members, the freshmen, the young guns, that was doubled to 20 -- to about $60 billion. Do any of these cuts, double what you originally proposed, do any of them go too far?
RYAN: No. Look, how great is this debate we are having in Congress? A year ago Congress was debating about how much more spending to increase. Now we are debating about how much more spending to cut.
When I put the number out there, that was the pledge, which said we will bring spending down to '08 levels for the rest of the fiscal year. Given that the Democrats spent half of the money already, you don't get as much savings. Our members wanted to go back and get those savings. So they wanted to get a year's worth of savings for the rest of the fiscal year. That's fantastic. I think it is a great debate to be having, and it is showing that we are serious about fiscal discipline. And if we can show that we are serious about fiscal discipline, that will actually help the economy today.
That will tell businesses that we are serious about getting this debt and deficit under control so they don't have to panic and worry about tomorrow's taxes and interest rates.
WALLACE: Well, let's get specific, because the Democrats say, look, it is very easy to talk about a big number, very easy to talk about a percentage, but let's get into some specific programs and what House Republicans are going to be offering this week.
Let's look at the cuts -- $3 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency; $2 billion in the middle of a recession from job training; $600 million from border security and immigration enforcement; $1.6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, and $500 million from the COPS program, which puts more police on the streets.
Congressman, when it gets down to those specifics, are you willing to defend all of those cuts?
RYAN: Yes, because last year these agencies got double- and triple- digit spending increases. You throw the stimulus in there, EPA got a triple-digit spending increase.
Look, if borrowing and spending were the way to create jobs, we would be at full employment. We are not. We have high unemployment. And so last year, at the end of the fiscal year, this government had $1.4 trillion leftover money. We call that unobligated spending.
RYAN: We don't even know how much more. They have thrown so much money at these bureaucracies that in a full fiscal year they can't even spend all of the money.
So unobligated balances was just a fancy way of saying they can't even spend all of this money. We anticipate the same thing again. We cannot continue down this path of having double and triple digit spending increases on government agencies. No matter how popular sounding these programs are, they mortgage our children's future and they compromise our economic growth today.
We just don't buy into this neo-Keynesian belief that you've got to borrow and spend more money today to try and create jobs. We've got to have jobs in the private sector grow, not jobs in the public sector because every time we borrow more money from the Chinese or whoever, we're taking money out of the private sector, and that is costing us jobs.
This is about prosperity and economic growth. And yes, we want to put the brakes on spending in Washington and I'm excited about the new culture which have in the House of Representatives which is spending levels are now ceilings and now floors and we're going to debate how much more we want to bring spending down, and that is a good dynamic to have.
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