Well, well, well. Paul Ryan is a typical Republican hypocrite. Who could have predicted that?
There are senior Bush policymakers who privately admit that Hunter and his allies in Congress have a point. But these officials claim they cannot change the rules in the middle of the game. Nor can they adjust unrealistic methods that bloat the revenue loss from Bush's cuts. Thus, Washington's high-tax establishment is able to use underestimated surplus projections and overestimated tax losses to claim the country cannot afford the president's program.
"It's too small," Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the most junior member of the Ways and Means Committee but a leading House supply-sider, told me. "It's not big enough to fit all the policy we want."
Ryan has refashioned his image from "supply-sider" to "serious budget hawk," but there's not much evidence his worldview has changed. He still favors enormous tax cuts for the rich far beyond those passed into law by George W. Bush, only this time he promises to pay for them via closing unspecified deductions.
Of course, Ryan now takes an extremely dire view of thing government's long-term fiscal position, as opposed to the wildly optimistic view he took under Bush. I'm sure events have played a role here. But there's also a clear partisan tint. Republicans dismissed any concerns about the debt under Bush, which allowed their side to freely push fiscal policy in their direction and boost their own popularity by avoiding difficult trade-offs. As soon as Obama took office, they reversed themselves and successfully made fiscal conservatism a powerful constraining force on Obama's agenda.