Published for www.keithhennessey.com, August 27, 2012
President Obama’s former budget director, Dr. Peter Orszag, attacked the Ryan budget in the Washington Post. I’ll respond here to his primary critique.
Dr. Orszag argues that the Ryan budget is not a serious fiscal proposal.
In part because of his winning personality, Ryan … has convinced many in Washington that his budget blueprint is a serious proposal for solving our long-term fiscal problems. Unfortunately, it’s not. Let’s dig into the asterisks of Ryan’s plan and unearth the fine print.
Dr. Orszag’s principal critique is that the Ryan budget is short on details. He argues that the Ryan Medicaid block grant, tax reform, and nondefense discretionary spending cuts, are “capping and punting—limiting spending to a certain level but providing no specifics on how to achieve that number.” Later he argues that the lack of legislative detail creates business uncertainty.
The irony is that while in office neither Dr. Orszag nor his boss, President Obama, proposed any long-term fiscal reforms. Even after enacting the Affordable Care Act, which was purported to significantly address our long-term fiscal problems, the Obama Administration’s own numbers show that we’re still headed toward fiscal collapse.