House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan told NBC’s David Gregory Sunday that he believes automatic cuts triggered by the sequester deal struck by Washington lawmakers is “going to happen”; but could have been avoided if… the American People had only elected Romney/Ryan in 2012. Wanna bet how that comment is going to play around the White House?
If Mitt Romney and I would have won, they would not have happened… Where are we right now? I think the sequester is going to happen because that $1.2 trillion in spending cuts we can’t lose those spending cuts. That was used to pay for the last debt ceiling increase.
Ryan was also quick to point out that republicans aren’t interested in “shutting down the government” – despite what Democrats and the MSM may say between now and the March 1 and 27 deadlines.
No one’s talking about shutting the government down. We’re not interested in shutting the government down. What happens on March 1 is spending goes down automatically. March 27 is the moment the continuing resolution (to fund the government essentially without a budget) expires. We are more than happy to keep spending at those levels going on into the future while we debate how to balance our budget; how to grow the economy; how to create economic opportunity. That’s the kind of debate the country deserves; because if we keep going down this path, we will have a debt crisis. It’s not “IF” question. It’s a “WHEN” question. This isn’t a Republican or a Democrat thing. It’s a math thing.
Gregory then asked Ryan to weigh in on his critics – namely Paul effing Krugman who recently called the former VP candidate “an alarmist.” In his latest dissertation on ridiculousness, Krugman said deficits are a good thing in bad economic times. He believes the “willingness of government to keep spending was one of the main reasons we didn’t experience a full replay of the Great Depression.” So, in a nutshell, he thinks Ryan’s a moron using scare tactics to push for economic austerity.
Ryan was quick to rebut; but chose to save his critique of Keynesian economics for another Sunday, I suppose.
We’re not preaching austerity. We’re preaching growth and opportunity. What we’re saying is if you get our fiscal ship fixed, you preempt austerity. Here’s what a debt crisis is. It’s what they have in Europe, which is austerity. You cut the safety net immediately, you cut retirement benefits for those who have already retired, you raise taxes, slow the economy, young people don’t have jobs. When you keep stacking up trillion dollar deficits like this government is doing, is bringing us to that moment.
Our goal is to prevent and preempt austerity so we can get back to growth.
As most of you probably know, I have often said Ryan’s a bit of a geek for my tastes. His methods of persuasion typically bore me even when I agree with the underlying premise or position. And I’m anything but a casual political observer. He must put most of them to sleep. Because of that, I have struggled to see him as a viable “leader” for the Republican Party going forward. Frankly, that’s why I wasn’t sure he was the right choice for Romney last Fall. But if this interview is any indication of what we can expect from Ryan going forward, I may have to rethink my reservations about him. It appears the presidential election has helped him sharpen his delivery. The result was both impressive and persuasive. I am not ashamed to say that I was pleasantly surprised.