Since Rep. Paul Ryan introduced his budget proposal to Congress last week, it has drawn criticism from the left for its focus on austerity and balancing the budget–and from the right for being either unrealistic or overly timid.
“The latest budget proposal by Representative Paul D. Ryan, called “The Path to Prosperity,” is anything but,” wrote Georgia Rep. Paul Broun in an op-ed for the New York Times Tuesday. “It fails to seriously address runaway government spending, the most pressing problem facing our nation. I cannot vote for something that would trick the American people into thinking that Congress is fixing Washington’s spending problem, when in actuality we’d just be allowing it to continue without end.”
Broun, whose op-ed is titled “Paul Ryan’s Ax Isn’t Sharp Enough,” would slash far more of the federal government than his colleague proposes, including the Departments of Energy and Education. “Constitutionally speaking,” he writes, “the federal government should not have a role in K-12 public education anyway.”
Conservative columnist Ross Douthat’s critique is a bit more nuanced. Ryan’s plan “sacrificed seriousness for ‘seriousness,’” Douthat wrote last Tuesday in The New York Times, “by promising to reach budgetary balance not over the long term (as budgets 1.0 and 2.0 did) but in a ten-year window.” Douthat concedes that modest deficits are compatible with fiscal responsibility, and laments Ryan’s shifting of the focus toward a balanced budget and away from reforming entitlements.
Ryan’s budget “leaves the House GOP committed to a weird, all-pain version of Obamanomics—in which, for instance, we keep the president’s tax increases and Medicare cuts while eliminating his health care law’s assistance to the uninsured,” Douthat said. As msnbc’s Chris Matthews said on Meet The Press: “Why would anyone want to do that?”
James Pethokoukis of the conservative American Enterprise Institute hit Ryan for proposals that, though strong on core elements of “Ryanomics,” are unlikely to find the support necessary for passage. “The plan repeals Obamacare, which is highly unlikely,” Pethokoukis writes. ”Better to have shown how the ACA can be fixed…The plan lowers the top tax rate to 25%, which, like an Obamacare repeal, ain’t going to happen.”
Ryan has had little to say in response to criticisms from his own party. He told the Daily Caller Tuesday that he hadn’t read Paul Broun’s op-ed yet, and had no comment.. In regard to overall criticism of his budget, Ryan told Face The Nation’s Bob Schieffer Sunday, “Our budget is a vision document…it’s not as if we woke up the day after the election and said let’s change our principles.”