So I know I talked a little bit about Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget last week, but if you’ll indulge me, I would like to pick on him one more time. It’s not that I want to make the guy a constant target. But when your ideas are targeted towards a political party that believes protecting individual liberty and outlawing certain types of marriage are two sides of the same coin, things tend to get a little nutty.
In addition to the cuts he proposed, his budget also promises “Pro-Growth Tax Reform.” Now, there’s nothing inherently crazy about tax reform; in fact his budget lays out a number of problems with the current tax code that are considered conventional wisdom for both parties. What Ryan wants to do is lower income tax rates and the amount of income tax brackets, while eliminating loop-holes and deductions to make up for the money lost by lowering rates. Ryan laid out a few specifics, most notably that income taxes will be 10% and 25%.
The budget is less clear on which loop-holes will be closed and which deductions will be phased out. This is where things get ugly. People like their loop-holes and deductions. Homeowners, homebuilders, bankers and realtors all benefit from home mortgage tax deductions. Denying a deduction for child dependents can be labeled as anti-family and closing loopholes for oil and energy companies will be blamed for seasonal increases in gas and electricity prices. Which is why Ryan didn’t single any out for cuts. Which is a problem, because he needs to find somewhere in the neighborhood of $4-6 trillion to keep revenue from dropping.
Republicans claim to have these great plans, but the details seem to derail them. Mitt Romney went so far as to say he wouldn’t name programs he would cut. But vote for him anyway, because he won’t cut anything you like, just things other people like. My well-honed political brain is telling me that there is an opening for a Republican candidate who isn’t afraid of getting into the nitty-gritty. Rick Santorum can’t fill that hole. Everyone says the devil is in the details, so he won’t get near those. Maybe Newt Gingrich could step in though. He loves to talk and reciting statistics and obscure programs would be one way for him to hear his own voice. Gingrich: He’s not afraid of the miNEWTia. That’s a pretty good slogan, if you like puns. And if there’s one thing America loves, it’s puns. Not details.