Barlett on Ryan’s Budget
At Forbes, Bruce Bartlett shares his thoughts on Paul Ryan’s budget. It seems that the major problem with Ryan’s budget according to Bartlett is its political infeasibility. I actually agree with that critique, but having a sitting politician offer a plan like this might push our other politicians to recognize the absolute necessity of reforming our entitlements. Bartlett is almost certainly correct that taxes have to rise at some point to deal with the coming fiscal reckoning – the Ryan plan is too idealistic on this issue.
In my opinion, support for the Ryan plan must be the minimum requirement for anyone who considers themselves members of the tea party brigade and any politician seeking its endorsement. If those like former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the current darling of the tea party crowd, are unwilling to immediately and unequivocally endorse the Ryan plan or put forward something equally serious and comprehensive, then in my opinion they have no credibility on the budget and no right to oppose the sorts of tax increases that I believe are unavoidable.
Workers would also likely see a sharp reduction in their health benefits as well because Ryan would abolish the tax exclusion for health insurance. In other words, workers would have to treat whatever their employer pays for health insurance as if it were cash income. Workers would instead receive a new tax credit not to exceed $5,700 per family. It is not clear whether the credit amount would be indexed to inflation. This provision would constitute a significant tax increase for many workers.