Rep. Paul Ryan tells Newsmax that the Democrats have refused to pass a budget this year because they don’t want to show the American people the “spending spigot” they have turned on.
The Wisconsin Republican also warns that the Democrats’ policy of raising spending and taxes is going to “kill us” — and says President Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package has produced only a “big debt hangover.”
Rep. Ryan, first elected in 1998, is the Ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee, which writes the nation’s tax laws.
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In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Ryan was asked about House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s statement that there is no point in passing a budget this year.
“I guess if you don’t want to show what the deficit’s going to be, if you don’t want to prioritize spending, if you don’t want to have any restraints on spending, I suppose that’s a logical thing to say,” Ryan declares.
“What the Democrats have decided to do is to go forward with all their spending plans. Not having a budget doesn’t mean they’re not spending. Quite to the contrary, they’re turning the spending spigot on. What they’re doing is just not budgeting for it.
“They don’t want to show the American people the actual fiscal effects of this spending spigot they’ve turned on. They want to keep the spending going, but they don’t want to have any accountability or any transparency as to where this leads us as a nation. That’s why they’re not passing a budget this year.
“It’s the first time since we’ve had this kind of budget process in place, since 1974, that the House has not considered a budget.”
He also says the Democrats “understand the damage they’re doing. The budget we’re living under, which is the budget that passed last year, the Obama budget, doubles our debt in five years and triples our debt in 10 years. This Congress alone has passed into law $1.8 trillion in new spending and $670 billion in new tax increases. I think they understand what they’re doing.
“I think they’re comfortable with the fact they’re growing government massively and very quickly, and I think at the end of the day, under the heat of a debt crisis, they’re probably comfortable with the idea they’ll pop a brand new tax increase, a VAT [Value Added Tax] or something like that, on top of everything else and we’ll all be fine and good.”
Ryan says the VAT is being seriously discussed by congressional Democrats, and would be an additional tax, not a replacement for any current taxes.
The congressman notes Treasury Secretary Ben Bernanke’s prediction that there will be only a slow reduction in the unemployment rate, and maintains there can’t be any sustainable economic recovery when no jobs are being created.
“We have to have fast growth to get jobs back in this economy. So what Bernanke’s telling us is, we’re going to have fairly slow growth going forward — not nearly the growth we need to get jobs back in this economy.
“For us to get back to the unemployment rate of 5.5 percent, which we had before the recession, we’d have to create 250,000 jobs per month for five years running. To do that you need to get this economy growing, and I would argue we’re not growing it quickly because of what government is doing, because of the burden of taxation, all the new regulatory things that are happening, and all this spending and borrowing, which leads to a debasement of our currency and higher interest rates.”
Ryan disagrees with Bernanke’s assertion that the stimulus package passed last year was “useful.”
“What that stimulus got us was just a big debt hangover,” he tells Newsmax.
“They sold this thing as being necessary for keeping unemployment below 8 percent, creating a few million jobs. Unemployment has stayed around 10 percent. We’ve lost 3.6 million jobs since stimulus passed. When you factor in the borrowing costs, it’s going to cost us $1.1 trillion.
“So all it did was give us more of a debt hangover, cost us jobs, and put more pressure on tax increases.
“We’re really doing everything the opposite of what we ought to be doing. We ought to be keeping taxes low, not raising them. We ought to be cutting spending, not raising spending and increasing borrowing. The government’s going in the exact opposite direction today and that’s really going to kill us.”
Ryan says there is an effort by conservatives, and Republicans in general, to keep the Bush tax cuts in place, but the Democratic majority wants those tax cuts to expire at the end of the year. And he warns that the increase in taxes, and other tax hikes scheduled for 2013, could put the U.S. into a double dip recession.
Ryan agrees with New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg that the final version of the financial regulation bill, if passed into law, will cause a credit crunch — especially for small businesses — and stunt economic growth.
In 2008, Ryan introduced legislation he called his Roadmap for America’s Future, and he recently released a second version of that plan. He says it deals head-on with entitlement issues, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and is detailed on the website www.americanroadmap.org.
The plan would make these entitlement programs “permanently solvent,” according to Ryan.
“Give individuals more power and control over their health and retirement benefits in the future, instead of being more dependent on the government for these things,” he adds.
“The alternative is for the government to ration these resources.”
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