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Ryan's double-down

Published March 18. 2013 4:00AM

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin appears to have forgotten there was an election in November. This is quite amazing given he was the candidate for vice president on the losing Republican side.

But last week Rep. Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee, rolled out his latest budget proposal, which differed little in substance from his past budget proposals and ignored the results of an election in which matters of spending and taxing took center stage.

Voters re-elected the Democrat, President Obama, who when running pledged to implement the Affordable Care Act and take a balanced approach to reducing deficit spending through a combination of spending cuts and tax reforms that would force the wealthier and corporations to shoulder a bigger share.

Yet here was Rep. Ryan presenting a spending package that included a repeal of the health care act, a budget that called for slashing the top tax rate from 39.6 percent to 25 percent, and cutting $4.6 trillion from spending over 10 years. The proposal is full of speculation, fudgy numbers and flawed logic about job creation. In reality cuts this severe are unwarranted and would cost jobs and drag down the economy.

Some of the ideas are as scary as they were before the election. Turn Medicaid and food stamp programs into block grants for the states, while reducing the federal funds to pay for them and removing safeguards to assure states don't withhold their share. Once again Rep. Ryan brings out his proposal to change Medicare from a guaranteed entitlement to a voucher system. Didn't voters teach him anything?

Meanwhile the Democrat-controlled Senate works on its own budget proposal - and the leadership there deserves equal condemnation for their repeated failures to produce a spending plan. But given where Rep. Ryan and the House are starting, it is hard to imagine where there is a middle to meet at.

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