As I’ve previously blogged, Congressman Paul Ryan has been working furiously to paint himself as a fiscal conservative. First came his Budget Boondoggle Award, and then came his “bold new” plan to ensure prosperity and freedom for our future, but while conservatives fall all over themselves in a mad dash to parrot virtually the same talking points from Congressman Ryan’s Roadmap For America’s Future, they’re neglecting to point out Congressman Ryan’s dirty little secrets.
After all, while Rep. Ryan has tried really hard to portray himself as a so-called fiscal conservative, citing his his opposition to pork barrel spending as proof of that fact, he’s neglected to own up to his own vote in favor of the ultimate pork-barrel spending, that being the war in Iraq. Time and time again Congressman Ryan has voted to spend hundreds of billions of dollars – American taxpayers’ dollars – to fund the war in Iraq. If Congressman Ryan were so concerned about wasteful spending, perhaps he should start voting against writing virtually blank checks to support our war in Iraq.
And now let’s talk about Rep. Ryan’s Roadmap For America’s Future, which as I previously mentioned so many conservatives have been falling all over themselves to praise.
In his Roadmap, Rep. Ryan takes aim at the traditional Republican punching bag – entitlement spending – threatening doom and gloom if we don’t implement Rep. Ryan’s ideas, which coincidentally enough aren’t really that groundbreaking or innovative:
The well-intentioned social insurance strategies of the past century – particularly Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – are headed toward financial collapse.
Not only will these programs grow themselves into extinction, they will immensely burden our economy and budget – piling massive amounts of debt on future generations, crippling our ability to compete in the international marketplace, and dramatically reducing Americans’ standards of living.
In rationalizing the need to reform entitlement spending according to his plan, Rep. Ryan talks about how they’ll pile “massive amounts” of debt on future generations. Interestingly enough, it’s not entitlement spending that’s contributing the most to our spiraling budget deficits since 2002. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the two main contributors to the massive increases in our budget deficits were President Bush’s high income tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 (which coincidentally enough Rep. Ryan voted in favor of) and defense spending. Together the Bush tax cuts and defense spending (which includes the war in Iraq, which Rep. Ryan voted for) account for 85% of the spending that has contributed to our increased budget deficits. Here’s a little pie chart that shows exactly what the CBO found:
Interestingly enough, entitlement spending accounts for only 9% of the spending that has contributed to increased budget deficits, a fact that seems to fly in the face of Rep. Ryan’s doom and gloom argument that entitlement spending alone will pile “massive amounts of debt on future generations.” Again, if Rep. Ryan were really and truly concerned about not piling massive amounts of debt on future generations, he’d stop being a hypocrite and start voting against spending billions of American tax dollars to fund the war in Iraq.
Rep. Paul Ryan can talk a great game about fiscal conservatism, but until he starts backing up his talk with votes to match, he’s nothing more than a hypocrite of the highest order.