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Drowning government in the bathtub
Paul Ryan's budget proposal puts a big smile on the face of Grover Norquist.
 He has called Romney's selection for vice president an "excruciatingly brilliant choice."
Back in March, Joe Wiesenthal reminds us, Ezra Klein took note of a report done for Rep. Paul Ryan on his budget proposal by the Congressional Budget Office.

On page 2 of that 27-page report, its analysts laid out the stark constraints that Ryan put on the CBO in measuring his proposal:

[T]he proposal specifies a path for all other spending (excluding interest
and Social Security) that would cause such spending to decline sharply as a share of
GDP—from 12 percent in 2010 to 6 percent in 2022 and 3½ percent by 2050. For
comparison, spending in this category has exceeded 8 percent of GDP in every year
since World War II. The proposal does not specify the changes to government programs that might be made in order to produce that path. Because the proposal specifies that such spending would grow only at the rate of prices in the overall economy,
the quantity of real government services (that is, spending adjusted for inflation) per
person would decline as population increases. Moreover, that spending would not
grow with real income per capita, as it has tended to over long historical periods.
In other words, except for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Pentagon, spending under Ryan's proposal would take a sharp downward turn, with a lower percentage of spending for domestic programs than at any time since the 1930s. That, of course, is assuming that Ryan's proposal would do what he says it would do in the revenue department. CBO says flat-out that there is no guarantee that it would.

Since Ryan has provided no specifics about which programs would take the brunt of reductions, and since Romney wants to guarantee Pentagon spending at 4 percent of GDP, what Ryan's proposal inevitably means is that some domestic programs would be zeroed out. As Klein writes: "Ryan has not outlined a realistic goal."

True enough. But as I was told as a kid, just because you can't squeeze blood out of turnips doesn't keep people from wrecking a lot of turnips in the attempt. That is precisely what the Ryan proposal would do if implemented. This proposal by his vice presidential choice is one that Romney has found to his liking in the recent past. That splashing you hear in the background is an anticipatory Grover Norquist running the water into his tub.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Aug 13, 2012 at 01:29 PM PDT.

Also republished by Ryan Inc and Daily Kos.

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