Everybody Punts... For Now

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Feb. 15 2011 8:24 AM

Everybody Punts... For Now

My new piece, up here , is about the gingerly manner in which Republicans are approaching the budget fight. Yesterday, they would not get specific about the deep cuts they have acknowledged they favor. But they're only dodging for now -- they see an opportunity coming toward them. Witness Paul Ryan yesterday:

"You can see that we have a tidal wave of debt," said Ryan, pointing to a chart titled "Tidal Wave of Debt." "The president's budget, as you can see right here, doubles the debt within five years of taking office and triples in within 10 years."

This is true. The Obama budget—which Ryan described as "debt on arrival" in the Republican House—scales down the ambitious spending of the last two fiscal years. It cuts the deficit as a percentage of GDP from 10.9 percent to 7 percent, then to roughly 3 percent by the start of the next decade. Over 10 years, it cuts one percent of spending. It never balances the budget. It doesn't tackle entitlements.

"Anybody who knows anything about me knows we have to tackle entitlements or they're going to tackle us," said Ryan.


 Read on.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 



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