Nothing illuminates the cynicism of Paul Ryan as well as his push for the tax reform plan currently before Congress.
One does not have to search hard to find examples of the speaker of the House decrying America's exploding deficit and debt. He spent most of the last decade railing against the Obama administration for never balancing the budget, whining about the soaring debt “threatening jobs today ... threatening prosperity tomorrow,” and writing budget proposals that would have shredded government spending into confetti.
Bloomberg reports confirmation of what some observers have been saying for years, which is that Ryan's principled objections to piling on the nation's debt were as solid and immovable as dust:
Once the tax plan was negotiated in the Ways and Means Committee, Ryan proceeded to a House vote without having an official study from the Joint Committee on Taxation or the Congressional Budget Office of the bill's larger impact on the economy — that is, the dynamic scoring that he and others say will show that their tax cuts pay for themselves.
This plan that Ryan rushed out will add $1.1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, according to the conservative-leaning Tax Institute. The Congressional Budget Office says the combined House and Senate plans will add even more — about $1.4 trillion over the next decade.
So much for tomorrow's prosperity that Ryan used to be so concerned about. And yet he is pushing hard to get this plan through. In fact, it is his most important priority despite the fact that it spits in the face of every principle he has articulated for a decade.
Of course, he has an explanation for his sudden change of heart. Again, from Bloomberg:
“Paul Ryan deficit hawk is also a growth advocate,” Ryan said in a Fox News interview this month. ”Paul Ryan deficit hawk also knows that you have to have a faster growing economy, more jobs, bigger take-home pay, that means higher tax revenues."
The economy is at a near-record-low unemployment rate of 4 percent. Corporations are sitting on record profits now, but employees are not seeing wage growth. This all makes Ryan's plan a solution in search of a problem.
All available evidence is that Ryan's plan will not result in the gains he promises. And that has been the case since America tried this form of “trickle-down economics” in the 1980s. It was true when the state of Kansas tried it during the reign of Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and tanked its own economy so badly that even Republicans in the legislature turned on him.
At this point, Ryan is denying history and empirical reality to keep pitching this tax-cut plan as somehow the nitrous boost the economy needs. But then, he has been doing that for most of his career in Congress. You didn't even have to pay particularly close attention to realize it.