David Brooks thinks Rep. Paul Ryan's balanced-budget plan is a fine "starting point" for future discussion about the nation's fiscal challenges. End point is more like it. Turns out the Wisconsin Republican's "Path to Prosperity" amounts to an even more radical deconstruction of government than he let on, reports Washington think-tank the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's budget plan specifies a long-term spending path that means that, by 2050, most of the federal government aside from Social Security, health care, and defense would literally cease to exist, according to figures in a Congressional Budget Office report that was released on Tuesday.Over the next four decades, Ryan's spending cuts would reduce federal outlays to 14.75 percent of GDP. That would be the lowest level since 1951 -- well before government programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Head Start even existed. To make his numbers work, the lawmaker is also forced to assume that U.S. unemployment will fall to 2.8 percent by 2028, an absurdly low and all but unprecedented jobless rate.