Former Republican vice presidential nominee and Congressman Paul Ryan told NBC's Meet the Press January 27 that the Republican ideas for spending cuts on social welfare programs would have increased the Food Stamp program by 260 percent over a decade, instead of the Democrats' 270 percent. Ryan has nevertheless been reliably touted by the mainstream media as a solid conservative and fiscal hawk.
Meet the Press host David Gregory pressed Ryan — who currently serves as the U.S. House of Representatives Budget Committee chairman — for an example of spending cuts he'd make that would stop the “takers” in society. Ryan said during the presidential campaign that America risked becoming a nation of “makers” who work and “takers” dependent upon government assistance. “Food Stamps, for example,” Ryan replied, “if our reforms went through, they would have grown by 260 percent over the last decade instead of 270 percent. So when you call such reforms 'savage,' that, I think, does a disservice to the quality of debate we need to have.”
Ryan made no constitutional argument against limiting the federal government to its enumerated powers, eliminating any programs, or even any year-over-year spending cuts. He also volunteered that the federal government should be a big brother to people down on their luck under any circumstance: “We want to have a safety net. A safety net for the poor, the vulnerable, the people who cannot help themselves.”
Even on deficit reduction, Ryan announced a goal of not bringing the budget into balance for another decade. “I'll just explain what the speaker said when we passed that bill,” he said of the House GOP plan. “Our goal is to get cuts and reforms that put us on a path to balancing the budget within a decade.” The Ryan budget introduced last year, "The Path to Prosperity," would not balance the budget well into the 2030s, so proposing only one additional decade of deficit spending instead of two decades might be considered a sort of progress. But analysts have noted that it is still a long way from balancing the budget within the two-year term his Wisconsin constituents elected him to serve.
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