Of all the discussion about Paul Ryan’s big-bang budget plan, the element I like best was caught in this Wall Street Journal op-ed title: “The GOP Path to Prosperity.”In other words, it’s a growth budget. It has plenty of spending cuts, but it also has significant pro-growth tax reform.
Obsessing over the debt is not by itself a policy. Advancing the economy and setting the stage for more job creation is a policy. Mr. Ryan kept an important dose of Ronald Reagan in both the spirit and reality of his plan. Limited government, lower tax rates, and deregulation (of energy) will all promote the path to prosperity.
The other big-picture thought is that the fiscal-policy ball is moving in the right direction. Most of what is being proposed faces a rocky political future. But the direction is unmistakable: less government, lower taxes.
This really started back in December with the extension of the Bush tax cuts and the withdrawal of the trillion-dollar omnibus continuing-resolution spending bill. It continues into the new year with new CRs. Whether Speaker Boehner gets $30 billion or $40 billion in cuts, the direction is clear: lower spending.
Just before the election, John Boehner told us he would stop the bad stuff. Looks like he has. And now Mr. Ryan keeps the drumbeat going with a 2012 budget that would cut $179 billion from the president’s budget baseline. In 2013, Ryan would take down over $220 billion. Over ten years, Ryan would lop off $6 trillion. The key point is not the actual numbers, but the direction of the numbers. Spending is coming down.