Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan continue to launch a barrage of attacks on President Obama with regard to the size of the debt during this year’s presidential election. Paul Ryan and the GOP have an affinity for large, digital debt clocks that show the enormous sum our nation have acquired over the history of our existence. Paul Ryan is known as the debt guy, committed to reducing it at all costs.
But in the same breath, Ryan touts Romney’s 20% across the board tax cuts as the answer for economic stimulus to pay the debt. 20% is a huge number, and the corresponding government spending that would have to be reached in order to match it would be too much for the nation to handle. There would be rioting in the streets.
Math has been thrown out the window like a napkin on the side of the highway. If we recall, it was the Bush tax cuts that added trillions to our debt, and Obama kept them in place, further inflaming the issue. The debt is rising so swiftly due to interest rates that cannot go down until progress has been made. This progress means cuts to programs, along with increased tax revenue to break the trend and start to move those huge clocks in reverse.
Ryan had some radical ideas in his first budget, which cut spending everywhere, axed Medicare in favor of a different system, and reduced the governments role in business and life in general. It merited some discussion, and came under fire for a number of reasons, but in that case, at least the math added up.
Now Ryan goes on the campaigns trail and says “I’m not going to tell you what you want to hear, I’m going to be real with you, even if it’s difficult, our debt is out of control, we have to stop it.” Then he adds immediately exactly what everyone wants to hear: “20% tax cuts for everybody, because you deserve it!” His supporters revere him for being honest and tough, without connecting the fact that the tax cut is only an appeal for their vote, like a 20% coupon at a store, and would, in a manner of weeks, make the debt level unsustainable and risk immediate default, causing automatic tax hikes and vast levels of uncertainty which would hamstring investment.
Let’s put it another way, it’s like a representative of Marlboro cigarettes talking to a room of smokers. “Look, I’m going to be straight with you, smoking will kill you, your smoking is out of control and you have to cut it down and quit. That’s the hard truth. But, since I know you love smoking and are addicted to it, here’s a 20% off coupon when you buy two or more cartons of delicious Marlboro reds.”