Achilles Heel Still Missing

by Ramesh Ponnuru

Jonathan Chait thinks that the Ryan plan’s biggest political vulnerability is that it “contains a massive, regressive tax cut.” Ryan is, supposedly, cutting Medicare and Medicaid to cut taxes for the rich.

Except that he’s not. Ryan’s budget assumes that taxes are reformed in a way that leaves taxes at their current level. So it’s accurate to say that Ryan reins in entitlement spending in order to keep taxes from rising. But he’s advocating a “massive tax cut” only if we assume a baseline in which the Bush tax cuts expire. That debate hasn’t been a clear winner for Democrats in the past decade.

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