The Corner

The Club for Growth vs. the Ryan Plan

The Club for Growth has issued a statement attributed to its president Chris Chocola: “Despite containing several important reforms and pro-growth policies, the Ryan Budget falls short in two critical respects. First, it does not balance for decades. Secondly, it violates the Budget Control Act by waiving the sequester. By waiving the automatic spending cuts required under the Budget Control Act, this budget is asking Americans to trust future Congresses to do the hard work later. It is hard to have confidence that our long-term fiscal challenges will be met responsibly when the same Congress that passed the Budget Control Act wants to ignore it less than one year later. On balance, the Ryan Budget is a disappointment for fiscal conservatives.”

The Club’s premises are wrong. The budget does not waive the sequester — that is, the automatic budget cuts imposed by the debt-ceiling deal last year. It proposes to beat the sequester’s cuts for 2013, and it leaves the sequester in place for future years (so that a future Congress, to comply with the deal, would either have to let those automatic cuts take effect or come up with equivalent or greater cuts).

I have my disagreements with some of the Ryan plan’s elements and some of its omissions, but the idea that a plan that commits to $5 trillion in cuts from Obama’s budget, the prevention of a major tax increase, the reform of Medicare and welfare programs, and the repeal of Obamacare is “[o]n balance. . . a disappointment” strikes me as a failure of perspective.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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