I’ve been watching Paul Ryan for a few years now. While my interest lies primarily within the bounds of state policy and North Carolina politics, from time to time this blog will highlight elements of the national conversation:

Even if Obamacare had failed, the federal government growing on autopilot plus projected demographic changes would have led to either unsustainable debt levels or economy-suffocating tax increases. The CBO, no hotbed of supply-siders, acknowledges that the long-term budget cannot be balanced solely through tax increases. “Such tax rates would significantly reduce economic activity and would create serious problems with tax avoidance and tax evasion,” CBO analysts have written. “Revenues would probably fall significantly short of the amount needed to finance the growth of spending; therefore, tax rates at such levels would not be feasible.”

Paul Ryan is going to introduce a third version of the Roadmap later this year. In the meantime, he’ll also be at work on a shorter-term project: the House Republicans’ official budget. He will have to collaborate with appropriators in his own party and address the fact that there are always temptations even for budget reformers to vote for big government. Perhaps that’s another reason people are holding out hope for him: if Ryan and his colleagues fail, this time the consequences could be greater than heartbreak among jilted conservative voters.


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