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Posted at 03:39 PM ET, 03/20/2012

Tax expert: Paul Ryan’s ‘smoke and mirrors’ budget would increase deficit

I just got off the phone with Robert McIntyre, the director of Citizens for Tax Justice. His criticism of Paul Ryan’s new budget was unsparing: He ripped it as “smoke and mirrors,” and claimed it would increase the deficit.

“He’s a phony,” McIntyre said of Rep. Ryan. “But he’s always been a phony.”

Here’s how McIntyre reached his conclusion. He compared the amounts the Ryan budget predicts in revenues and expenditures for fiscal years 2013-2022, with the same numbers the Congressional Budget Office projects under current law.

(The Ryan numbers are on page 87 of his budget; the CBO numbers are on page 20 of its recent fiscal outlook.)

Bottom line: By McIntyre’s calculations, the Ryan budget cuts taxes by $4.3 trillion over 10 years; and it cuts spending by $4.2 trillion over the same period. Since the former is larger than the latter, the deficit would marginally go up.

And it’s much, much worse than this, McIntyre says, because he doesn’t believe that the Ryan budget would only cut taxes by $4.3 trillion. His budget doesn’t specify any of the deductions and loopholes he’d close to offset the huge cost of the tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, McIntyre points out — meaning the overall tax cut would likely be far larger than he says, and that the deficit would likely soar.

“He thinks he can get the corporate and personal rate down to 25 percent and not lose money,” says McIntyre, whose group is liberal leaning but nonpartisan and doesn’t hesitate to criticize Democrats. “He waves his hands, and says, `There must be something to cover it.’”

McIntyre says the plan would proably result in a “huge” deficit increase, even though there isn’t enough information in the proposal to calculate it.

“This is all smoke mirrors and no deficit reduction,” McIntyre concludes. “Have you seen the cover? It’s beautiful. That’s the best part. But he is proposing to increase the budget deficit over the long term.”

McIntyre’s conclusion: “He should have titled it `Blueprint for Financial Disaster.’”

By  |  03:39 PM ET, 03/20/2012

 
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