The House speaker is a deficit hawk, you see, because of his long-standing crusade for lower federal budget deficits. It has been the cause with which the Wisconsin Republican has been associated for most of his career since getting to Capitol Hill in 1999 — cutting spending and bringing the budget under control.
However, Bloomberg’s Steven Dennis made an interesting observation about Ryan’s tenure on Twitter.
Those figures are accurate. Under Ryan’s tenure as speaker, the deficit will have more than doubled. If we extend that idea backward, though, it’s worse: Since he joined Congress in 1999, the budget will have gone from a $125 billion surplus to a $1.1 trillion deficit — a swing of $1.2 trillion to the red.
It’s certainly not fair to hold Ryan accountable for the federal budget when he was one of 435 members of the House. But over time he assumed more and more significant roles, culminating in his current position. And while the deficit has grown over the past several years (after spiking in the wake of the recession), there’s one significant reason that next year’s deficit is expected to be so large — the tax cuts passed by Congress in December, tax cuts that Ryan not only supported but championed. Those cuts slashed personal and corporate taxes, the latter permanently. Less money coming in and little change in spending means bigger deficits.
What will be interesting to see is how the articles about Ryan at the point of his departure in January describe him.