Cassidy identifies the Ryan budget’s purpose:
About the only argument you can make for Ryan’s budgets (or roadmaps, or pathways) is that they aren’t budgets at all: they are political manifestos. A few years ago, well before he was chosen as a Vice-Presidential candidate, I asked Grover Norquist, who knows a thing or two about Republican politics, what function Ryan performed in the G.O.P. and why, even then, he was taken seriously by pundits and party elders. “Ryan’s role is to point to the Promised Land,” Norquist replied.
[The budget] sacrificed seriousness for “seriousness,” by promising to reach budgetary balance not over the long term (as budgets 1.0 and 2.0 did) but in a ten-year window. This is not going to happen, and more importantly there’s no reason why it needs to happen: Modest deficits are perfectly compatible with fiscal responsibility, and restructuring the biggest drivers of our long-term debt is a much more important conservative goal than holding revenues and outlays equal in the year 2023. What’s more, the quest for perfect balance leaves the House G.O.P. officially committed to a weird, all-pain version of Obamanomics — in which, for instance, we keep the president’s tax increases and Medicare cuts while eliminating his health care law’s assistance to the uninsured.
How Ezra sees the plan:
Ryan’s budget is intended to do nothing less than fundamentally transform the relationship between Americans and their government. That, and not deficit reduction, is its real point, as it has been Ryan’s real point throughout his career.
The reality is that he’d be promoting the same policies even if the federal budget were in balance. His plan would just have more tax cuts. Let’s don’t let the wrangling over deficit numbers obscure that simple fact.
Kornacki thinks Paul Ryan has lost some of his appeal:
[Y]ou’d never know that just a few months ago he was the nominee of a major political party for the second-most powerful office in America. Watching his latest budget rollout, there’s no evidence Ryan enjoys any additional clout or stature thanks to his vice presidential campaign. He’s playing the same role he played before Mitt Romney drafted him onto the GOP ticket last summer. In fact, if his VP bid is affecting him now, it’s probably a net-negative, with some in the press taking a more critical view of his plans than in the past.
CNN spent the day talking about the pope. Joe Scarborough and his chums seemed more interested in the soda ban. Politico was still fixated on Obama’s “charm offensive.” The Senate Democratic budget actually got more play. Hell, the National Review Onlinedevoted more digital ink to the pope election today than to Paul Ryan and his 10-year plan. I think the apex of mainstream Beltway press attention was when Luke Russert live-tweeted his own reading of the budget for like a half-hour. I think — and let’s all hope I’m actually right and not just being incredibly hopeful — this finally confirms that Ryan is “over” as a figure the Beltway press treats with incredible reverence.
Galupo argues long the same lines:
Aside from its base-stroking unrealism about a balanced budget in 10 years, there is a subtle sort of realism about this new Ryan budget. In its very lack of creative “new ideas,” there is an admission that “The Path to Prosperity” no longer has the magic-rabbit power it had after the 2010 midterm election. It’s a budget document scarcely worth more than the PDF pixels in which it’s displayed. I think Ryan knows this, and expended very little effort to hide the fact.
Wilkinson wonders if the familiarity of the plan is the point:
I hazard that Mr Ryan seeks to make his vision of government seem decreasingly radical and increasingly reasonable simply by repeating it. You can think of Mr Ryan’s fantasy budget as a gambit in a diffuse cultural negotiation over the bounds of reasonable opinion in the ongoing negotiation over fiscal policy—a sort of ideological meta-negotiation. You may think that proclaiming the same “radical”, “deeply unpopular” ideas again and again and yet again can’t possibly make them more palatable and mainstream, but there’s a queer phenomenon psychologists call the “mere exposure effect” that suggests otherwise.
Suzy Khimm points out the lack of details:
This year, Ryan is even more vague about how he’d simplify the code and lower taxes without disproportionately impacting revenues or lower-income Americans. The budget he proposed Tuesday only commits to “making the tax code simpler and fairer,” without any mention of the kind of base-broadening that’s become synonymous with junking certain tax preferences. So it’s even less clear how Ryan’s proposed tax cuts would be achieved without blowing a big hole in the budget.
Pethokoukis lists problems with the plan:
1. If the GOP’s Medicare reform plan is such a good idea (and budget deficits are such a problem), it should be implemented before 2024. Ryan knows this, surely. 2. There’s no Social Security reform plan. 3. The plan repeals Obamacare, which is highly unlikely. Better to have shown how the ACA can be fixed.
Suderman wants a plan that isn’t simply against what Obama is for:
[G]iven the nation’s dismal fiscal outlook and its sluggish economic performance, opposition is not necessarily a bad place for the GOP to start, especially as a minority party with limited ability to set the legislative agenda. But it’s only a start. For Republicans to begin winning the fiscal argument with Obama, they’ll eventually have to figure out more than what they’re against—and make a sustained case that they’re for something too.
And Gleckman notes that Ryan’s revenue target “falls far short of what Democrats are willing to accept”:
Thus, we remain at square one. Until there is a middle-ground on a revenue target, there will be no tax reform and no grand bargain. The Ryan plan provides little hope that such a consensus is near.