JONATHAN COHN APRIL 5, 2011
Paul Ryan has suggested at various points that his budget will protect low-income Americans. In his Wall Street Journal editorial, for example, he warns that rising deficits will force government to scale back anti-poverty programs--and suggests his Medicare plan would offer the extra help poor people need.
That last point is debatable, given the numbers Ryan is using, but put that aside. The way to judge the Ryan budget is to evaluate the entire package, as the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has just done. The conclusion:
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan would get about two-thirds of its more than $4 trillion in budget cuts over 10 years from programs that serve people of limited means
Ryan is right when he says that, over the long term, deficits and debt will crowd out spending on programs for low-income Americans. But there are better, more equitable ways to balance the budget.