If the Romney-Ryan ticket is elected, their tax plan will invariably meet a fork in the road, presenting the Republican administration with a difficult choice. Romney/Ryan believes they can slash tax rates, increase defense and entitlement spending, and reduce the deficit, all at the same time. When push comes to shove, and they're forced to deal with the arithmetic, which will be the higher priority: tax cuts or deficit reduction?
Last week, Romney economic adviser Kevin Hassett said, if the figures "don't add up," the tax plan "would have a different change in rates" -- in other words, a Romney administration would have no choice but to scale back its tax-cutting ambitions. This week, Greg Sargent noted that Paul Ryan told Fox News the opposite.
In this clip, at around the 2:14 mark, Fox's Chris Wallace poses a hypothetical. Let's say there's a President Romney, the host said, and "the math doesn't add up." The question is, "what's most important" to a Romney-Ryan administration?
RYAN: Keeping tax rates down. By lowering tax rates, people keep more of the next dollar that they earn. That matters. That is incentives. That's pro-growth policy. That creates 7 million jobs. And what should go first...
WALLACE: So that's more important than...
RYAN: That's more important than anything.
So, for all the talk about the debt crisis that threatens the fabric of civilization, Ryan is now willing to concede that the Romney-Ryan tax cut plan -- at a cost of about $5 trillion, disproportionately benefiting the very wealthy -- is "more important than anything," whether the math adds up or not.
They kinda sorta pretend to care about the deficit once in a while, but they really care about slashing taxes on the rich.
If there's a Romney-Ryan administration next year, and it has to choose between cutting taxes less or increasing the deficit more, the choice has apparently already been made.
As Greg added, "That is as clear a statement of priorities as you could want. Ryan admits that even if the math in their plan can't work, that even if the tax cuts cannot be paid for by ending loopholes and deductions on the wealthy, he and Ryan would not scale back their planned tax cuts on the rich one penny."
I'm not sure how much more it'll take before the political establishment drops the pretense that Paul Ryan is a "deficit hawk," but at this point, he's not even trying anymore.