Ryan’s second budget plan
At the end of March 2012, the House of Representatives passed a newer version of Ryan’s budget plan for fiscal year 2013 along partisan lines, 228 yeas to 191 nays; ten Republicans voted against bill, along with all the House Democrats. Ryan’s budget would reduce all discretionary spending in the budget from 12.5% of GDP in 2011 to 3.75% of GDP in 2050. This goal has been criticized as unrealistic since it includes spending on defense, which has never fallen below 3% of GDP. Congressman Justin Amash, a Republican from Michigan criticized Ryan’s budget for insufficient cuts, its continuation of deficit spending through 2022 and beyond, and its exemption of military spending from reductions. His budget has also been criticized because it doesn’t list specific cuts, but rather broad goals to cut, and because by its own projections it would not balance the budget until 2035. Critics such as economist Paul Krugman argue that its projections didn’t count tax cuts as revenue-negative, so that its projections of an eventual balanced budget would never be realized. Marc Goldwein, the policy directory for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget stated “We may never, as a country, have a balanced budget again, And you know what? We don’t have to.”
The 2012 Ryan budget also received criticism from elements of the Catholic Church, specifically from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and from faculty and administrators of Georgetown University. In its letter to Rep. Ryan, the group of Georgetown faculty and administrators criticized the Ryan budget as trying to “to dismantle government programs and abandon the poor to their own devices,” going on to say that Catholic teaching “demands that higher levels of government provide help—”subsidium”—when communities and local governments face problems beyond their means to address such as economic crises, high unemployment, endemic poverty and hunger.” The letter also criticizes Ryan for his attempts at “gutting government programs” and states that Ryan is “profoundly misreading Church teaching.” A statement issued by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops criticized the Ryan budget in similar terms. Ryan rejected the bishops’ criticism that his budget plans would disproportionately cut programs that “serve poor and vulnerable people.”
In May 2012, Ryan voted for H.R. 4310 which would increase spending on defense, Afghanistan and various weapon systems to the level of $642 billion – $8 billion more than previous spending levels.