Paul Ryan's 2012 Budget: Good, Bad AND Ugly? The House Budget Committee Chairman's proposal has been called everything from brave to draconian. Reason.com editor Nick Gillespie sizes it up and tells us what he sees.
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Paul Ryan's 2012 Budget: Good, Bad AND Ugly?

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Paul Ryan's 2012 Budget: Good, Bad AND Ugly?

Paul Ryan's 2012 Budget: Good, Bad AND Ugly?

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, Host:

Welcome.

NICK GILLESPIE: Thanks very much. And I should point out that my favorite character in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" was the Lee Van Cleef character, but I'm struggling to remember if he was the bad or the ugly.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

WERTHEIMER: Well, let's go back to Mr. Ryan and start with what you call the good about Mr. Ryan's plan.

GILLESPIE: And whether you believe in a big government or a small government, you need a government that can pay its bills.

WERTHEIMER: Medicaid in his budget is block-granted.

GILLESPIE: Yes.

WERTHEIMER: Does that - and I gather you think that's a good thing.

GILLESPIE: Basically, what the idea is, is that state governments, and then the local agencies that hand out Medicaid, will be more responsive to the people who are there, as well as more responsible, because they know they're on the hook if, in fact, they run out of money, or they start giving people really bad care.

WERTHEIMER: So shall we move on to the bad?

GILLESPIE: Yeah. Sure.

WERTHEIMER: Let's start, as you say that Ryan ought to, talk about defense investment.

GILLESPIE: Over the course of the next decade, even with the expected wind- down of wars, hopefully, anyway, in Iraq and Afghanistan, he actually increases defense spending over the next 10 years. That's ludicrous because, among other things, he's locking in about 100 percent increase between 2000 and now in defense spending.

WERTHEIMER: So if that's bad - it does sound bad - what's ugly?

GILLESPIE: Most people's budget proposals are filled with these kinds of bizarre fantasies that - nobody's buying them. So I don't know why people keep trying to sell them.

WERTHEIMER: Well, now, that is one of the things that I think would be something that might be ugly about the Ryan plan, and that is it doesn't appear to be at all likely to go anywhere.

GILLESPIE: And Ryan's budget at least acknowledges that and says, let's slow it down a little bit. He doesn't slow it down far enough, and he doesn't slow it down fast enough, and he doesn't because he won't actually open up every object to the budget knife, including defense and including entitlements in the way that they need to be.

WERTHEIMER: Thanks very much.

GILLESPIE: You bet.

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