Fact Check: Ryan budget plan doesn’t actually slash the budget

FNC graphic, based on 2013 budget figures and generated by Excel
FNC graphic, based on 2013 budget figures and generated by Excel

Posted: Aug. 14th, 2012

Here are a few little-known facts about Paul Ryan’s supposedly slash-and-burn budget plan.

  • Government spending increases almost every year over the next decade.
  • Tax and other revenue rises year after year.
  • The 10-year deficit is still $3 trillion.

The fact that Ryan’s spending plans grow the federal budget over the long term is one that could easily be lost in the political melee underway in the wake of his selection as Mitt Romney’s running mate.

To be sure, Ryan is proposing major changes to Medicare and taxation that Democrats see as problematic.

But claims that Ryan is slashing spending don’t quite square with the numbers. Those claims are convenient Washington shorthand for what Ryan’s plan actually proposes — which is to slow the rate of budget growth, but still allow the budget to grow.

Under the latest Ryan plan, the budget would grow from $3.6 trillion this year to $4.9 trillion in 2022. The only years in which spending would dip are 2013 and 2014.

Under President Obama’s 2013 budget, spending also increases over the 10-year period, but by a much bigger amount. The budget grows from $3.8 trillion in 2012 to $5.8 trillion in 2022. And instead of the $3.1 trillion long-term deficit under Ryan’s plan, Obama’s plan comes with a $6.7 trillion deficit.

That’s the money that would be added to the national debt over that period.

There is one measure by which Ryan is shrinking the budget. Over the next 10 years, it proposes to shrink government spending “as a share of the economy” from roughly 23 percent to about 20 percent.

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