Jared Bernstein, Vice President Joe Biden's former economic advisor, agrees with Republican Congressman Paul Ryan on Wisconsin being a nice place to pass the time. How he feels about Ryan's spending cut-filled budget proposal is quite another matter, according to a Monday discussion CNBC Squawk Box.
Ryan's budget proposal for next year, referred in Republican circles as "The Path to Prosperity," has quickly become a center of debate in Washington. The plan, if enacted, would convert the present government-run Medicare system into one in which seniors receive government vouchers to buy subsidized private insurance, reports The New York Times.
Ryan's supporters claim every cut is necessary. “Speaker Boehner supports Chairman Ryan’s budget, which protects Medicare and Medicaid and puts us on a path to pay down the debt,” spokesman for Boehner, Michael Steel told Politico. “If the president has an option that better accomplishes those goals – without a job-killing tax hike – he is certainly willing to listen.”
In Bernstein's view, Ryan's proposed cuts and privatizations of government programs, including Medicare, college tuition and food stamps, will do nothing more than hurt the middle class. "When you go this route, what you end up is less income growth for middle class people, less jobs for middle class people," he said on the program.
"This is Robin Hood in reverse," Bernstein said about the proposal.
The proposal also calls for cutting the federal corporate tax rate to 25 percent from its current rate of 35 percent, reports Politico. This, Bernstein goes on, will do nothing more than continue the trend of taking resources away from the middle class. On his own blog, Bernstein shows how median family productivity since the Reagan Revolution has increased 80 percent, while median family income has increased by only 11 percent.
See how median family income and productivity have correlated since 1947 here:
Ryan's budget was passed by the House of Representatives on April 15 with no Democratic votes and five dissenting Republicans.
Bernstein has not been alone in criticizing the Ryan budget. When it was first released in April, New York Times columnist and Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman called the budget "ridiculous and heartless." "Republicans have once again gone all in for voodoo economics — the claim, refuted by experience, that tax cuts pay for themselves," Krugman wrote in the Times.
Even some Republicans have been critical.
GOP Presidential hopeful and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, stated on NBC's Meet the Press that he thought the Ryan Budget was "right-wing social engineering." He later retracted the statement.
But the criticism hasn't deterred the young Wisconsinite. Said Ryan to Bernstein: "Let's not have a system where we sit around in Washington and pile on more spending at the expense of the next generation."
See the debate between Bernstein and Ryan here: