House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan slammed President Obama on Tuesday, saying the current administration is leading the U.S. down a path to debt and decline because of its misguided policies on taxes and spending.
At a “Tax Policies for 4% Growth” conference in New York sponsored by the instutute of former President George W. Bush, Ryan said the nation was at a tipping point where “our window is starting to close” and the next president would have to make big decisions that lead the U.S. to prosperity rather than austerity.
“We have tried chasing more spending with more taxes and stimulus, and it doesn’t work,” the Wisconsin Republican said during remarks that at times sounded like a stump speech in support of his party’s political platform in the run-up to the general election in November. “President Obama is bringing us toward a government-centered society, which will bring us down the path of debt and decline.”
Obama and Ryan notoriously came to loggerheads last summer during a debt ceiling crisis that led to a Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. debt. At that time, Ryan accused Obama of “demagoguery” while Obama accused Ryan of balancing his House budget plan on the backs of the poor.
As Ryan spoke Tuesday, just one week before the April 17 deadline for Americans to file taxes, Obama was appearing before a crowd of students at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton to campaign for his “Buffett Rule” tax on the nation’s highest earners. The rule calls for Americans earning more than $1 million a year to pay federal taxes at the rate of 30%.
Ryan, meanwhile, favors a tax reform plan that would “lower the rates and broaden the base” to only two tax rates, of 10% and 25%.
“We don’t like the direction the president is taking this country,” said Ryan, who often paints himself as a populist who favors small business over too-big-to-fail banks. “If we keep going down this path where we divide each other, we’ll have a welfare state on our hands.”
Sponsored by the George W. Bush Presidential Center, Tuesday’s 4% growth conference featured a number of panel talks, the last of which offered “blitz solutions” for growth-encouraging taxes from speakers including the former National Economic Council director Lawrence Lindsey and the former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, known for his support of a flat tax.
Lindsey’s blitz solution involved a value-added tax with no exemptions and getting rid of personal, corporate and Social Security taxes, while Forbes called once again for a flat tax.
Read more about Ryan’s 2013 House GOP budget at AdvisorOne.