No Congressional Budget from Democrats This Year?

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," April 14, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: This is the time of year when most Americans look at their individual and family budgets. So are politicians in Washington going to look at our U.S. budget or just blow it off? Republican congressman Paul Ryan went "On the Record."


VAN SUSTEREN: Congressman, nice to see you, sir.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-WIS.: Good to see you, too, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, tomorrow's tax day, so every American's got his or her eyes on money and finances. And so (INAUDIBLE) question is how's the United States government doing in terms of a budget? You got one?

RYAN: They're not going to do a budget this year, it looks like. But I can tell you one thing. Since the Obama administration came into office, now we have in law $670 billion in new taxes, $670 billion of new taxes that are in law since the president took over, $300 billion of that, a little over $300 billion, hit people making less than $250,000. There are 14 different tax increases that affect families making less than $250,000.

So taxes are way up. Spending is through the roof. And it's our understanding that the Democrats are choosing this year not to do a budget. They have the House. They have the Senate. Obviously, they have the White House. One of the basic functions of governing is to budget.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, the thing that I guess is sort of, I think, of some concern to most Americans is that most Americans have a budget. And you -- the reason that you have a budget is so you can figure out what makes sense to spend, where you can spend, or how you somehow bring down any credit, any credit cards you own or something.

RYAN: Right.

VAN SUSTEREN: So this whole idea of a budget isn't just, you know, ceremonial. It does have a practical implication. So why no budget? And I realize you're the minority party, but why not a budget?

RYAN: Well, obviously, we've propose budgets. I'm a Republican. I'm the head of the budget committee. We put an alternative budget when the budget came last year. I put out a very broad vision. Go to if you want to see that one.

I think they've chosen not to do a budget because they know it's going to be a scary-looking budget. Look at the budget the president sent us, $1.8 trillion in new tax increases on top of all of this, and doubling the debt in five years and tripling the debt in three years. So I don't think that's the budget they think or want to pass right before an election. Unfortunately, that's the budget the president is asking them to pass. That's basically the budget they passed last spring, and that's the budget they will be bringing up.

And I don't know if they even have the votes in their own caucus to pass it, but I don't think they want to. So I think they'd rather get knocked for not even budgeting versus passing the budget that they want to pass.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, I guess, then, it's sort of a damned if you do, damned if you don't, if you're the majority party this go-round with the November mid-term elections (INAUDIBLE) if they don't pass the budget, Republicans are going to hit them over the head with that, saying they -- you know, they won't pass the budget so they can figure out what the spending is and the income, essentially. And if they do pass a budget, you're going to hit them over the head with it, saying, Aha, look how you're spending all this money and you're raising taxes and doing all this stuff.

RYAN: Well...

VAN SUSTEREN: So damned if you do and damned if you don't, if you're a Democrat on this.

RYAN: Right. We had the Treasury secretary, the OMB director come and testify before Congress. And in their own words, the budget they proposed was both unsustainable and not credible. And so those are using their words.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I should say that's the CBO -- director of the CBO...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... or OMB -- well, Doug Elmendorf said last week...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... CBO, fiscal path that we're on is unsustainable.

RYAN: It is. It is unsustainable.

VAN SUSTEREN: So what happens? I mean, like, the -- OK, let's assume no budget, and we're talking five years from now. Unsustainable is not a particularly -- it doesn't -- it's not a word that makes you feel good.

RYAN: What happens in the budget we're living under right now is that our debt gets to unsurmountable levels. Our interest on the debt in the last year of the president's budget is about a trillion dollars, $914 billion.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is that -- do you blame that totally on him, or is this...

RYAN: No, it's not totally on him...


VAN SUSTEREN: ... a Republican administration before.

RYAN: He inherited a good number of problems, but he took these problems and made them much, much, much worse, so much more spending, a brand-new entitlement on top of it.

There's a good statistic that's been out by the Tax Foundation, a very, very highly regarded think tank. And this is what I worry about most. Five, six years from now, we're going to have a tipping point where there are so many people not even paying taxes, living off the government, versus people paying into the government. Twenty percent of Americans right now get 75 percent of their income from the federal government. They're dependent on it. Another 20 percent get 45 percent of their income from the government. They're relying on it. A full 60 percent of Americans, according to the Tax Foundation, get more benefits in dollar value from the federal government than they pay back in taxes.

If the Obama budget that we're living under right now continues on, according to the Tax Foundation, there'll be 70 percent of Americans will get more from the government in dollar terms in benefits than they pay out in taxes. That's a dangerous tipping point that I believe will tip us into becoming a social welfare state. And that is not who we are in America! That's not the American idea. And that, in my opinion, is what's being represented here. That's kind of where our government's going, which is moving us away from the great American idea and entrepreneurial success story society that we've been to this kind of European social welfare state, cradle-to-grave society that we're becoming.

VAN SUSTEREN: If the President Obama stimulus package got all revved up and really got going and generated lots of jobs and the economy really got rolling, would that avert that tipping point? Because there would be - - jobs would -- would promote income...

RYAN: It would help.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... into the Treasury.

RYAN: It would help.

VAN SUSTEREN: So if -- so if by some fortune, good fortune, that revs up, then we can avert that tipping point.

RYAN: Yes. So if the economy grows and we create lots of jobs, then people go from collecting unemployment, collecting different benefits to paying taxes. Now, these numbers I just gave you were pre-crisis numbers, pre-Obama budget numbers, pre-health care numbers by the Tax Foundation. We haven't even run the numbers now that all this new government got turned on and passed through Congress. So my suspicion is these numbers are much, much, much worse than what I just quoted you. That's the path we're already on in this country. Now that you've passed the stimulus package, now that you have all these new bailouts and this new health care entitlement, it's going to be much worse.


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