Appearing on The Daily Rundown with Chuck Todd on MSNBC today, Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6) strongly criticized the Ryan Budget, which was released this morning.
Chuck Todd: Do you wish the Democrats had a plan that was out there that did have a target for when there is a balanced budget, not necessarily in ten years but a target date? The White House is not saying that there's going to be a target.
Delaney: So, so listen I do think there should be a target date. I think the ten year window is to some extent artificial because most of the pressures on our budget actually come in years eleven through twenty. One of the issues I have with the Ryan budget, aside from some policy differences which I would consider to be substantial, is the underlying assumption -- assumptions that he makes are just flawed. If you're in the private sector and you came to the table with a set of assumptions in the kind of context that his assumptions are in, people would either laugh at you --
Todd: What's his specific assumptions?
Delaney: Well unemployment. Again I haven't looked at his new proposal today but in his past budgets, he's assumed unemployment went down to a level that we have never seen in this country. Now, you can make budgets look terrific if you assume completely unrealistic assumptions, and again in the private sector you would never be able to get away with that. So he assumes unemployment goes down to levels it's never been at, he assumes tax revenues go up, he doesn't indicate how that happens, yet he's generally speaking reducing taxes and he assumes government spending gets down to levels that we've never seen even for defense by itself.
Delaney also discussed the need for a grand bargain budget deal and called for Democrats to lead on entitlement reform.
Todd: Congressman Delaney, what does a Grand Bargain look like? What are some things that you think your party is going to come to grips with, if they want to get taxes, some taxes out of Republicans, what do you think that your party's going to have to redo?
Delaney: I think we have to lead on entitlement reform. And I think we have to do --
Todd: What does that mean, put out a specific plan?
Delaney: A specific plan, and I think what we should do are several things. First thing is we should means test. Second thing is we should raise the cap on social security, thirdly we should increase retirement age, maybe not for those people who do manual labor but for everyone else, and fourth we should change the way we calculate the cost-of-living adjustment. If we do all those --
Well that's not where the President is on some of these things
Delaney: Well, but if you look at the numbers, if you actually engage in a serious analysis with our budget, and that's the issue I have with Congressman Ryan's budget, it's not serious. It's based on assumptions that are just not realistic, it's not a legitimate intellectually or financially kind of integrity document if you will. I think what we have to do is first do those things that I said on entitlement. The President is not there but that's where I think Democrats need to go. I think when we layer in some additional revenues through things like the Buffet rule and then look at spending for both discretionary and defense, I think we can start coming up with the right trajectory for our budget and have a date that it balances in the future. The American people do want the budget to balance, but they also want our -- their representatives to be honest with them about the assumptions that are imbedded in the budget, and right now the congressman, Congressman Ryan's budget, doesn't have honest assumptions.