President Obama has made it a priority to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. Last year, President Obama reached out to Republicans with a plan to address deficit reduction while protecting Medicare and investments in our future. This “grand bargain” would have achieved $4 trillion in deficit reduction through both cuts to government spending and asking the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes.
But, as the New York Times reported, Romney’s new running mate, Paul Ryan, used his influence over House Republicans to dismantle bipartisan negotiations. Why? Because he thought the deal would help President Obama in this year’s election:
Mr. Ryan’s enormous influence was apparent last summer when Representative Eric Cantor, the second most powerful House Republican, told Mr. Obama during negotiations over an attempted bipartisan “grand bargain” that Mr. Ryan disliked its policy and was concerned that a deal would pave the way for Mr. Obama’s easy re-election, according to a Democrat and a Republican who were briefed on the conversation.
When President Obama pointed out that Ryan’s budget plan offers a “deeply pessimistic” vision for America that would cut crucial investments in the middle class and jeopardize health care for seniors, Ryan took the criticism personally and said it “definitely damage[d]” the chances that he’d accept a bipartisan grand bargain on debt reduction.
Ryan’s decision to put politics before country not only obstructed a bipartisan approach to deficit reduction but jeopardized our economy. And now, he hopes to bring that partisan politics to the White House.