To balance the budget is tryin',
But without tax-rate hikes
He may cut as he likes
And fall short of the goal he's implyin'.
The budget proposal unveiled by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisconsin) serves up an unusual recipe of brutal realism and wishful thinking. On the one hand, Mr. Ryan correctly identifies healthcare spending as the element most in need of control, and makes potentially explosive changes and cutbacks to Medicare and Medicaid. On the other hand, by starting from the revenue base of the Bush tax cuts, he doesn't project a balanced budget until 2030. Even this achievement relies on such rosy assumptions as 4% unemployment and a reduction in federal spending from 24% to 14.75% of the US economy. A truly realistic plan to balance the budget will require more revenue as well as less spending.