Paul Ryan really wishes the House speaker would fix immigration and the debt

Paul Ryan has regrets.

The retiring Republican House speaker who spent the last two years ignoring almost everything President Donald Trump has said and done to get a massive corporate tax cut passed, says leaving immigration and the national debt unaddressed are his “two regrets I wish we could have gotten done,” in a live-streamed interview with the Washington Post’s Paul Kane.

Immigration and the debt. Oh boy. Let’s explain some of Ryan’s regrets.

Paul Ryan’s beloved tax reform law ballooned the deficit
First, the debt. Republicans have spent decades sounding the alarm about the growing deficit and national debt, which they say will eventually lead to the nation’s economic demise. It’s Ryan’s biggest and most consistent rallying cry.

But under his leadership, the deficit, which is the difference between how much tax revenue the federal government brings in and how much it spends, is on track to hit $1 trillion in 2019. The laws enacted in the last year will add $2.4 trillion to the national debt by 2027.

There are two main reasons the deficit is ballooning right now: First is that Republicans changed the tax laws, permanently cutting the corporate tax rate by 15 percent and temporarily cutting the individual rates. In 2018, the federal government’s revenue was only up 0.4 percent — one of the lowest growth rates in half a century.

The slow revenue rate is in large part due to the tax bill, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a bipartisan group that advocates for fiscal responsibility. Taking inflation into account, federal revenues were actually down between 4 to 9 percent this year because of the tax cuts.

The CBO has already estimated these cuts will cost $1.46 trillion over 10 years — or roughly $1 trillion when adjusted for economic growth — and increase the deficit by $164 billion in 2018 alone. The law is projected to add another $230 billion to the deficit next year.

By Tara Golshan for V O X
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