Paul Ryan questions Obama's grasp of economy
January 27th, 2013
12:09 PM ET
10 years ago

Paul Ryan questions Obama's grasp of economy

(CNN) - Former GOP vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan said Sunday that President Barack Obama doesn't appreciate the seriousness of the nation's economic situation. "I don't think that the president actually thinks we're having a fiscal crisis," Ryan said.

Appearing Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," his first live national television interview since last year's election, Ryan shared his thoughts on the nation's fiscal health and whether he'll run for president in 2016.

[twitter-follow screen_name='politicalticker']

Ryan defended his tough prescriptions for the economy: "We're not preaching austerity, we're preaching growth and opportunity. What we're saying is, 'If you get our fiscal ship fixed, you pre-empt austerity.'"

Major battles are set to take place this spring between Congress and the White House on issues from the government's budget to raising the debt ceiling.

Last week, the House passed a bill which would effectively put off the debt ceiling crisis until mid-May, giving lawmakers time to find a longer-term solution on the issue. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated he will seek to pass the bill and Obama said he would sign it.

But there's more. If Congress doesn't act by March 27, federal spending will be completely suspended and the government would be forced to shut down until lawmakers can agree on spending and taxes.

READ MORE: Ryan expects second Obama term to help future GOP chances

The other issue has to do with the so-called "sequester" cuts, which Congress postponed for two months following the fiscal cliff deal at the beginning of this year. Those cuts would slash critical items from the budget of both defense and some nondefense aspects of the government to help save money - but they're cuts neither party wants.

Ryan said he doesn't think the country is facing a government shutdown this spring, but he predicted the sequester cuts will happen.
"We can't lose those spending cuts. That was to pay for the last debt ceiling increase, let alone any future increases," Ryan said.

"We think the sequesters will happen because the Democrats have opposed our efforts to replace those cuts with others and they've offered no alternatives," he added.

Ryan is the face of these issues for the GOP, so it's clear he's going to have a lot on his plate over the next few months.

But many wonder if he's going to make a run for president in 2016. He said Sunday it was simply premature to speculate on what he might do in four years, especially while needing to deal with these immediate fiscal issues.

Still, he did take time to reflect on the 2012 election.

"It was a great experience, I feel that I benefited tremendously from that," Ryan said. "Mitt Romney would have been one heck of a great president. He's a very good man. And the big regret I have is that we didn't win the election and that we weren't able to put the kinds of reforms that we think are right for the country in place."

- CNNMoney's Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2016 • Debt • Deficit • Paul Ryan
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Obama-first-before-all-else...

    barack_obama served himself above Country and its People....His speech on 1-21-13 was all taylored to divide the Country even more than his managed to do in his first term....Pres Obama will go down as the man who created history and cloud for himself...period...

    January 27, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Phil Sturholm

    No one wants more taxes ... yet ... after the Bush tax cuts, we squandered our surplus and and failed to cut expenses. We need more revenue. When businesses need more money, the raise prices on their products. Congress (make that GOP) does not say no more price hikes for business ... customers cannot afford it. Prices rise and we pay. We all will have to pay a little more to get back on track. The Amertican people understand – as bad as thery wish otherwise ... Ryan and the GOP are the party of NO: No help, No cooperation , No ideas ... we'll wait until 2016,

    January 27, 2013 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  3. Jason T.

    Most folks questions Ryan's grasp of reality.

    January 27, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  4. CB FL

    This comes from someone who can't add 2+2.

    January 27, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  5. GaryOwen27

    Let me get this correct, Ryan and the Red Neck Right is questioning Obama on the economy? They are the ones that destroyed it in the first place and now that Obama has fixed it they question his savy....pathetic.

    January 27, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  6. Jim M

    someone needs to tell Ryan that austerity doesn't work. His plan will put us back into a recession.

    January 27, 2013 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Karl Jonas

    And Lyin' Ryan, who got a BA in communications not economics, never gained any expertise in the economy (except for PR stunts), has been on the public payroll for 14+ years (since he was 25), and is trying to sell the same snake oil the voters rejected in the election, thinks he understands the economy while President Obama doesn't? ROFLMAO!

    Ryan lives in a huge reality distortion bubble. Dream on Lyin' Ryan! You'll never be presdient.

    January 27, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. illinidiva

    Of course Obama doesn't believe there is a. debt crisis. Let's stop pretending he does and be honest about it. Also, the fact that Ryan and Obama have barely concealed disdain for each other is quite amusing. Barry cannot even have a civil relationship with the defacto leader of the opposition suggests that there isn't going to be bipartisanship any time soon.

    January 27, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. Ancient Texan

    Ryan has an extensive backgound and knowledge of the economy...the president is a community organizer and spokesperson for ACORN.

    January 27, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. jc israel

    seems a bit absurd for Paul Ryan, who has never really held a job out side of government, to say Barack Obama, who did work and struggle doesnt understand the nations economics.Plus all Ryans selling is the same austerity plans you see in Europe where its been disastrous.

    January 27, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. dreamer96


    After the last election most American's question Paul Ryan's grasp of Reality.....

    January 27, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  12. midwestmatt

    Utterly laughable coming from a man who received Social Security benefits when he lost his father and then set out to shut out the exact kind of person he was from getting any help now.

    The GOP are hypocrites, thieves. plutocracy loving, anti-American, anti-capitalist, liars.

    And this is coming from a 27 year long GOP member who remembers Reagan's ability to compromise.

    January 27, 2013 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. MikeyM

    Aren't Lyin Ryan's 15 minutes over yet?
    The guy is a disgrace.

    January 27, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  14. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The question that Ryan never answered is what is his difference between the "preaching austerity, we're preaching growth and opportunity" that he is talking about. I would like a better explanation. He doesn't explain what cutting federal spending is preaching austerity or growth and opportunity. If Hagel is the next Sec. of Defense, then he needs to go through his budget for the problems that are costing money. This goes along with cutting tax loop holes and changes for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    January 27, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Jack

    Oh right. Paul Ryan from Petticoat Junction has a better understanding of the national economy than Obama. Right. Remember, Ryan gets his economic theories from the novel Atlas Shrugged. That's like getting travel advice from reading Gulliver's Travels.

    January 27, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. Econ 101 - Washington the State, Not the Sewer

    A simple fact of the economy is the multiplier effect. For every dollar the government taxes the productive citizens it creates another $1.50 in economic activity. For every dollar that is spent in the private sector by productive citizens another $5.00 is created. So, think of it this way; you lose $3.50 in opportunity costs for every dollar that the government takes out of the private sector. Now, in which place would you rather invest your money; government or the private sector? This is why JFK lowered taxes and decreased spending in 1962. He understood that the combination would grow the overall economy and increase opportunity for everybody – not just government employees and contractors.

    January 27, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Looks like someone is preparing himself for 2016 presidential run.

    January 27, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  18. Squigman

    Amazing. I question Ryan's grasp on reality. Guess we're even.

    January 27, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
1 2