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Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), the Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, knows Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) well. The two are often paired against each other in media interviews, debating budget issues in a calm and respectful manner. So it is somewhat surprising, and disappointing, to see that Van Hollen attempt to pre-empt Ryan’s new budget, which balances within ten years, by accusing it of hurting “middle class, seniors, veterans, women, children, federal employees, low-income families, and those nearing retirement.”

That is a response worthy of the demagoguery of President Barack Obama, not a serious budget analyst.

Ryan’s budget, which will be released on Capitol Hill this morning, aims to balance the budget by trimming the deficit by $4.6 trillion over ten years. It is not based on cuts to government spending, but rather cuts to the growth of government spending–hardly the definition of “austerity,” as the Huffington Post headline screams this morning. In addition, the Ryan budget achieves balance without raising taxes, relying on pro-growth policies to increase federal revenues and reduce the percentage of federal spending to 19.1% of GDP.

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