Bob Barr

Fundamentally, Ryan’s budget recognizes the reality President Obama and his Democratic colleagues in the Congress absolutely refuse to acknowledge: We do have a spending problem. It then proposes what is to the Democrats, unthinkable: reducing spending rather than increasing taxes. The Democrats’ blind and absolute adherence to a philosophy of addressing the budget deficit by seeking ways to increase revenues (“taxes”) thus leads Obama’s Party to refuse to even consider Ryan’s proposal as a collection of ideas from which to negotiate; to them, it is seen as nothing more than an infected bed sheet during the Black Plague -- something to be burned and buried.

Some among the chattering class have been quick to reject the Ryan proposal because it does not address in detail every aspect of the federal budget morass that has given us $1.0 trillion-plus deficits every year in which this president has been in office. Of course, had Ryan’s initial plan, as unveiled yesterday, included every detail of an overhaul of our current income tax and entitlement systems -- systems Rube Goldberg would be proud to claim as his own -- the congressman’s detractors would have scoffed that the plan was “too complex” to work.

Central, of course, to the Democrats’ knee-jerk rejection of the Ryan plan is that it contemplates and incorporates an approach to healthcare reform fully at odds with the sacred cow that is “ObamaCare.” This alone dooms the plan to the graveyard into which that political party throws any proposal founded on the notion of individual choice rather than government mandate.

Hopefully, Republicans in the Congress -- including the leadership -- will run with the Ryan Plan. It is worthy of adoption not because every member and every faction within the GOP agrees with its every element; rather, the plan should be employed as a visible and strong framework with which to construct for the American people a workable, balanced federal budget within a realistic timeframe that also incorporates vital reforms of the myriad government programs that have been permitted to grow uncontrollably and led us to the brink of fiscal collapse.

Paul Ryan has teed up a worthy proposal; let’s now see if the GOP hits it down the fairway or whiffs it.

Bob Barr

Bob Barr represented Georgia’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 -2003 and as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia from 1986-1990.