How catastrophic would the nation's fiscal condition have to be before liberals recognized its urgency? Is there any scenario under which they'd consider setting aside their partisan populism to come to the nation's rescue? Are they capable of even temporarily setting aside their redistributionist myopia long enough meaningfully to address the main drivers of the national debt?
As we know, President Obama hasn't addressed and won't address our financial problems. He has never presented a budget plan that even pretends to rein in entitlement spending or comes anywhere close to reducing our annual deficits to less than shocking numbers, much less reversing the debt picture.
When Paul Ryan presented his plan in April 2011, Obama mocked, ridiculed and demonized him and Republicans as wanting to inflict pain on the elderly and autistic, among other sympathetic groups. Yet when Obama's treasury secretary appeared before the House and the Senate, he admitted the administration's plan wholly fails to address the long-term debt issue and said only that the administration doesn't like the way Ryan's plan approaches it.
We are witnessing the end results of liberal policies on a wide variety of issues -- from health care to the economy to the national debt -- yet liberals can't give them up. Instead of acknowledging that their utopian dreams haven't delivered, they are shaking their fists at Republicans and conservatives, as if it were our fault that reality doesn't conform to their fantasies. They'd be much better off reading Mark Levin's "Ameritopia," but I won't hold my breath.
In The New Republic, Jonathan Cohn rails against "the stunning immorality of Paul Ryan's budget." The Washington Post's editorial board denounces "Paul Ryan's dangerous, and intentionally vague, budget plan."
Cohn, obviously not given to hyperbole, suggests that no politician would ever boast about a plan that would rob health insurance from tens of millions and "effectively eliminate the federal government except for entitlements and defense spending" -- "except Paul Ryan just did."
It's not as though "tens of millions" have anything desirable with Obamacare, and whatever they do have costs multiples of what it was advertised and will also wreck the quality of our health care and greatly diminish our freedoms. So how about instead of the cherry-picking we get a little more of the whole picture?
Cohn obviously resents any proposals that would deprive liberals of the Monopoly money they use to effectuate their social planning schemes, even though extending the status quo would guarantee national insolvency and the disastrous consequences it would bring. How do they figure government dependents would fare if that were to occur?
Instead of contributing something -- anything -- toward long-term solutions to the problems they largely caused, Cohn and his fellow liberal finger-pointers are scapegoating Ryan and Republicans for offering a reasonable plan to navigate us out of this mess.
The Washington Post's editors are no better. They lead with what they pretend is a self-evident truth but what is no more accurate than their Keynesian maxim that deficit spending stimulates the economy. "There is no credible path to deficit reduction," they write, "without a combination of spending cuts and revenue increases."
Sorry, but after a certain point, tax rate increases yield diminishing marginal returns for the revenue ledger, which we've seen throughout our history at both the macro (entire economy) and micro (luxury tax) levels. No matter how high they jack up the tax rates, they're not going to produce a significant fraction of the additional revenue needed to balance the budget, let alone begin to reduce the national debt.
Try a simple exercise: Compare the Bush budgets with the Obama budgets, and see the startling amount of difference economic growth makes on the generation of revenue. We're talking hundreds of billions of dollars.
I don't believe that Ryan is proposing tax cuts primarily because he believes we pay too much in taxes. I think he did so because of the practical reality that we can't ultimately balance the budget -- even with substantial spending cuts -- unless we have a growing economy that yields a bigger pie to generate sufficient revenue.
The painful truth is that Ryan's plan is modest and moderate, not grandiose and extreme. If you want to criticize it, do so on the basis that the country could use an even bigger fiscal diet, not that it is too severe.
Democrats and their liberal helpmates are stoking the flames of the fire that threatens the republic; Ryan and others are driving the firetrucks and are merely debating over how big the hoses should be.
In a saner and less polarized nation, Obama would be ousted in a historic landslide in November. He very well may be.