So when pundits tell us that our politicians will only be able to implement the necessary reforms to return the nation to a responsible fiscal path when the public finally wakes up and understands the enormity of the problem, what they're not telling you is that this understanding gap could be closed in a matter of days if the president and his party would square with the American people. But President Obama refuses to come clean about the gravity of our situation.
Before you start with the bogus moral equivalency arguments ("both parties are equally guilty"), run your background checks. The Republican Party has been pushing entitlement reform for years now -- but especially the past few years. Each time, Democrats have pooh-poohed the problem and demonized Rep. Paul Ryan and his fellow Republican reformers in Congress as agents of the rich.
But this week, Ryan and Rep. Tom Price will unveil their new budget and put this issue back on the front burner. Their new plan proposes to balance the budget in 10 years, as opposed to the almost 30-year schedule of Ryan's earlier plan. It is a well-constructed, responsible and feasible plan.
Naysayers can cynically assert that this is just political posturing because Ryan et al. know that their budget will never get through the Democratic Senate. Are you kidding me? Are you actually suggesting that the GOP shouldn't pass something it knows would work because irresponsible Senate Democrats would be sure to reject it in favor of something that wouldn't work? The Republicans have to try.
By all accounts, Senate Democrats, who haven't passed a budget since 2009, are going to propose one that is hopelessly vague and contains few significant spending cuts and little entitlement reform. You want posturing? Look no further than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
President Obama and his party want to continue to deny our financial problem because they want government to keep growing. To the extent they are forced to address the problem, they want not to cut but to continue to raise taxes on working Americans. But this, too, is an ideologically born pipe dream. We simply can't raise taxes enough to sustain their permanent spending orgy, putting aside the devastating impact further tax increases would have.
I believe that Sen. Rand Paul performed a valuable service in establishing a model for insider rebellion against a federal government that is drunk with power. I hope Rep. Ryan and his colleagues follow that lead and use similarly high-profile methods to finally succeed in alerting the public to this crisis.
They cannot merely submit their budget passively with the expectation that it will be dead on arrival. They have to accompany it with a bold, effective, relentless PR campaign and force Obama's hand. The time is now.