Pat Buchanan

When Hillary Rosen said that Ann Romney had "never worked a day in her life," it was among the better days of the Romney campaign.

For Rosen -- present whereabouts unknown -- both revealed the feminist mindset about women who choose to become wives and mothers and brought Ann Romney center stage.

Before a Connecticut audience recently, Mrs. Romney spoke of her reluctance to see her husband pursue the presidency a second time and said she resisted, until she got an answer to one critical question.

"Can you fix it?" she asked Mitt. "I need to know. Is it too late?"

Mitt Romney replied, "No, it's getting late, but it's not too late."

Yet Ann's question lingers. Is it still possible to turn this country around? Or has a fate like that of Europe become inevitable?

If one focuses on the deficit-debt crisis, and what a president can do, the temptation is to succumb to despair.

Consider. The U.S. government spends a peacetime record 24 to 25 percent of gross domestic product. Most of that is expended on five accounts: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other Great Society programs, interest on the national debt, war and defense.

Now assume the best of all worlds for the GOP. Mitt wins, and the party captures the Senate and holds the House.

Would that assure a rollback of the federal budget? And, if so, how?

As Romney is committed to expanding the armed forces by 100,000 personnel, to growing the Navy by 15 ships a year, from today's nine, to raising defense spending to 4 percent of GDP from the present 3.8 percent, defense spending would not be going down but up.

What about interest expense?

Given the Federal Reserve's present policy of holding interest rates near zero, the only way interest on the debt can go -- is up.

Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and the Great Society would have to sustain almost all of the cuts if the budget is to move toward balance.

But if the Republicans cut current benefits, they would antagonize 50 million seniors already on Social Security and Medicare.

If they cut future benefits, they will anger the baby boomers who are reaching eligibility for these retirement programs at a rate of 300,000 a month, 10,000 a day, and will continue to retire at that pace until 2030.

Would a President Romney and Republican Congress roll back benefits for scores of millions of seniors, raise the retirement age for Social Security and Medicare, reduce funds for Medicaid, Head Start, Pell grants, student loans, primary and secondary education, and shed federal employees by the tens of thousands?

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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