Say you’re running a business, and you find yourself awash in red ink. You realize it’s time to retool your approach, and fast. So you ask two different employees to each come up with a budget. You’ll go with whoever writes the best plan.
The Ryan budget provides a view of Republican priorities and their vision for how to increase economic growth, reform entitlements, and balance the budget. While timid and imperfect, Ryan’s plan shows that Republicans are at least looking in the right direction.
How can anyone take President Obama seriously when he tells us our national debt is no big deal? Well, we have to take him seriously, because, unserious thinking or not, he has serious power, including the power to obstruct progress on reducing the debt.
In a controversial move that is already backfiring, last week Speaker John Boehner removed three fiscal hawks from key committees for not voting in lockstep with House leadership. In other words, House members are being punished for wanting to cut government spending and keep the promises they made to their constituents.
For months, pundits and politicians have been saying that Americans have a math problem. They have a point, for Mr. Obama routinely champions the idea that running annual deficits in excess of $1 trillion dollars can be continued, simply by requiring Americans to pay $200 billion in taxes more each year. Anyone with a 3rd grade grasp of math has long ago come to the conclusion that even if Mr. Obama gets his way, huge annual deficits will remain, and the nation cannot sustain the current level of profligate spending indefinitely.
I wanted to like Paul Ryan. Before he was nationally known, Rep. Ryan visited me at ABC, and we went to lunch. He was terrific. He was a rare politician, one who actually cared about America's coming debt crisis and the unfairness of entitlements. He even talked about F.A. Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom"! If only more politicians thought that way.
We do not know who will win the White House in November. But we do know that American politics has crossed the Rubicon on spending and entitlements, and these issues will at long last complete the journey from a forbidden third rail to a central element of national politics. Even if Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan lose this year’s battle to Barack Obama, they will win the war on the challenge of our generation.
President Obama has long favored reducing the payments to these plans and significant cuts are part of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). However, neither the president nor any other prominent Democrat is calling for the abolition of these very popular plans.
Mitt Romney made a smart executive decision selecting Paul Ryan as his vice presidential running mate. Ryan's genial personality, serious policy wonkery and political courage have dazzled conservatives and won respect even in a few liberal circles. Romney scores points for political courage as well. He knew liberal politicians and journalists would talk in punishing terms about Ryan's budget ideas.
The Obama campaign wasted no time misinforming voters about Paul Ryan's budget.
In typical Washington fashion, hyperbole regarding the challenges coming for the lame-duck Congress is heating up, while actual solutions remain slim. Talk of averting the $50 billion defense sequester coming on January of 2013 and replacing the cuts with tax hikes stand to upend the gains taxpayers have made this year as we edge closer to the “Fiscal Cliff.”
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