There are three major factors that stand in the way of entitlement reform and the other responsible budgetary measures that must be taken to avert an eventual national financial catastrophe, and they have a common source.
The first is that too many American people remain, amazingly, in the fog about the scope of the problem. The second is that a certain political ideology refuses to substitute a designated driver for the intoxicated entitlement state, which is driving the American bankruptcy bus. The third is that the leader of this noxious ideology has a further conflict of interest precluding a solution to the crisis, which is that he is hellbent on inflicting harm on the only political party pushing for reform and on successful entrepreneurs, who are critical to economic growth -- a key component of any reform measure.
The source behind all this? That's right, President Obama and his merry Democratic Party leaders.
Our national debt problem is an objective fact and something no one should have to spend time spilling ink to document. Responsible citizens have a duty to apprise themselves of this fact, and their political leaders have a higher duty to bring it to their attention. Yet we continue to see egg-headed liberal fantasy economists, Democratic politicians, liberal commentators and liberal Twitter dabblers denying the problem -- as if the sheer righteousness of liberal ideology trumps the universal rules of simple math.
In February, the Congressional Budget Office published its latest numbers on the nation's spending, taxation and projected budget calculations. The results are sobering but hardly shocking for anyone who hasn't been asleep or inebriated with liberal spin.
Our national debt is now well over $16 trillion and is expected to grow by roughly $1 trillion a year over the next decade, to some $26 trillion in 2023 -- all while President Obama is warning of dire consequences from budget "cuts." The fiscal picture grows much uglier after that because of the ever-growing entitlement explosion. To deny that this is unsustainable is to deny reality. To downplay this looming disaster as a short-term problem or a bump in the road is insane and immoral. But that is essentially what President Obama does.
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.