U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal isn’t perfect. But it appears to be the best proposal out there so far.
It’s certainly not the “stinkburger” that President Obama derisively referred to during his Obamacare sales-trip stop at a Michigan deli recently.
Regardless, many pundits believe the Wisconsin Republican’s budget plan likely will go nowhere, primarily because it would compel politicians to try something that millions of American households outside the Beltway do all the time – rein in superfluous spending and keep balanced budgets.
What a shame that fiscal responsibility isn’t more fashionable in Washington, because the country would be fortunate to see the House Budget Committee chairman’s budget enacted.
At a macro level, Ryan’s plan would cut $5.1 trillion in government spending during the next decade with no tax increase. The spending cuts, coupled with forecasted economic growth from lowering the corporate tax rate to 25 percent, would balance the federal budget by 2024.
Adjusted for inflation, Ryan’s spending plan would be a 29 percent reduction from today’s bloated levels.
What draws liberal ire and prompts name-calling is in the details. The Ryan budget would repeal the Affordable Care Act (an estimated $2 trillion in savings); increase defense spending; allow people to opt out of Medicare; and impose new work requirements for food stamp and welfare recipients.
Liberals attack the plan for cutting too deep. Rock-ribbed fiscal conservatives say it doesn’t cut deep enough.
It would be edifying to debate the merits and shortcomings of the Ryan proposal if there was a competing plan. But there isn’t. Senate Democrats already have said they do not intend to draft a budget this year.
Yet this plan gets thanklessly labeled as “mean,” a “joke,” a “stinkburger.” Say what you will about the proposal, but at least Ryan’s doing something.
Every member of Congress, underneath all the populist touchy-feely rhetoric, understands that out-of-control government spending and the failure to meaningfully reform entitlement programs have led to this nation’s fiscal crisis. Yet year after year, nearly all shirk fiduciary responsibility and kick the can farther down the road.
In that respect, politicians are like many of the people they represent. They say they support balanced budgets and fiscal reform, yet vigorously oppose nearly every measure necessary to do so.
Unfortunately, the clock in that game is running out. It’s time for a new play. Ryan’s isn’t perfect, but at this point in the game, it’s certainly good enough.