Democrat Response to Rep. Ryan Spending Cuts: Burn The Witches!

BY Glen Tschirgi
3 years, 6 months ago

Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan went on the Sunday news shows last weekend to preview Republican plans for the 2012 Federal Budget (not to be confused with the current combat over the 2011 Budget that Democrats refused to pass last year).

Ryan made it clear that the 2012 Budget sets out on a very ambitious path to cut over $4 Trillion from Federal spending over the next 10 years in an effort to reduce the size of the Federal government and get spending back in line with revenue.

My concern here is not to talk about the specifics of Ryan’s budget ideas.  Afterall, the proposed budget is not expected to be released until later this week.  Instead, I want to highlight the preliminary salvos being fired by Democrats attempting to “prepare the ground” for the Budget Battle of 2012.

Here is the Associated Press reporting on Rep. Ryan’s remarks as well as the Democrat response:

In an interview with “Fox News Sunday,” Ryan said budget writers are working out the 2012 numbers with the Congressional Budget Office, but he said the overall spending reductions would come to “a lot more” than $4 trillion. The debt commission appointed by President Barack Obama recommended a plan that it said would achieve nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction.

Ryan said Obama’s call for freezing nondefense discretionary spending actually locks in spending at high levels. Under the forthcoming GOP plan, Ryan said spending would return to 2008 levels and thus cut an additional $400 billion over 10 years.

Ryan tells the interviewer, in general terms, that the proposed budget will include things like premium supports for Medicare and Medicaid, a bifurcation of treatment for those 55 and older who would continue under the present approach and those younger who would be put under a new, cost-savings approach.   Ryan previewed ideas such as block grants to the States for Medicare/Medicaid to allow each State to decide how to deal with their citizens on a local level;  a statutory cap on discretionary federal spending;  a revision of the tax code to broaden and simplify its implementation; no new tax increases.

The reaction by Democrats?  About what you would expect:

Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee, slammed Ryan’s plan in a press release Sunday. “It is not courageous to protect tax breaks for millionaires, oil companies and other big-money special interests while slashing our investment in education, ending the current health care guarantees for seniors on Medicare, and denying health care coverage to tens of millions of Americans,” Van Hollen said.

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia was skeptical that Ryan’s proposal could achieve its targets without damaging social programs. He also questioned whether reductions in defense spending and seeking more revenue through tax reform would be part of the plan.

“I don’t know how you get there without taking basically a meat ax to those programs who protect the most vulnerable in the country,” Warner said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I’ll give anybody the benefit of a doubt until I get a chance to look at the details,” he said, “but I think the only way you’re going to really get there is if you put all of these things, including defense spending, including tax reform, as part of the overall package.”

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., part of a six-member group of Republicans and Democrats forging their own budget proposal, said that the lawmakers would be looking for “real balance” in Ryan’s plan and wanting all options considered.

“I think we’ll come at it differently,” Durbin said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “The idea of sparing the Pentagon from any savings, not imposing any new sacrifice on the wealthiest Americans, I think goes way too far. We have got to make certain that it’s a balanced approach and one that can be sustained over the next 10 years.”

This knee-jerk reaction by Democrats– that “the Rich” are not paying their “fair share” and must be subject to “new sacrifice” — puts me in mind of that classic scene from Monty Python And The Holy Grail:

Democrats have the very same kind of medieval thinking when it comes to economics and tax policy.  Just as the villagers in The Holy Grail are determined to have their “witch” to burn, even if it means dressing someone up to look like a witch and making the most absurd claims of the woman’s evil deeds, Democrats in Congress are determined to burn the Rich regardless of the efficacy or, indeed, the great harm that it causes to the economy.

In this video by The Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Dan Mitchell explains how this type of witch hunting is so wrong-headed and, ultimately, damaging to our economy:

One thing to highlight in this excellent video is the fact that we live in a global economy that will always favor those who can move their capital elsewhere.   Professor Paul Rahe, in volume 1 of his book series, Republics Ancient & Modern, he notes that eighteenth century writers recognized that, “the invention of the bill of exchange [was] a turning point in world history.” (page 47).  The French philosopher, Montesquieu, noted that the effect of the bill of exchange was to allow the merchant class to avoid the arbitrary and confiscatory policies of the monarchical rulers of Europe by sending their assets to other, less oppressive states.  As a result, a veritable revolution in politics occurred because, for the first time, rulers’ decisions were checked by the ability of these merchants to vote with their movable assets.  (Ibid).

The same phenomenon applies today, but Democrats (and protectionist Republicans) just don’t get it.   They look at factories and jobs moving overseas and, rather than look squarely in the mirror at our anti-business, anti-manufacturing policies fomented by left-wingers still living in the 19th Century as the cause, they vilify the owners as “un-American” or unpatriotic or just evil.   The reality is that America will continue to shed jobs and capital until we stop demonizing “the rich” and start implementing policies that make it easier for businesses to stay in the U.S. and thrive.

Democrats in Congress, if the AP article is any indication, seem prepared to continue on their idiotic quest to “burn the witches” of our economy, not because there are witches, but because they know it offers a grotesque but satisfying spectacle to a constituency that they have carefully cultivated to feed upon envy, hatred, resentment and victim-status.

Congressmen like Paul Ryan and his colleagues in the Senate must not for one moment give in to this vile practice when it comes to hammering out the 2012 Budget and beyond.



  • http://www.peaceandconflictresolution.org Warbucks

    It would be nice to see a concerted bi-partisan effort emerge to reward bringing jobs home. Some of us independents, right or wrong, supported H. Ross Perot, because he was the closest voice to speaking truth we saw until someone or something shut him up. The truth of what got to Perot will probably never be known. You may recall his analysis of globalization: “A great sucking sound — of jobs leaving” that would take us a full generation of loss before any assemblence on global stabilization. What we are finding is two generations of turmoil may instead be needed.

    This is not my rant against globalization as much as it is a call for truth-talkers. Is it possible for a truth-talker to be elected? I doubt it. Everyone elected is a script reader today.

  • http://bit.ly/FirstContact3 Warbucks

    A “shell game,” I think that’s what everyone in politics is playing with everyone else today.

    “The shell game (also known as Thimblerig, Three shells and a pea, the old army game) is portrayed as a gambling game, but in reality, when a wager for money is made, it is a confidence trick used to perpetrate fraud. In confidence trick slang, this famous swindle is referred to as a short-con because it is quick and easy to pull off.” Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_game

  • TS Alfabet

    WB–

    what is it that you/Perot recommend exactly with regard to “globalization” ?

    We can’t go back in time and undo it. Absent a cataclysmic event that returns all nations to subsistence farming and eliminates world trade, the competition between nations to produce better goods at cheaper prices is here to stay.

    As I recall, Perot’s “analysis” of global trade was not much different than protectionists everywhere: [Insert foreign nation] is taking our American jobs away and the U.S. government needs to erect trade barriers or tariffs or enact laws that make imports more expensive than U.S. made goods, etc…

    One of the main points in the post above is that no government since the 18th century has been able to truly control the flight of capital to more profitable venues. And any attempt to try it only accelerates the flight of capital and causes the economy to stagnate and fail, eventually.

    Democrats/protectionists don’t seem to grasp this.

    The balm for losing jobs to foreign competition is to make U.S. companies (and, more to the point, the U.S. business climate) more competitive and more attractive for producing things. We need to get rid of alot of the relics of the 19th and early 20th century — wage laws, union laws, excessive govt regulation, sky-high corp taxes, environmental straight-jackets, etc…– and make it profitable for U.S. entrepreneurs to produce in the U.S. where we enjoy huge advantages such as stability, rule of law, educated work-force etc… We don’t need to compete with China for sweat shops but there are millions of people in places like Detroit, Cleveland and Baltimore who would be only too glad to have a full-time job at $5/hour. Instead we import a slave-labor force of illegal aliens to take those jobs and leave our own citizens standing in the unemployment line.

  • http://firstcontactproject.org/ Warbucks

    We need to get rid of alot of the relics of the 19th and early 20th century — wage laws, union laws, excessive govt regulation, sky-high corp taxes, environmental straight-jackets, etc…– and make it profitable for U.S. entrepreneurs to produce in the U.S…..

    Agreed.

    The key at the root of all this, which I think you probably allude to is “innovation” — new and different products that lead to entirely new industries.

    Otherwise industries tend to commoditize (I think that’s a word). Competition in commodities is a very harsh experience driving yields lower and lower, unless innovation somehow works its way into the capital investment side of production, which it eventually does but usually at cost of higher skills needed in the work place and lower employment.

    American Exceptionalism, is more than niche finding. It is the ability to R&D entirely new industries of new ideas of scientific innovation. One of the risks of Globalization that Mr. Perot talked about was the pasteurization of innovation where economies all drifted into a European model of WTO ladened regulation that stifles innovation.

    Technical skills in the work place is our greatest need right now, this morning, inside Silly-Cone Valley (yes, intentionally misspelled) where hiring is afoot and everyone is looking overseas for skilled labor and hiring from overseas.

    Perhaps a bi-partisan team could focus on bringing jobs home as the economy expands and hiring picks up. No one party seems to be willing to share the political stage, everyone is following their script and the script right now is blame the other guys. We need another truth talker.

  • Dave

    If there is truth to be told, it seems that the U.S. public education system is the subject. In the second half of the 19th Century, the U.S. invested in universal free public education, and for generations many kids received an ’8th grade education’.

    Look up what kids had to know to graduate 8th grade 100 years ago and compare it with entry level college courses. It takes much longer to get kids to basic proficiency now than it did back when our ancestors were building this great nation. Not that we even do a good job at basic proficiency in a country where urban schools fail to graduate half of their students.

    There are too many problems with public education to detail here, but the result is an undereducated and uncompetitive workforce. For about a decade and a half after WWII, we could coast on an uneducated workforce because global industrial capacity was nil outside America. Then the rest of the world started to get back on its feet and started taking our lunch.

    The people who depend most on a sound public education system are those in the lower and middle class. Concerned about the eroding middle class? Look no farther than the average U.S. classroom and ask yourself what these kids are going to be prepared to do in 20-40 years. If the average American worker doesn’t have the skills needed/desired by business, or the capacity to learn those skills, business will be forced to look outside the U.S. This is not because businesses can’t wait to somehow screw Americans, but because their hand was forced by an inadequate workforce.

    The giant sucking sound is the sound of jobs leaving – correct – but it was a failed public education system that pulled the stopper out of the tub.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Humor,Leadership,Policy,Politics and was published April 4th, 2011 by Glen Tschirgi.

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