6 years 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.