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Paul Ryan’s Budget: The Most Important Domestic Proposal of our Lifetimes

Now that Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, has presented the GOP’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2012, I’ve been waiting for David Limbaugh to admit that the document is so splendid–so precisely what we had all been hoping for in every regard–that we should put right out of our minds any thoughts of muddying matters by shutting down the government.  Brother David having apparently been detained, though, I thought I’d say a word.

Paul Ryan’s document is historic.  By cutting more than $4 trillion from the budget over the next decade, it exceeds the recommendations of the budget commission President Obama established (and then ignored).  For that matter, it exceeds the fondest hopes of nearly everyone I know, including the most ardent members of the Tea Party.  The budget cuts discretionary spending, as it must.  But it takes on–forthrightly, unapologetically, and systematically–the major entitlement programs, especially Medicaid.  

In a word, this budget represents the first concerted, credible effort to shrink the federal government since the birth of the welfare state seven decades ago.  But not only that.  The document–and this is a critical matter, both as to policy and to the politics of the day–doesn’t merely shrink and slash.  It isn’t merely concerned with balancing the books.  It promotes growth. 

Here’s the way Ryan described the budget this past weekend on Fox News Sunday:

By cutting spending, reforming entitlements and growing our economy. Look, we intendryan-flag.jpg to not only cut discretionary spending and put caps on spending, you have to address the drivers of our debt. …

Now the good thing we have going for us is we have time to fix this problem. So the kinds of reform we’re going to be putting out there won’t make changes to people who are already in or near retirement. If you’re 55 or older, you won’t see changes. You won’t have to reorient your lives around these things.

But if we keep kicking the can down the road and keep making more empty promises to people, then we’ll have the European kind of pain and austerity. Then you have cuts to current seniors, tax increases that slow down your economy.

 By addressing the drivers of the debt now, we do it in a gradual way. … And we are going to put out a plan that gets our debt on downward trajectory and gets us to a point of giving our next generation a debt-free nation. That in and of itself will help us grow the economy today and create jobs.

The GOP budget represents the most consequential domestic policy proposal in our lifetimes. Republicans, the Tea Party, conservatives, libertarians–we should drop all other fights.  This is where to make our stand.

  1. Nyadnar17

    Now that I have seen it I am a believer. I am a big Tea Party guy, but now that I have some actual physical proof that Republicans are serious about fixing the budget and entitlements I am willing to let pretty much anything else slide if we can push this through. If this doesn’t get Republicans to put aside our difference, rally together and fight nothing will. Calling my Reps and telling them to support this thing at all cost as soon as the full text is released

  2. Peter Robinson
    C
    Nyadnar17:If this doesn’t get Republicans to put aside our difference, rally together and fight nothing will.· Apr 4 at 4:35pm

    You said it, my brother.

  3. David Limbaugh
    C

    I will not be baited by the apparently still evil Peter into putting a damper on this fantabulous development. I’m ecstatic about this and will not say a negative word. If this debate could swallow the CR debate it would be great, but alas, this one will take months and the current CR is set to expire in a few days. For the reasons I stated before, I say we hang tough on both. :-))))))))))

  4. David Limbaugh
    C

    Just to show what a good sport I am, I just ReTweeted this sucker. So there.

  5. KC Mulville

    OK, I’m all for it. However, let’s be clear. So long as Obama is president, it won’t pass.

    But that’s not the point.

    The Democrats are going to claim, like Kevin Bacon in Animal House, that “all is well” and that these cuts aren’t needed, and that they’ll slow the recovery. [pause to allow the nausea to pass]

    That’s why I like the plan. It’s about growth. Widen the tax base. 

    My only hesitation is the capital gains level. I read Robert Samuelson’s article this morning, and while I’m not an economist, he made a lot of sense to me. We could afford to trade off some capital gains for tax reform, and I’d like think that dovetails with Ryan’s plan. 

    The point is that if you want to pick a fight, pick the terrain. This is the terrain. The fight will last at least three years, and we should be prepared for it. 

  6. Peter Robinson
    C
    David Limbaugh: If this thing could swallow the CR debate it would be great, but alas, this one will take months and the current CR is set to expire in a few days. For the reasons I stated before, I say we hang tough on both. :-)))))))))) · Apr 4 at 4:44pm

    Oh, David, David, David.  Why permit the Democrats to paint our side as heartless and extreme over the paltry few billions at stake in the continuing resolution?  Why now, when–at last!–we have before the country something truly worth fighting for?

    As for all those smiley faces, did you really suppose they would move me?

    I remain,

    Dr. Evil

  7. Gus Marvinson

    Sometimes I hate myself for being so cynical, but if 4 trillion over the next decade is where negotiations start does anyone think that the result will be any more than half that? And doesn’t this plan get us more or less solvent in 30 to 40 years if everything goes according to the grand plan?

    Nothing significant happens until January 2013 at the earliest; and that’s if we replace current leadership as well as win the Senate and the White House.

  8. Matthew Gilley

    After tiring of the continuing resolution preliminaries, I was wondering how long it would take for this thread to appear.

  9. Whiskey Sam

    Have I mentioned how much I love Paul Ryan?

  10. Kenneth

    It ticks me off when politicians of any stripe parse their proposals in terms of “ten-year” projections. 

    Makes for a nice fat, eye-catching number. But no Congress can tie a future Congress’ hands. 

    Besides, it disguises the magnitude of the near-term crisis – $400 billion out of a $1.7 trillion deficit is just the slightly slower boat to hell.

  11. David Limbaugh
    C
    Peter Robinson

    David Limbaugh: If this thing could swallow the CR debate it would be great, but alas, this one will take months and the current CR is set to expire in a few days. For the reasons I stated before, I say we hang tough on both. :-)))))))))) · Apr 4 at 4:44pm

    Oh, David, David, David.  Why permit the Democrats to paint our side as heartless and extreme over the paltry few billions at stake in the continuing resolution?  Why now, when–at last!–we have before the country something truly worth fighting for?

    As for all those smiley faces, did you really suppose they would move me?

    I remain,

    Dr. Evil · Apr 4 at 4:49pm

    Edited on Apr 04 at 04:51 pm

    Peter: Listen to thyself: If you think Democrats will paint us heartless over CR, just imagine SS, Medicare & Medicaid. Just remember: what we need more than anything else to prevail in the big war (this budget proposal) is for our base to be united and energized, not disunited and dispirited, which is what cowardly caving on the CR would do whether or not any of us here agree.

  12. Peter Robinson
    C
    Kenneth: It disguises the magnitude of the near-term crisis – $400 billion out of a $1.7 trillion deficit is just the slightly slower boat to hell. · Apr 4 at 5:00pm

    Edited on Apr 04 at 05:01 pm

    Slow boat to hell?  Doesn’t look that way, Kenneth. The Wall Street Journal just posted Paul Ryan’s op-ed piece for tomorrow’s paper.  There’s a limit to how much I can quote, but I figure the fair use doctrine will permit me to reproduce the accompanying chart.  Ryan assumes the economy will start growing again–that and other assumptions certainly deserve scrutiny.  But his proposal actually reduces federal indebtedness.  

    A slow boat?  Yes.  But not to hell.  To heaven.

    ED-AN340_ryan_G_20110404162403.jpg

  13. cdor

    KC Mulville

    I’m a political junkie, but I’m not a political pro. I don’t know how the CR fight will affect 2012. And if there’s a good chance it will, I’d rather sacrifice the short for the longer term goal. If David is right, and that the CR fight will help 2012, I’m for it. But I don’t know.

    And neither does anyone else.

  14. Peter Robinson
    C
    David Limbaugh  Peter: Listen to thyself: If you think Democrats will paint us heartless over CR, just imagine SS, Medicare & Medicaid. . · Apr 4 at 5:02pm

    We’re disagreeing about tactics rather than ends, of course, but let me simply lay bare my underlying premise, asking whether you disagree with that, too.  It’s simple–maybe, you’d say, simplistic:  The American people only have a stomach for so much.  Start too many fights, and they’ll get sick of you, no matter how noble or just your cause.  (The Brits are like this, too.  What finally happened to Mrs. Thatcher was that she started one fight too many.  She was right, even about that last fight over the poll tax.  But it didn’t matter.  People had just gotten sick of it all.)

    Applying this simple rule to the current political situation, here’s where I come down: Government shutdowns are really, really nasty.  If we fight over the CR, we’ll use up some of the voters’ patience.  Why take that risk–when we’ll need the voters with in the much, much more important fight to come?

    Premise–and application of same.  Persuaded?  Just a teensy?

  15. Robert Kelly

    Also being cynical, solvency is not an issue. This is a political argument. The government does not need tax revenues in order to spend. Social security checks will never bounce. Deficit spending will NOT cause us to go broke. The USA is not a household, a business, or a state. Our debt is due to a Current Accounts deficit because we import way more than we export. Because we pay for all of our imports in dollars, China, Japan, Germany, S. Korea, et. al., have a boatload of dollars that they would rather keep invested as Treasuries than sit as cash in Reserves. They could do anything they want with these dollars, but they choose to make 3-4% saving them in Treasuries. I agree that government is too big. We do not need more bureaucracy. But entitlements are not the elephant in the room most people think they are. I hate to get Keynsian, but as long as we have resources, paying social security benefits will not get inflationary unless we reach full economic capacity and seniors are competing for goods and services with the rest of the working folks..

  16. David Williamson

    If Paul Ryan wants this budget passed, he should run for President and sign it himself :-)

  17. David Limbaugh
    C
    Peter Robinson

    Of course I have concerns and am not sure I’m right. You say the people have a limited capacity for fighting. Well, who are the people? I think some do. I think the people who will be most influential, especially on our side, are ready for a fight. They are fighting for the future of the country. This is different than anything we’ve ever faced in our lifetimes. If Democrats have more endurance for fighting — persevering — than we do, then we’ll lose. I can assure you they have no intention of abandoning any fight. This is very complex. It depends on how this thing is successfully spun, and by whom — what narrative prevails. I just believe, based on observing the 2006 situation and beyond, that many conservatives have just about had it with the GOP. It doesn’t matter if you have or I have, but whether a bunch on our side have. From all your posts I don’t see any acknowledgment of potential negative consequences to the GOP from their throwing in the towel on the CR and I think those consequences could be darn near fatal — even if they shouldn’t be.

  18. cdor

     As I said yesterday in response to Mr. Limbaugh, http://ricochet.com/main-feed/My-Obscenely-Marathon-ified-Response-to-the-Evil-Peter-Robinson, it is time to move forward. What Ryan is bringing to the table is so far beyond the $30B dollar peanuts we will save in the six months left in the 2011 budget that it is not worth confusing the uninvolved citizen (about 60% of the population). 2011 is the Dems budget. Make that well known. Paul Ryan is putting forth the first Republican budget in 5 years, the 2012 budget. Let us focus on this much more important imperative. That being said, I cannot disagree with Kenneth. Ryan’s plan is a 10 year plan and it seems that only the Dems can find a way to keep the next Congress from changing the plan. That is a concern. Bottom line, Peter, I agree and until yesterday I did not.

  19. Nyadnar17

    Until today I to did not believe that the Republicans had the credibility with their base to survive caving on the 2011 budget and/or the debt ceiling. I think Paul Ryan’s plan is a game changer in that regards. Republicans are no longer in the position of asking their base to support them on a non-existent “good faith” they will do the right thing in 2012 if given the Presidency. They have a solid, real, budget plan, that while not a perfect path toward fiscal responsibility, is a perfect example of the types of changes Republicans would make if given full control.

    4-6 trillion dollars in cuts, a return to 2008 spending levels, linking government spending to GDP? Honestly what more were people hoping for before 2012?

  20. Stuart Creque

    reidspoorhouse: ” In fact I think that a government shutdown may backfire on the Dems?” I think a government shutdown will indeed backfire on the Dems – like the $787B “stimulus” did, like ObamaCare did. Obama and the Congressional Democrats, having no ideas of their own, have simply replayed the Clinton Administration, assuming that 2008 = 1992, and now, that 2011 = 1995. But, as Apple’s ad agency said when the Mac first hit the market, “see why 1984 isn’t going to be like ’1984′.”

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