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  • On the Budget: Ryan 40, Obama Zip, Senate Dems—No Show

    In just about any contest, a score of 40–0 is a pretty impressive trouncing. In football, that’s five touchdowns, a field goal, and a safety—think Ohio State versus Northern Virginia Community College. In baseball it’s almost beyond belief. Ditto basketball. Yet that was the score yesterday in the United States Senate battle between budget offered by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R–WI) and that presented by President Obama.

    The Washington spin on this could be that the Democrats were united, while Republicans suffered five defections from the ranks. Of course, the trouble is that the Democrats were united in opposition to their own President, while the Republican defections meant they held 89 percent of their membership, and one of the defections, Senator Rand Paul (R–KY) thought the Ryan plan did not go far enough.

    There were two other votes held that day on the budget, neither of which garnered a majority. The Senate considered the Paul proposal, which took an even more aggressive approach to spending, and one offered by Senator Pat Toomey (R–PA), which featured more aggressive immediate cuts while leaving the big issues like Medicare and Social Security for another day.

    Notice the missing link in this slate of options: Where was the budget offered by Senate Democrats? They proved their unanimous dislike of the President’s budget. They proved they know how to vote “nay.” But where was their budget? Once again, budgetary bluster gave way to a great big senatorial no-show.

    They need not have agreed on a budget. They could, like the Republicans, offer up two or three for debate. Senators are, after all, proud of being members of the worlds greatest deliberative body. Instead, they contented themselves with voting against every alternative while shamelessly demogoguing serious efforts to save Medicare.

    Medicare is one of the government’s most critical programs. It is also a disaster financially, bearing down on the nation with all the certainty the passage of time and demographics can muster. The chant from liberals is that reformers like Ryan want to “end Medicare as we know it.” Candygram to liberals: Medicare as we know it has already ended, the die already cast, the epitaph already written in every Medicare trustees report.

    The issue is: What next for Medicare? The Ryan plan is a serious attempt to ensure that Medicare is available for seniors at costs the nation can afford. It builds on a long and bipartisan tradition in support of a personal choice/premium support model whereby seniors receive direct financial support to buy health insurance from the private sector.

    Buying private health insurance sounds radical to some but not to most seniors today. Ever hear of Medigap? Or the new drug benefit called Medicare Part D? Or Medicare Choice, also known as Part C? The details may vary, but the core of the Ryan plan will likely be the reform that some President someday signs into law.

    The trouble for liberals is that the Ryan approach would mean the end of any hope to foist a single-payer health care system onto the American people, and however preposterous the notion, liberals are not quite ready to give up that dream just yet. The shame for the Senate Democrats is that they refuse to even suggest an alternative to the Ryan approach.

    America’s fiscal troubles include Medicare but go well beyond Medicare. Government has gotten too big and threatens to get much bigger. The Heritage Foundation recently released its own plan to get government spending under control and invigorate the economy for the long haul.

    Called “Saving the American Dream,” the Heritage plan brings spending down to 18.5 percent of the economy (the traditional level of tax receipts), balances the budget within 10 years and keeps it balanced, and steadily reduces the nation’s debt burden. It achieves these goals by detailing reforms to Medicare similar to those offered by Paul Ryan and then takes on the rest of the budget with equal vigor.

    The central philosophy guiding the spending reforms in “Saving the American Dream” is to identify those activities that are proper for the federal government to perform—such as paying the interest on the debt, national security, and ensuring a robust social safety net for those at risk—and cutting and often ending most everything else.

    America must never turn its back on those who lack the resources to sustain themselves at a reasonable quality of life. But we must also break the habit of attempting to provide benefits of one form or another for everybody else whether they need them or not. There is no good reason for taxing the American people more heavily just so government can shuffle the funds back with bows attached.

    America also needs a better tax system, one that allows individuals and families to save without penalty so they can prepare adequately for emergencies and future needs while building their own retirement security and bettering the futures of future generations. The tax system should also eliminate the disincentives facing businesses to invest today to grow and compete tomorrow. It should eliminate the distortions that misdirect the investments that are made.

    And the tax system should be as simple as possible so taxpayers need not spill blood, sweat, and tears filing out tax forms and so they can be more confident that the tax burden they pay is on par with that of their neighbors. “Saving the American Dream” includes just such a tax reform proposal.

    The Heritage plan was released yesterday along with five others from organizations across the political spectrum in an effort launched by the Petersen Foundation. Each organization’s plan reflected its vision for fixing America’s problems. Collectively, they offer a unique opportunity to compare and contrast the real choices the nation faces.

    Even the Roosevelt Institute Campus Network, a national student initiative run by college students engaged in “progressive activism,” was able to offer up a plan. If a group of bright college students working with more diligence than expertise can offer up a plan worthy of inclusion alongside The Heritage Foundation, the Bi-Partisan Policy Center, and the Economic Policy Institute, why could Senate Democrats not do as much? Where is their plan for the nation’s future? As President Clinton remarked at yesterday’s Petersen Foundation event, “We’ve got to deal with these things. You cannot have health care devour our economy.”

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to On the Budget: Ryan 40, Obama Zip, Senate Dems—No Show

    1. Michael Pacholek, Ea says:

      It wasn't Republicans 40, Democrats 0, it was No 57, Yes 40. You people lost, and deservedly so. You had your Bull Run and your Fredericksburg. Welcome to Gettysburg. Appomattox is coming in November 2012.

    2. Roger S., Mass. says:

      This comment can be kept short: Senate Democrats are what they are: a disgrace — mostly to themselves.

      Their "fearless leader", Chief Harry from Nevada is worse than a disgrace: a spiteful and irresponsible little old man holding up — well, everything.

      Not a way to "run a rail-road", much less a country!

    3. Bobbie says:

      One thing democrats show us we can depend on them for, DERELICTION! Not worth a penny of their pay or authority to force our obligation! Good at fear mongering, problem making and finding anything they can to hold America back! DFL- Derelict for life…Doot dee doo.

      Just think how far America would be if democrats got out of the way!

    4. Ed, Indiana says:

      A balanced budget in ten years? We should have a balanced budget now and next year. If we did this we would not need to have negotiations on raising the debt ceiling. We could have negotiations on what spending will be included in a balanced budget. There was no budget from the last congess so everything could be cut to a level that could be sustained quickly.

    5. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Doctor Foster, I don't like the Income Tax because Income is funny money, half-money, the Producer hasn't been paid yet. Other than that I loved the Heritage Plan. I'm sure it cost money to create it, so thank you Heritage for your serious and responsible work. I am abaft that nobody cuts Medicare Costs by deflating Medical Practice. I have pointed up many times how the Cost of Doctoring is more Over Regulation than it is Doctor's Salaries. We have to do what is possible to do, politically, but the horrible fact is Medicine was Over Controlled to begin with! The price of Medicine went over the Moon decades ago! It never came down! It never came down, despite all the rainbow of promises, new technology and healthier lifestyles! Blah! Blah! Blah!

      This is serious now! The Economy is a National Defense Issue! You can't let a bunch of pansies from the Left Wing run American Governments over a cliff? Like what? "I didn't notice." It seems our DIS-loyal Opposition will move heaven and Earth to 'protect' Medicare! God knows! The Kloward Piven Scheme won't work without this crazy Bankruptcy! It scares me that in Upstate New York that stupid scare tactic worked! Yes, the Demo-crats are emboldened. Their whole strategy is to undermine American Representation, as 'Representatives' doing nothing! Hey! That's a Sacred Oath! Represent! The Constitution Commands You To Represent!

      This is such a simple strategy it goes over people's heads! Smart people! Obama leads from behind like a derelect jabbering into a mirror! What is most Amazing about the Obama Administration is all the work they are NOT DOING! So today it is No Budget from the Senate! So sure, Republicans 40 and Democrats 0, but you realize. Democrats ignore the facts. Like our Elementary Students never keeping score. The Democrats will make the Voters feel good about going under the Totalitarian Boot! "Perception is Reality" they say. Yeah sure. Obama has a grand strategy, "Just Walk Away" and the Government will fall.

    6. Renny, Maryland says:

      Anyone who votes "for" a debt increase must have their names publized, news media, Radio and TV. If they get away with this they WIN the whole ball of wax, our country!!!

    7. Beverly Kokomo India says:

      It took a long time to figure out that the Democrates hav leaned toward the Ubited stated becoming a sociaist Country. My parents were

      democrats and as in a lot of families whatever your parents were, the children usually folowed., When social security was first implemented, it was not meant to be used the way it is today. It should have been invested and the

      goverment should have kept their sticky fingers off of it. Both parties only think of their side of it and not want is best for us the people. All they think about are the perks they receive and to get elected again, Sit down and come to an agreement. Take the best of both parties ideas and let's get the pain over with. Yes I'm one of the many that figured my social securitiy into my retirement. But I want my Kids to be able to have something in the furture. I haven.nt seen a middle class politican in the White house for ever. Ther are common people out in tjhr general population that could do a much better job. Com on you money gabbers that think you rule the roost Get something done

    8. Randy131 in Florida says:

      Harry Reid refuses to let the Senate produce a budget proposal so they can then negotiate between the House's ideas and proposals from the postion of zero, which allows the Senate and Obama to have to cut much less spending, than if they had produced a plan, which would have had to have spending cuts to satisfy the American people's demands, and the fair negotiations between the two would have produced much more in spending cuts, something Harry Reid and Obama do not want.

      • Thank you a lot for sharing this with all folks you really recognize what you are talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also seek advice from my web site =). We may have a link change contract among us! north face

    9. Eric N., CA says:

      It is becoming a clear reality that maybe the government should use these budgets generated in the private sector by highly reliable and experienced people rather than doing it themselves. One, the private sector is made up of those paying these taxes and therefore have a vested interest, and two, they seem to be able to get the job done and in a timely fashion. The democrats have not lifted a finger to complete a budget in almost 2 years. Why then, would any sane individual or individuals use anything that would possibly and eventually come from them? And, when the republicans offer forth a budget that does what the "People" need and want of their government, the democrats shoot it down so dang fast it makes one's head spin. This seems to be quite possibly a better way of getting the job done. How it could ever be done in the private sector without interference from the thuggery that is out there may be quite a challenge, but it still may be something worth thinking about. Heritage Foundation took it upon themselves to do what our big fancy government couldn't and wouldn't. Interesting…

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    12. Robert Inks says:

      Lets try a different tack. Take all the money left in the medicare fund and pay down the debt. THEN, since it will be bankrupt, we can either repair it or make up somethig different. Why get everyones hopes up with procrastination, DO IT NOW and save money in the long run.

      I have a question: The Rail Road Workers don't pay into SS. How is their retirement fund doing and has the government ever "borrowed" money from them?

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