As expected, the liberal response to Rep. Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget resolution has been vociferously negative. Rather than attack the plan on its merits, liberals have taken the easy way out by ignoring reforms and simply labeling everything a drastic cut.
To see just how disingenuous this type of political attack is just rewind to late 2009 when the debate over Obamacare was in full swing. President Obama was preaching the merits of his plan’s ability to “bend the cost curve” (this was obvious bunk) by enacting reforms in the health insurance market. But, following the same logic by which Democrats are attacking Ryan’s plan, Republicans could have labeled those “savings” that result from those “reforms” as huge cuts to the federal share of health spending.
Of course such a critique is nonsensical. Using that logic any plan that saves money could be labeled as a cut and demagogued as some heinous attack on _________ (insert applicable constituency here). Reforms, like Rep. Ryan’s, that result in savings aren’t the equivalent of “slashing budgets” or making “drastic cuts.” For Democrats to take the politically easy way out by suggesting otherwise shows just how weak a case they have against Ryan’s Path to Prosperity.
But even if we take their arguments at face value, even if we assume that Ryan’s “cuts” are incredibly deep, even if we fall into the trap of believing that Washington can’t shrink from its current bloated size without dramatically hurting Americans, then Democrats have done nothing but pull back the curtain on the unsustainable growth of the federal government over the past several decades.
Liberals are bemoaning that Ryan’s budget would spend $5.3 trillion less over the next decade than President Obama’s proposed budget. They then point out all the terrible effects this will have. The complaints range from the broad – “Medicare [would] wither on the vine,” said Nancy Pelosi, to the oddly specific – “There would be 3,092 more flight cancellations,” says the Third Way’s David Kendall, adding that “our weather forecasts would be only half as accurate.”
To Democrats passage of Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” is literally a death sentence for the role of federal government in society.
And yet despite all of the rhetoric that Ryan’s plan would rip health insurance from the hands of tens of millions of Americans, would effectively eliminate the federal government except for entitlements and defense, and would end Medicare as we know it, the budget still wouldn’t balance for nearly 20 years were it to be enacted.
That’s right, Rep. Ryan has offered a plan that would dramatically scale back the size of government, more comprehensive and thorough than anything the Democrats have even dreamed of, and it still doesn’t solve our deficit problem.
Or, as the liberal blog Firedoglake writes, “the targets for spending are at the impossibly small 20.25 percent for 2030, 18.75 percent for 2040 and 16 percent for 2050. . . But this also means that, for all the shrieking about balanced budget, even Ryan’s budget does not balance the budget 18 years from now, in 2030.”
In the course of just a few sentences liberals go from wailing about the depth of the spending reductions to jeering the plan for not achieving balance! Don’t they realize what an utter indictment of the current state of our budget that is!
Our fiscal problems run so deep and our government programs have grown so large that even a complete top-to-bottom overhaul of discretionary and mandatory programs does not achieve balance in ten years. And yet should Democrats have their way Washington would continue to ignore the problem. In fact, they’d make it worse by increasing spending (they’ll call it “investments”) on a variety of programs while doing nothing to slow the growth of Medicare or Social Security.
The Democrats plan is not only an abdication of leadership it is active malfeasance. And although Rep. Ryan’s plan is not perfect, it at least provides young adults with a glimmer of hope for a future without debt. So in the coming months, as liberals spout their extremist claims we should do everything we can to stand behind Paul Ryan, our future literally depends on it.