Ryan budget plan: new opportunity

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-1), contender in the Vice Presidential debate
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Before the Ryan budget plan, putative President Barack Obama appointed the Simpson-Bowles Commission. Obama then threw their report away. Today the leaders of that commission hail Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). They say he tells the cold, hard truth.

Simpson and Bowles on Paul Ryan

Former Senator Alan K. Simpson (R-WY) and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles ran the Simpson-Bowles (Debt) Commission. Barack Obama named them to that job. Chris Stirewalt at Fox News recalls how that mission ended. The commission had 18 members, including Paul Ryan. Had 14 of them voted for a common plan, both Houses of Congress would have voted on it at once. But only 11 commissioners voted for the plan. Paul Ryan voted no. He did not like the plan’s details on Medicare and taxes. But several liberal Democrats voted no, also. The plan would change Social Security in fundamental ways. Ways those liberal Democrats did not like.

Obama could have pushed the Congress to pass a Simpson-Bowles bill in lame-duck sessions. Or failing that, he could have embarrassed a Republican House in 2011. He did neither. He walked away, too. Did Obama not like the Social Security changes? Possibly. Obama today seems to want nothing better than to make as many people dependent on government as he can.

Today, Simpson and Bowles both thought back on their failed mission. Neither man blames Paul Ryan for anything. Last fall, Bowles said this at the University of North Carolina:

…the [Ryan budget plan] is just like Paul Ryan. It is a sensible, straightforward, honest, serious budget. It cut the budget deficit just like we did, by $4 trillion.

And as for Obama:

The [putative] president came out with his own…budget. I don’t think anybody took that budget very seriously.

This afternoon, Alan Simpson said much the same to Neil Cavuto, host of Fox News Channel’s Your World program. Tomer Ovadia at Politico recalls what Simpson said. Simpson praised Paul Ryan for “[speaking] hard truth against fakery.” He hopes that Paul Ryan will revive the old plan that he and Bowles put forward. Sadly, Simpson knows that Congress will do nothing until after the election.

These guys will do nothing, either party, nothing, just B.S. and mush, the whole way through. Then, between Nov. 6 and Dec. 31, they’re going to be really mucking around in 5 to 7 trillion bucks of quicksand.

And then Congress will have to do something, and fast.

The Ryan budget plan attacks the debt

Debt as a share of the economy. From the Ryan budget plan document.

Debt as a share of the economy. Sources: Office of Management and Budget and Congressional Budget Office. Cited in the Ryan budget plan.

The Ryan budget plan document doesn’t talk about this relatively ancient history. But it does mention something far more recent that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said:

We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to our long-term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.

Tim Geithner really said that to the House Committee on the Budget, with Paul Ryan holding the gavel. That’s all the Obama administration can say. They have never submitted a budget that got any support. But the Senate has not passed any budget at all since Obama took office.

Somebody better say something else. The Ryan budget plan file has this graphic showing national debt as a share of the US economy. America already owes as much as the whole economy. America hasn’t owed that much since the Second World War. The red part of the graph tells the story. The debt burden will only get heavier unless Congress does something else.

The Ryan budget plan is one idea for something else. Ryan describes it boldly at every stop. As he should.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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