Ryan's Budget Exposes Democrats' Bankruptcy Of Ideas
Posted 06:37 PM ET
Big Government: Whatever objections anyone might have to various details in Rep. Paul Ryan's bold new plan to cut $5 trillion of government waste, one fact trumps all else: Unlike Democrats, he offers solutions, not denial.
The one thing that stands out in the long-term budget plan unveiled Tuesday by House Budget Committee Chairman Ryan, R-Wis., is his acceptance of a fact Democrats want to hide:
You can't squeeze enough extra money out of the rich to pay for our endlessly expanding entitlement programs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Tax revenue over many decades has been relatively unchanging . And it will slam straight into the steep mountain of growing entitlements, with the crash and burn taking place in the late 2020s. Deny that and you might as well deny the law of gravity, too.
On Medicare, for instance, the Ryan plan points out what you never hear Democrats admit:
"Without reform, the program will end up causing exactly what it was created to avoid: millions of America's seniors without adequate health security and a younger working generation saddled with enormous debts to pay for spending levels that cannot be sustained."
Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" provides the parachute Democrats insist the country doesn't need.
"The Medicare recipient of the future would choose, from a list of guaranteed-coverage options, a health plan that best suits his or her needs."
Then Medicare would make a direct premium support payment to subsidize its cost, operating not unlike George W. Bush's Medicare prescription drug plan.
Sicker Medicare recipients "would receive higher payments if their conditions worsened; lower-income seniors would receive additional assistance to help cover out-of-pocket costs; and wealthier seniors would assume responsibility for a greater share of their premiums."
Prominent in Ryan's plan is job-generating tax reform. He would move toward a top individual income tax rate of 25%, cutting the seven current brackets to two, and setting the bottom rate at 10%; he repeals the odious Alternative Minimum Tax that targeted the super rich but increasingly burdens the middle class; and he slashes our highest-in-the-world corporate tax rate of nearly 40% to 25%.
An example of the Democrats' lack of ideas came in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's reaction. Applying Marxist Saul Alinsky's Rule 12 — "pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it" — Reid quipped that Republican-donor Koch brothers would like Ryan's plan.
Impending fiscal catastrophe demands political manliness, not sound bites and caricature. Ryan deserves kudos for putting $5 trillion where his mouth is.