Tag Archives: Paul Ryan

From the WSJ: “Republicans and Mediscare”

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 05:   U.S. Rep. Paul Ry...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

The reality is that Medicare “as we know it” will change because it must. The issue is how it will change, and, leaving aside this or that detail, the only alternatives are Mr. Ryan’s proposal to introduce market competition or Mr. Obama‘s plan for ever-tightening government controls on prices and care. Republicans who think they can dodge this choice are only guaranteeing that Mr. Obama will prevail.

via Review & Outlook: Republicans and Mediscare – WSJ.com.

Also, “Why Gingrich has no chance to win the nomination for the White House.”

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Could you say “President Ryan” in 2013?

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 05:  U.S. Rep. Paul Rya...

Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Rep. Paul Ryan is thinking about running for the soon to be vacated US Senate seat in his state.

I think he could do better. And so could America. We could draft him for the Presidency.

In truth, a presidential run makes a lot more sense for Ryan than does a Senate race. Ryan is already the de facto leader of the Republican Party on the most critical issues of the day. If he’s concerned about spending time with his family, what better way and better time (when they are little and not distressed teenagers thrown into the national spotlight) to bond with them than a family ad­ven­ture seeing America followed by a job where dad could work from home? While there are many potential candidates for the Wisconsin Senate seat, who among the current presidential contenders is really up to winning and then governing? A new poll shows a plurality of GOP voters don’t think any of them is. (“Some 45 percent now say they’re dissatisfied with the GOP candidates who have declared or are thought to be serious about running, up from 33 percent two months ago, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll. Just 41 percent are satisfied with the likely Republican field, down from 52 percent.”)

Further,

One Senate seat is not vital to the republic, but Ryan himself has made the case how critical it is to address our looming debt crisis now. Without the White House and without someone exceptionally capable to advocate for it, it’s hard to see how the “The Path to Prosperity” is ever going to be enacted. I’m at a loss to think of another Republican who can bring together Tea Partyers, wonks, social conservatives, hawks, libertarians, Wall Street and Main Street Republicans and connect with a new generation of Republicans.

In a very practical sense, the question for Ryan is: Why not give his party and the country six months (September 2011 to February 2012)? By then he’ll either have failed to catch fire or he’ll have a clear path to the presidential nomination. Six months. Twenty-four weeks. For a politician constantly at work in Congress, in town halls and in media appearances, that doesn’t sound like that much. (In fact, I would venture that his schedule is more rigorous now than the average presidential contender’s.)

You see, there is no good reason for Ryan to avoid a presidential run. Sometimes, if you don’t see the opening and seize it, a better one never comes along. Bill Clinton understood this in 1992.

via If Paul Ryan can run for Senate, why not for the presidency? – Right Turn – The Washington Post.

Take the opening, Representative. Take it.

For an earlier post where I have looked at Rep. Ryan’s work on the budget, check here.

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“Do what I say (pass my budget), not what I do (ignore your budget).”

Barack Obama - Caricature

President Barack Obama, Adult-in-Chief. Image by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…

Our federal government is on the verge of shutting down. And President Obama wants Congressional Republicans to do what he says (pass his budget), not what he does (ignore their budget).

The United States government doesn’t have a budget for fiscal year 2011, yet. If it doesn’t pass one by Friday, the government will shut down. This means, as others have pointed out, that we may see something like what happened in 1995 and 1996:

[I]t actually cost the government money in back wages, lost revenue from shut-down national parks and the local economies and businesses surrounding those parks. Not all government workers go on a mandatory vacation, either. Essential staff still stay on duty – FBI and TSA workers, VA hospitals and military bases stay open, as would the US Postal Service, the prez and his employees and all members of Congress.

So, naturally,with a shutdown threatening due to Congress’ and the President’s inability to work out a compromise, what do our elected leaders do? Get down to the thumb tacks, pound out a compromise that moves our country on the path to get out of debt, and works to lighten the load on Americans?

Nope. They trade insults.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday called on congressional leaders – especially Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) – to act like “grown-ups” and avert a government shutdown after they made no apparent progress in reaching a budget agreement at a White House meeting earlier in the day.

In response, Congressional Republicans said that they were going to take their toys and go home…

Oh, wait. No they didn’t. Rather, they released a plan to cut $6.2 trillion out of the budget over the next four years, including reducing the deficit by $4.4 trillion, a number three times the Administration’s (and, consequently, the amount that the Administration has added to the bottom line over the last few years).

Naturally, with Rep.Paul Ryan wonkishly talking policy and throwing around statistics, numbers, and budgets that save money, maintain retirement benefits, decrease our federal deficit, and, well, make sense, an insult was the best the President could come up with on the spur of the moment. After all, the upstart Congressman from Wisconsin is making him look bad.

Ironically, Rep. Ryan’s plan isn’t even considered to be that great. It’s just better than the President’s.

Politics is the realm of the possible, blah blah. Only in a government situation where we’re facing a shutdown on Friday and a debt limit squeeze around the same time – after a decade of completely bipartisan raids on fiscal sanity – can Ryan’s plan be considered the realistic plan.

It’s just better than the alternative.

From there, and by “there” I mean “a plan that cuts the deficit and salvages the future for our children,” the President decided to pull out the big guns: he accused the Republicans of partisanship because they want to include in the budget cuts cutting off funding for a few of the Golden Calves of the political left (Planned Parenthood, EPA, etc).

We can debate abortion and environmental regulation later. Right now, if we don’t get our fiscal house in order, it may not matter whether Planned Parenthood and the EPA keep federal handouts or funding, because entitlements are going to take over the budget completely.

MEANWHILE, in other news, the adults are busy coordinating President Obama’s reelection campaign…

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While the world watches, the world’s largest debtor quibbles…

“The longer Congress fails to act, the more we risk that investors here and around the world will lose confidence in our ability to meet our commitments and our obligations,” Geithner said in a letter to congressional leaders.

via Geithner warns U.S. to hit debt ceiling by May 16 | Reuters.

Meanwhile, in Congress:

A Republican budget plan due to be unveiled on Tuesday would cut $5.8 trillion from U.S. spending over the next 10 years, a congressional aide familiar with the proposal said on Monday.

The plan, which would take effect when the next fiscal year starts on Oct. 1, is expected to propose sweeping changes to the Medicare and Medicaid health programs, as well as hard caps on government spending and tax cuts.

via US Republican budget plan would cut $5.8 trln in 10 yrs.

That’s what I call a good start.

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When is $100 billion not enough?

When it’s non-security discretionary spending cuts from the budget. That’s when.

Then it’s just not solving the problem. It’s pandering for the press and for constituents.

The problem, and all the talk Washington, is the deficit and getting it back to a manageable level.  Republicans in an effort to keep campaign promises and reduce the deficit, are working on cutting $100 billion out of the budget. The problem is, what they are cutting is just non-security discretionary spending. The real cause of deficit growth–and the looming monster on the horizon–is entitlement spending (Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare) and interest payments on the federal debt. See, those two items will grow, under the Congressional Budget Office‘s projections, dramatically over the next decade. By 2024, tax revenues will not be enough to pay for the costs of entitlements and net interest payments.

Check it:

But isn’t $100 billion in cuts a good start? Yes…but no. It won’t affect the growth of entitlement spending a bit. Nor will it increase tax revenues (except perhaps to depress them) to pay for the growth in spending. Derek Thompson of The Atlantic likens it to a dentist telling you that you need to brush more or your teeth are going to fall out.

So you buy a toothbrush and you brush one tooth really really really hard for six months but leave the others untouched. By the time you return to the dentist, your teeth are all rotting except for one tooth that is so overbrushed, you’ve worn out the enamel.

Instead of helping your whole mouth, you end up hurting it, including the place you were focused so much. I don’t agree that discretionary spending cuts will hurt as much as that (such as, why does the federal government need to fund cowboy poetry?), but I do think they distract from the real problem that needs addressing–the cost our entitlements will levy on our country in the coming decade.

So why not work on entitlements instead of non-security discretionary spending? Why not stop chopping at the leaves and take the ax right to the trunk?

Because it’s hard and politically dangerous. The largest recipients of entitlement spending also tend to be regular and frequent voters. They are those who are in need. While polls tend to show that almost everyone agrees that cuts must be made, they also show that no one really wants to cut what they benefit from nor do they want the alternative of paying higher taxes.  And what rational congressman wants to go back to his district and tell them that he cut benefits to the poor, the elderly, or the sick?

Yeah. That’ll go over like a lead balloon.

Enter the dragon. Or rather, enter Rep. Paul Ryan, a Republican from

Paul Ryan (politician)

Image via Wikipedia

Wisconsin, and his planning to bring the budget back under control. He acknowledges that what he proposes–throttling back entitlement spending– may not necessarily help Republicans in the short-term.

“Is this a political weapon we are handing our adversaries? Of course it is,” Ryan said Thursday. “I think everybody knows that we are walking into I guess what you would call a political trap that arguably we are setting for ourselves … but we can’t wait. This needs leadership.

“If you just follow the polls, you are nothing but a follower,” Ryan said.

His budget is likely to shift the discussion from cutting discretionary spending to entitlement reform, something that President Obama notably left out of his budget when he proposed it to Congress.

While what exactly Ryan will propose is still unclear, and will be until April, it is speculated that the proposal will call for shifting Medicaid to block grants so as to limit how much growth can happen in a single year, as well as potentially a voucher system for Medicare recipients. Social security, the least problematic of the three, will probably remain untouched, for now (though, IMO, it’s still a payment I make every month that I’ll never see).

As long as voters vote for the short-term, we will all pay in the long-term.

Of course, as Keynes put it, rather without vision, “in the long run, we are all dead.”