Partisan politics aside, the great majority of the American people sense that government spending and taxation are out of control. Fortunately, there is a fiscally conservative budget choice available in the 2012 budget proposal recently released by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.
A chart appeared the April 18 edition of The Weekly Standard with an article titled: “The Radical Gradualism of Paul Ryan — The status quo is far more ‘extreme’ than the Republican budget.”
The article, by Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, is worth reading. But the chart, showing rapidly rising debt on our current path versus a decline under Rep. Ryan’s plan, says it all.
In summary, Rep. Ryan’s budget is fiscally conservative and extremely reasonable compared to the radically extreme status quo. Ryan proposes to have the federal government spend $5.8 trillion less over the next decade than under the Obama tax-and-spend plan. He would reduce accumulated deficits by more than $4 trillion over the same period.
Ryan’s plan would quickly begin to reduce the size of the federal debt relative to the economy and would begin to pay off principal by: (1) reducing domestic discretionary spending; (2) reforming the tax code to broaden the base and lower rates; (3) initiating block grants for federal welfare programs, including Medicaid, to the states; (4) repealing Obamacare; (5) privatizing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; (6) cutting back farm subsidies and corporate welfare; and (7) reforming Medicare for those under 55 from an open-ended entitlement into a system of premium supports to subsidize the purchase of private insurance.
The Obama status quo budget increases the national deficit and hastens a national fiscal calamity. Levin writes: “The explosion in domestic spending in recent years, the looming collapse of our health care entitlements, and the resulting crushing burden of debt have jointed into a perfect storm. The national debt has doubled in the past decade, and the Congressional Budget office projects it will double again in this decade and continue to balloon to unprecedented levels.”
Americans sense that we risk an economic meltdown if we stay on this tax-and-spend course. Not only is our economy at risk, our individual freedom also is at risk. History reveals what happens when governments such as the Weimar Republic in Germany engage in the national nightmare of deficit spending, devaluation and hyperinflation. This must not happen in America where only 100 senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices, representing 545 individuals out of a population of 300 million, are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility, providing for our common defense and promoting our general welfare.
This should not be a partisan issue; this is an American issue, because it is one that will affect every American citizen. It just happens that Paul Ryan, a conservative Republican, has been able to articulate a fiscal path to help us all avoid the destruction of our financial system as well as to help preserve the unique political and economic freedoms that Americans have every right to expect from their elected representatives — be they Republican, Democrat or independent.
Passage of Rep. Ryan’s budget, combined with the aggressive development of domestic energy resources, will help to control government spending and taxation, restore confidence in our political and economic systems, and secure the blessings of our individual liberty.
Hayes Gahagan is a former state senator from Aroostook County and member of the Committee on Appropriations and Financial Affairs. He is a businessman and serves as chairman of the Aroostook County Republican Committee.