There is no alternative to its long-term perspective and the squawkers know it.
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Ryan’s budget also restores federal revenues to their long-term, historical, postwar average at 18.3 percent of GDP. Even though federal revenue still nearly doubles over the next 10 years under Ryan’s budget, President Obama proposes in his budget to raise taxes by more than $3 trillion above that over the next 10 years. See further differences on taxes below.
So that is the issue framed for the American people by Ryan’s budget. Do we want to restore federal taxes and spending to their long-term, historical, postwar average over the last 70 years, under which America prospered to become the richest and mightiest nation in world history during that time? Or do we want to raise taxes to begin to finance exploding federal spending well above that long term, historical, postwar average, with government spending over the long run eventually reaching 100 percent of GDP?
The entire Republican Party can and should run on the Ryan budget this fall, framing the issue for the American people this way. I have no doubt how that will turn out, restoring the real, original, free and prosperous America, before it is too late.
Tax Reform and Entitlement
The second thrilling fundamental for conservatives in Ryan’s budget is that, unlike President Obama and the Democrats, indeed exactly the opposite of them, Ryan does provide the leadership for actually bipartisan tax reform and entitlement reform.
Ryan proposes to consolidate the current six individual income tax rates, ranging up to 35 percent, to just two rates of 10 percent and 25 percent. President Obama, by contrast, is already raising the top marginal tax rate at least to 45 percent under laws already enacted, even without any of the new tax increases he continues to propose in addition. Ryan has indicated the 10 percent rate would apply to families making less than $100,000 per year, with the 25 percent rate applying to families making over that, with sharply increased personal exemptions ensuring no tax increase for anyone from current law. But the actual parameters would be finalized based on what is necessary to make the reform revenue neutral. Ryan also proposes to reduce America’s corporate tax rate, now virtually the highest in the world, to 25 percent, which is roughly the international average. That is the minimum to restore international competitiveness for American businesses, and traditional American prosperity.
Ruth Marcus and E.J. Dionne separately attack Ryan in the Democrat party-controlled Washington Post for not specifying what deductions, credits, and loopholes he would close to make the reforms revenue neutral. Marcus, who is the most confused and uninformed writer on budget policy in America, writes, “If Ryan and his colleagues have a workable proposal to cut tax rates that dramatically without losing badly needed revenue, let’s see it. If not, they should stop dangling glittery, expensive promises without showing how they plan to deliver.”
That is an unworthy cheap shot, especially in the context of Democrat abdications. What Ryan has proposed is a budget resolution, not legislation. Marcus will get her details when the House Ways and Means Committee marks up and passes legislation, followed by passage by the entire Republican-controlled House.
Marcus may have forgotten how budget resolutions are supposed to work, because the Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to produce one for three years now, in violation of the law. She says “Ryan’s plan fails the basic test of responsibility,” but what has she or the Post said about the Democrat Senate’s gross irresponsibility in lawlessly failing to even consider let alone pass a budget? Moreover, neither President Obama nor any other Democrat has exhibited the leadership to even propose much needed tax reform to keep America internationally competitive, let alone specify what loopholes they would close.
Ryan begins entitlement reform by first proposing to repeal Obamacare, saving $1.6 trillion over the first 10 years alone. Fortunately, the Supreme Court is well on its way to taking care of that for him, as I predicted in this column months ago. More controversial are Ryan’s proposed Medicare reforms. DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz described those as “literally a death trap for seniors.” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Ryan’s reforms would “change Medicare as we know it.”
But it was Obamacare that already changed Medicare as we know it, transforming it literally into a death trap for seniors. Obamacare cut Medicare payments to doctors and hospitals by $500 billion in the first six years alone, adding up to trillions over the long run. Obamacare also established the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), an unelected, appointed body with the power to adopt still more Medicare cuts as it deems necessary. Those cuts would become effective without further congressional action.
Such draconian Medicare cuts would create havoc and chaos in health care for seniors. Doctors, hospitals, surgeons and specialists providing critical care to the elderly such as surgery for hip and knee replacements, sophisticated diagnostics through MRIs and CT scans, and even treatment for cancer and heart disease will shut down and disappear in much of the country, and others would stop serving Medicare patients. If the government is not going to pay, then seniors are not going to get the health services, treatment, and care they expect.
Indeed, Medicare’s Office of the Actuary reports that even before these cuts already two-thirds of hospitals were losing money on Medicare patients. Health providers will either have to withdraw from serving Medicare patients, or eventually go into bankruptcy.
Contrary to the childish silliness of Wasserman Schulz and Carney, Ryan’s Medicare reforms would simply extend the popular and successful policies of Medicare Parts D and C to Medicare Parts B and A.
Medicare Part D is the prescription drug program. Just like Ryan’s proposed Medicare reforms, Part D provides premium support payments to seniors, which they use to purchase the private prescription drug coverage of their choice. Because of the private market competition, and incentives for seniors to choose lower cost plans, Part D costs have run 41 percent below projections. Compare that to Parts A and B, which by 1990 cost 10 times the original projections for that year when the program was adopted.
Medicare Part C is Medicare Advantage, under which nearly 25 percent of seniors have already chosen private insurance to provide all of their Medicare coverage. Seniors believe they get a better deal through this highly popular program due to choice and competition.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?