by Jeffrey H. Anderson
On Sunday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan laid out the gist of his strikingly bold budgetary proposal. On Tuesday, he released his well-conceived plan in its entirety. On the day in between, President Obama launched his re-election campaign.
Whether Obama acted consciously in doing so, he seemed to sense — rightly — that this was the moment. For the release of Ryan’s proposed budget offers the American citizenry a clear and unavoidable choice: liberty and prosperity, or statism and insolvency.
We are $14 trillion in debt. According to White House projections, for every $4 that the federal government brings in this year, it will spend a little over $7. The White House also projects that mandatory spending (“autopilot” spending) alone will exceed total federal revenues for this year.
In other words, if we didn’t spend a dime on national defense, national parks, interstate highways, homeland security or any other discretionary programs, we still wouldn’t be able to make ends meet — let alone start to pay off any of the $14 trillion in debt we’ve already accrued.
In response to these dire fiscal circumstances, Obama has proposed a budget that would increase deficit spending by $1.2 trillion next year and by $9.5 trillion over the next decade — according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Over 10 years, his budget would raise our national debt to $28 trillion. (The debt was $9.9 trillion when Obama was elected.)
His budget offers no real entitlement reform. Instead, it would fund a colossally expensive (and intrusive) new entitlement: ObamaCare.
This profligate budget continues a trend:
• In actual dollars, deficit spending during Obama’s first three years will easily exceed the previous record for deficit spending for an entire presidency.
• In inflation-adjusted dollars, deficit spending in Obama’s first three years will easily surpass deficit spending for all of World War II.
• As a percentage of the gross domestic product, average annual deficit spending under Obama has more than doubled the average annual deficit spending under any other postwar president.
Compared with Obama’s budgetary proposal, Ryan’s budget would cut deficit spending by a whopping 46% — a savings of $4.4 trillion (according to the CBO). It would cut nonsecurity discretionary spending to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels and would set caps on that spending.
It would repeal ObamaCare. It would reform the tax code. It would seek to eliminate corporate welfare. It would block-grant Medicaid money to the states.
Ryan also proposes to reform Medicare, making it the same kind of premium-support program that is enjoyed by members of Congress, as the government would give future beneficiaries a choice of various plans and subsidize their costs.