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Posts Tagged ‘paul ryan’


Paul Ryan on Tax Reform

   Posted by: Pat    in Budget/Economy, Congress   Print Print

Rep. Paul Ryan, who should do the country and a favor and run for President already, stars in this short and sweet video about how our current federal tax system is flawed and more importantly, how it can be fixed. Enjoy:

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The Washington Post chart above (H/T Cato) clearly lays out three key truths: 1. The United States government has a structural problem controlling it’s level of debt and spending 2. The growing size of the federal government and its debt has been a bipartisan affair 3. President Obama’s tenure has greatly exasperated America’s short and long term financial situation.

In 30 years the United States’ debt has increased from $1 trillion dollars to $14 trillion and if the chart continued into the projected future, well, you would have had to scroll even further down to read this. I may not be an economist or an expert on Congressional budgets, but I don’t have to be to know we are on the wrong track. The past few weeks we have constantly heard the President and numerous other political leaders strongly defend the status quo. Sure there is much talk about ‘cutting spending’, but where are the details?

We need much more than gimmicks and baseline budgeting tricks to solve our real problems. We need leaders to tackle the transparent challenge shown in the aforementioned chart and we just aren’t getting it from this White House and Senate. For gosh sakes, the US Senate has put a constitutionally mandated budget in over two years! Why haven’t they? It’s pretty simple: If you never take a stand, you never have to take responsibility. I’ll finish with the first and last entries on Congressman Paul Ryan’s (a man who put out a budget all by himself, are you listening US Senate?) timeline of the Obama administration’s financial stewardship:

January 20, 2009
President Obama sworn into office

  • President tells the American people in his Inaugural Address: “Those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.”
  • Debt Held By Public = $6.31 trillion


July 15, 2011
President Holds Press Conference: “We’re Running Out of Time” to Deal with Debt

  • President Obama tells reporters: “I’ve got reams of paper and printouts and spreadsheets on my desk, and so we know how we can create a package that solves the deficits and debt for a significant period of time.  But in order to do that, we got to get started now.”
  • The American people have still not seen any “paper” or “printouts” of what specific spending cuts the President supports.  The American people have still not seen any “spreadsheets” from the White House to corroborate their claims of having offered a deficit reduction plan.
  • While it’s long past time for Washington “to get started now” on tackling our debt problems, President Obama has still not proposed a credible budget, and Senate Democrats have still not proposed any budget.
  • Debt Held by Public = $9.75 trillion

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The President Refuses to Engage

   Posted by: FMFP    in Budget/Economy, health care   Print Print

Before the President delivered his much anticipated budget speech on Wednesday, my fellow GPP blogger asked, “Where are our leaders?” He’s right to ask the question, particularly after watching the President talk. For those looking for a detailed response to Cong. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, this was not the speech for you. The details were replaced with high-minded rhetoric about why government is needed to fix all of society’s ills and was basically just another campaign speech for Obama 2012.

The President also took the occasion to excoriate Mr. Ryan and his plan, claiming it will all but take food out of children’s mouths and kick grandma to the curb. Of course, Mr. Ryan graciously sat just a few feet away taking these blows because the President insisted he be there. And to think, this is the bipartisanship President Obama had in mind when he was talking about change.

Yesterday Mr. Ryan had a chance to respond to the President in the Washington Post. Here’s an excerpt:

“It [the GOP budget] offers a contrast in credibility. Unlike the president’s speech, which was rhetorically heated but substantively hollow, our budget contains specific solutions for confronting the debt and averting the most predictable crisis in our nation’s history. It also offers a contrast in visions. Unlike the speech, our budget advances a vision of America in which government both keeps its promises to seniors and lives within its means…

If you are someone who agrees with the president that we cannot avoid this outcome without resorting to large tax increases, know this: No amount of taxes can keep pace with the amount of money government is projected to spend on health care in the coming years. Medicare and Medicaid are growing twice as fast as the economy — and taxes cannot rise that fast without a devastating impact on jobs and growth.

If you believe that spending on these programs can be controlled by restricting what doctors and hospitals are paid, know this: Medicare is on track to pay doctors less than Medicaid pays, and Medicaid already pays so little that many doctors refuse to see Medicaid patients. These arbitrary cuts not only fail to control costs, they also leave our most vulnerable citizens with fewer health-care choices and reduced access to care.

And if you believe that we must eliminate waste, fraud and abuse in these programs, know this: Eliminating inefficient spending is critical, but the only way to do so is to reward providers who deliver high-quality, low-cost health care, while punishing those who don’t. Time and again, the federal government has proved incapable of doing that.”

Well said, Mr. Ryan. Now if only the President and Democrats would join the conversation.

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Where Are Our Leaders?

   Posted by: Pat    in Budget/Economy, health care   Print Print

Today we need a leader, not a politican or celebrity.

Senator Barack Obama in 2006 in reference to his ‘No’ vote on raising the debt limit:

The fact that we’re here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign — is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.

Senator Obama was right. Today, President Obama is set to make a speech outlining how he would lead the country through our mounting fiscal crisis. I have the word ‘lead’ italicized because so far as President, Barack Obama, has done everything but lead on this issue. Just a few months ago he put out a budget for the next ten years that featured more than a $1 trillion dollars of debt annually. He used the fiscal crisis to pass another unfunded and uncontrollable entitlement program at a time when our current ones were becoming untenable. This is a time for leadership and so far President Barack Obama has refused to lead. Let’s hope today that changes.

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Let’s All Agree, Medicare Needs Fixin’

   Posted by: FMFP    in Budget/Economy, health care   Print Print

Medicare is in serious trouble. This is not propaganda nor is this a secret. And this is also not a surprise. This is so for three very simple reasons. First, when Medicare was first created, the average American male was living into his 60’s and the average American female was living into her 70’s. Today, men are living into their 70’s and women are living into their 80’s and even 90’s. Second, when the program was created the Baby Boomers were just that – baby boomers. Today, they are retiring at a faster rate than there are young workers to support them.

Third, when Medicare was created its cost was expected to rise with inflation. It didn’t take long to realize how absurd this notion was, having grown at several times the rate of inflation for decades now. For example, at its inception in 1966, the program cost about $3 billion a year. The House Ways and Means Committee projected that in 1990 it would cost about $12 billion (a figure that accounted for inflation). What was the real price tag in 1990? $107 billion. And the out-of-control growth of the program has continued at a rapid rate. Today, the program consumes almost 15% of the federal budget. (Remember, this is separate from the additional funds spent on other big entitlements like Medicaid, SCHIP and of course, Social Security which have their own budget issues).

So it’s clear something needs to be done to alter the structure of the program. That is, if we are to have any faith that it will be around for us below 55 years old or that we will be able to honor its commitments to those over 55.

Unfortunately, for many Americans, it’s a struggle to get this far in the conversation.

Moreover, once we get this far, we have only just acknowledged the problem. The trickier part is what follows – the conversation over how to put the program on a sustainable path. This is what Cong. Ryan’s aggressive budget proposal tries to do and why he should be lauded. Ryan’s plan attempts to springboard the political discussion past the question of whether we have a Medicare problem and demands that legitimate participants in the discussion talk about actual solutions for the way forward.

I’ll save for another post an analysis of Ryan’s budget and the Medicare solutions on the table but first, it’s important that we all at least acknowledge what has been glaringly obvious for far too long – Medicare as currently structured is unsustainable.

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