Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Politics

The Challenge Of Obama

I saw Paul Ryan's first response to yesterday's speech by Obama.  Ryan was angrier than I'd ever seen him, and his response (which seemed to have been composed in haste) wasn't that effective.  It doesn't do Ryan much good to call out Obama for partisanship.  I doubt any persuadable population would be won over by one politician saying that some other politician is acting like a stereotypical politician.  Ryan would be better off taking Obama on over what the President said he plans and the likely consequences of Obama's to take on the drivers of increasing debt. 

1.  He proposed one trillion dollars in tax increases, and that doesn't even begin to deal with the long-term problems caused by Social Security and Medicare.

2.  He proposed large cuts to defense.

3.  He called for bureaucrat-directed cuts to Medicare.  Not only will less money be spent on Medicare, but the Obama administration will tell you what services you get less of rather than putting you in a position of choosing the package of services you would prefer (and either paying for other services yourself or having more disposable income.) 

4.  He has specific calls to raise taxes but only vague suggestions about how to cut discretionary spending and those cuts are only planned to happen after he is reelected.  This from a guy who just fought tooth and nail to prevent a 38 billion dollar cut to discretionary spending in the face of a threat of a government shutdown.  If Obama is reelected you can bet he will discover that the money he had promised to cut was now needed to win the future.

5. Even with the tax increases, defense cuts, and the bureaucrat-directed Medicare cuts - and even taking his discretionary spending cut promises at face value - Obama's budget still reduces the deficit by 400 billion fewer dollars than Paul Ryan's Path To Prosperity over the next ten years and still doesn't head off the ruinous increase in entitlement spending in the out years.  Obama's plan isn't only inadequate for the medium term, it puts us back in the position of having to make far sharper tax increases and/or spending cuts, but from a position of being a higher tax, more government-run country with a weaker defense establishment.

I haven't even gotten to the worst part yet.  Obama's tax increases and bureaucrat-directed Medicare cuts are a down payment on the middle-class tax increases and far larger government-directed Medicare service cuts that are to come if Obama is reelected.  This is the key to the argument that will take place over the next year.  Obama's budget promises are a cover for a long-term agenda that means higher taxes for everybody and greater government control over the disbursement of medical services.  There is room for disagreement over the details, but we face two broad choices.  Our first choice is a sustainable entitlement system that focuses on protecting the poorest and sickest of the elderly and a market-oriented health care reform that allows us to buy more and better health care services for our money.  Our second  choice involves huge and broad tax increases, and the government denying health care services whenever and however government bureaucrats. decide .

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