Saturday, April 9, 2011

The GOP's Path to Prosperity

As our national debt spirals out of control, there seems to be very few in our Federal Government who are willing to take responsibility for it. The debt has gotten so bad that I don't think there's anyone in the government who would argue that it doesn't need to be addressed. Unfortunately, as demonstrated during the recent debates that nearly shut down the government, the Democrats in Congress aren't serious about cutting the deficit. The Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid (D., Nev) is probably the worst of the lot. Reid is so clueless that he thinks Federal dollars should be spent on things like cowboy poetry festivals and that Social Security doesn't need to be addressed for another 20 years. The video below, which specifically discusses Obamacare, may give a better idea about the effect that entitlement spending (e.g., Social Security, Medicare) will have on our budget within significantly less than 20 years:

Reid and his ilk are behaving like spoiled children who don't seem to fully understand that their toys and activities cost money that mommy and daddy just don't have anymore (cowboy poetry festivals?). And yes, I am including the Bush-era Republicans that started the current spending spree in my blanket condemnation (although they were frugal compared to the Obama-era Congress). The current crop of Democrats seems to understand that they can't spend money like this forever, but they a) don't have the guts to actually do the cutting and to potentially anger the equally spendthrift special interest groups that helped to elect them in the first place (how angry will they be when there's simply no money?) and b) their financial policies are so wrong-headed (e.g., the Stimulus) that it's obvious that many in Congress don't actually know how economics work. Keynesian economic theory, wherein the Federal Government attempts to stimulate the economy through massive deficit spending, has never worked. Supply-side economics, on the other hand, have worked brilliantly under both John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan (see Larry Schweikart's and Michael Allen's A Patriot's History of the United States). However, supply-side economics are disdained by the Left because they require that tax cuts be extended to corporations and the wealthy (i.e., those who actually produce jobs and economic growth), which is contrary to the Left's dogma of fomenting class-envy.

Fortunately, there are a few adults in Congress; Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the chairman of the House Committee on the Budget, has proposed the Path to Prosperity. The plan is an attempt to rein in Federal spending and to put America back on a sound financial footing. Ryan knows exactly where the blame for the deficit belongs:
The U.S. government is not running sustained deficits because Americans are taxed too little. The government is running deficits because it spends too much.
Since the Path to Prosperity would actually change the way the Federal Government does business, the party of the status quo (i.e., the Democrats) have done nothing but villify the GOP in general and Ryan in particular (see here and here). Democrats shriek that Ryan's plan would "end Medicare as we know it" (Medicare? You mean the program that's headed towards bankruptcy if it isn't altered?) and that it would "literally be a death trap for seniors" (if implemented the plan wouldn't affect the benefits of those over age 55, plus Social Security is in the same leaky boat as Medicare). They complain that it would be "a road to riches for big oil" (are Congressional Democrats even capable of making an argument that isn't based on class-envy?). Other than increase oil drilling (and thus reduce our dependence on foreign oil), oil companies would only benefit as much as every other company since Ryan's plan would lower the industrial world's highest corporate tax rate.

So, other than vilifying those who are actually working on a way to save our children and grandchildren from monstrous debt, what is the Congressional Democrats' plan to address the deficit? Well, they don't actually have one. The closest thing they've got is a vague notion to increase taxes, especially on those eeeeevil rich people who have the nerve to create jobs and pay most of the taxes (yet another plan based on class-envy; does the Left have any imagination?). Yes, the Democrats actually think that a nation can tax itself into prosperity; I dare anybody to show me a time when this has actually worked. Of course, when you tax the people and companies that make jobs, you decrease the number of jobs they can make and you create disincentives for them to create economic growth, thus decreasing the amount of money you can squeeze out of them. This is a perfect example of the Law of Unintended Consequences; a principal which the Democrats in Congress refuse to understand.

Unfortunately, given that the Democrats cry over cutting a miniscule percentage of the budget, it's unlikely that Ryan's proposal will be written into law anytime soon. I have to agree with Ryan's statement:
[N]early every fiscal expert and advisor in Washington has warned that a major debt crisis is inevitable if the U.S. government remains on its current unsustainable path. The government’s failure to prevent this completely preventable crisis would rank among history’s most infamous episodes of political malpractice.
I recommend that everyone read Ryan's Path to Prosperity and that they encourage their political leaders to seriously consider its proposals. Certain political leaders, such as Harry Reid, may have to be "encouraged" by replacing them with those who are more serious about America's future.

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