Path to Prosperity
It wasn’t exactly a surprise, given that the House did exactly the same thing last month, but the Senate yesterday unanimously rejected President Barack Obama’s budget for FY 2013. Unfortunately, the Senate also rejected other budget proposals that would, unlike Obama’s budget, put the country back on a stable fiscal path:
The US Senate unanimously rejected President Barack Obama’s proposed 2013 budget Wednesday and shot down a series of Republican alternatives, assuring a prolonged election-year fiscal battle.
The Democratic-controlled chamber has not adopted in three years a budget resolution, which lays out spending and revenue targets for the year ahead, and Republicans repeatedly highlight the fact as they hammer Obama’s administration for failing to take a proactive approach to fiscal responsibility.
The Senate voted 99-0 against Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget request, with Democrats stressing that the vote was unnecessary because lawmakers wrote spending caps into a deal agreed last summer to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
In March, the House of Representatives rejected Obama’s budget proposal in a 414-0 vote.
I’ll admit that it’s a gimmicky for Republicans to bring Obama’s budget to the floor for a voter, but it’s telling that Democrats aren’t willing to get behind Obama’s proposal because it’s politically toxic. But not only does this provide Republicans with a talking point for the Senate’s failing to pass a budget in three years, it also allows them to note that Obama’s budget did not receive a single vote in both chambers of Congress.
Much like the 2010 mid-terms, the budget deficit will be an issue that we’ll hear a lot about leading into the fall. In a speech yesterday in Iowa, Mitt Romney gave us a taste of what to expect as he slammed President Barack Obama for his spending spree:
Mitt Romney today said he would lead Americans out of President Obama’s “debt and spending inferno,” warning a crowd that the country faces a financial crisis that “threatens what it means to be an American.”
Romney spoke today in the very room where he stood on the night of the Iowa caucuses in January, the candidate’s first trip to the state since then, this time no longer focused on the close results at the polls but instead solely on President Obama, whom he accused of “feeding” rather than “putting out” what he dubbed the “spending fire.”
“A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and across the nation and every day that we fail to act that fire gets closer to the homes and the children we love,” said Romney. “Now you know also that this is not solely a Democrat or Republican problem. The issue isn’t who deserves the most blame. The issue is who is going to do what it takes to put out the fire. Now the people of Iowa and America have watched President Obama nearly four years now. Much of that time, with Congress controlled by his own party. And rather than putting out that spending fire, he’s been feeding it.”
“He has spent more and borrowed more. The time has come for a president, a leader, who will lead. I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno. We will stop borrowing unfathomable sums of money we can’t even imagine from foreign countries we’re never even going to visit,” said Romney. “I will work with you to make sure we put out this spending and borrowing fire.”
During the last couple of years, Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposals have come under heavy fire from President Barack Obama and Democrats due to modest cuts to spending on social programs. Last May, Newt Gingrich characterized Ryan’s budget as “right-wing social engineering,” a line that many on the Left are now using to tear down Republicans.
Ryan has been pegged by some observers as a devotee of Ayn Rand, a philosopher who developed a moral defense of capitalism in her essays and books — such as The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. However, Ryan outright rejected Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism, in an interview with Robert Costa of National Review:
Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist, recently called Ryan “an Ayn Rand devotee” who wants to “slash benefits for the poor.” New York magazine once alleged that Ryan “requires staffers to read Atlas Shrugged,” Rand’s gospel of capitalism. President Obama has blasted the Ryan budget as Republican “social Darwinism.”
These Rand-related slams, Ryan says, are inaccurate and part of an effort on the left to paint him as a cold-hearted Objectivist. Ryan’s actual philosophy, as reported by my colleague, Brian Bolduc, couldn’t be further from the caricature. As a practicing Roman Catholic, Ryan says, his faith and moral values shape his politics as much as his belief in freedom and capitalism does.
As you know, earlier this week President Barack Obama launched into a rather odd attack on the Supreme Court as they consider overturning ObamaCare. But he also attacked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and House Republicans over the recently passed budget proposal, channeling comments made by former Speaker Newt Gingrich last May:
President Barack Obama on Tuesday will shred the House GOP budget as a “Trojan horse” built around radical right-wing, “thinly veiled social Darwinism” and the makings of a renewed recession.
That’s the message he’ll take to The Associated Press’s annual luncheon in Washington, according to prepared remarks provided by the White House: The plan written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is directly opposed to the message of economic fairness he’s been pushing since late last year.
“It’s antithetical to our entire history as a land of opportunity and upward mobility for everyone who’s willing to work for it — a place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, but grows outward from the heart of the middle class,” Obama will say of Ryan’s budget, drawing on the same themes he touched on in his December speech in Osawatomie, Kan., and his State of the Union address in January. “[B]y gutting the very things we need to grow an economy that’s built to last — education and training; research and development — it’s a prescription for decline.”
With polls in Wisconsin showing Mitt Romney with a healthy lead headed into tomorrow’s primary, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson, both respected conservatives, have endorsed the former Massachusetts Governor in hopes to put him over the top.
Ryan, whose “Path to Prosperity” has become the budget blueprint for House Republicans, endorsed Romney on Friday:
“Who will make the best president? And who has the best chance of defeating Barack Obama? … In my opinion, Mitt Romney is clearly that person,” Ryan said on “Fox & Friends.” “I am convinced that Mitt Romney has the skills, the tenacity, the principles, the courage and the integrity to do what it takes to get America back on track.”
Asked if this was a message he has conveyed to Rick Santorum, Ryan, whose budget plan passed the House on Thursday, said he is planning on speaking to the former Pennsylvania senator later on Friday.
“I’m just convinced now, that if we drag this thing on until summer, it’s going to make it that much harder to defeat Barack Obama this fall,” he added. “The more we drag it out, the harder it is to win in November.”
Johnson, a part of the 2010 Tea Party class who has become a strong voice on health care, announced his support of Romney yesterday during a visit to Meet the Press:
Johnson announced the endorsement on MSNBC’s Meet the Press (MTP), according to a Sunday morning tweet from MTP executive producer Betsy Fischer.
While President Barack Obama’s budget went down in flames in the House on Wednesday evening — though introduced by Republicans since no Democrat apparently would carry it, Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal cleared the House yesterday:
By a mostly party-line vote, the House of Representatives approved Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” budget resolution today by a count of 228-191, slashing trillions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade, but inflaming Congressional Democrats for proposing controversial reforms to programs like Medicare.
Ryan’s budget blueprint claims less than $5 trillion relative to the president’s budget proposal, and spends $3.5 trillion less over 10 years than the current spending levels. It also brings deficits below 3 percent of GDP by 2015. It would raise $2.73 trillion in tax revenue in 2013, leaving a $800 billion projected deficit for 2013 compared to $3.53 trillion in budget outlays.
Zero Democrats supported the proposal while 10 Republicans voted against it.
You can view the vote here.
Over the last few days, there has been a lot of talk about Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget proposal for FY 2013. Democrats are, as you might imagine, slamming it at every turn they get, claiming the spending cuts are too deep. However, many conservatives and Tea Party activists are skeptical over it because it doesn’t cut spending enough to bring the country back on a sustainable path quickly enough.
Veronique de Rudy, a research fellow at the Mercatus Center, compares both Ryan’s budget and the spending proposed by President Barack Obama and finds a marginal difference:
At $3.53 trillion in total spending, the Ryan plan is only 5 percent less than the president’s. Where the Ryan plan projects an annual average growth of projected spending from 2013 to 2022 at 4 percent, the president’s plan projects it at 5 percent.
Of the $5 trillion in savings in the Ryan plan’s 10-year spending projections, compared to Obama’s, $352 billion would come from discretionary programs, $2.5 trillion from so-called entitlements, and $514 billion from interest costs.
Apart from a modest reduction in spending for Medicare and Medicaid, the only significant difference between the two plans is the anticipated repeal of the 2010 health care law. Social Security ($10.5 trillion) and funds for the “global war on terrorism” ($500 billion) are left untouched in both plans.
Cumulative spending over the next 10 years under both the Ryan plan ($40 trillion) and the White House plan ($45 trillion) pale in comparison to the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of $47 trillion—an estimate based on historical spending patterns and realistic assumptions about laws that are set to expire.
Jeremy has already discussed this today, but it’s worth bringing back up. While defending — or at least attempting to defend — President Barack Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposal last week before the House Budget Committee, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said something very profound to Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).
The two were going over the proposal, with Geithner insisting that the budget, which includes steep tax hikes, would stablize deficits over the next 10 years. However, Ryan noted that the 10-year budget window in Obama’s plan doesn’t at all address long-term budget issues with Medicare and Social Security, showing this chart as his proof:
You can see, following Obama’s budget, that the national debt does indeed stablize for a short time; but again, it goes out of control in subsequent years. Ryan was quick to point out that his own budget plan, the Path to Prosperity, addresses the national debt and unfunded liabilities from entitlements head on, pointing Geithner to this chart:
Realizing that he had no real response for bringing an unsustainable budget before Congress, Geithner to Ryan, “You are right to say we’re not coming before you today to say ‘we have a definitive solution to that long term problem.’ What we do know is, we don’t like yours.” At least he’s honest.
Yesterday, Stephen Slivinski wrote a excellent piece on how Newt Gingrich betrayed conservatives in the 90’s on issues ranging to budget battles and intra-caucus politics. The long and the short of it is that the Republican Revolution succeded not because of Gingrich, but in spite of him.
There has been a conservative alternative presented by the current crop of House Republicans. Though it may not be perfect, it represents a clear, distinct alternative to the agenda of President Barack Obama, who is trying to expand entitlements and domestic spending as much as possible.
As you no doubt remember, Gingrich knocked Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan back in May during an appearance on Meet the Press; calling it “right-wing social engineering.” This set off a fire storm against the former Speaker that led many to believe his candidacy was dead in the water.
And during a interview last week with Coffee & Markets, Gingrich may have again stepped in some controversy regarding Ryan and his budget. Here is the relevant part of the interview (emphasis mine):
C&M: You know, in terms of your critique of sort of the dangers of forcing people into this, of making it mandatory, I certainly agree with you. But isn’t the problem with that sort of an approach that you don’t have predictability when it comes to the costs of the program in the future? And if you could explain to us, I’d love to hear it, why you’re confident that a public option versus a private option in Medicare will bring these costs down.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) put out a new video yesterday explaining why higher taxes isn’t the answer to our economic problems and pitches the need for reforming the tax code by closing tax loopholes and lowering tax rates, which will in turn encourage job creation and make our economy more competitive: