Paul Ryan

Today in Liberty: Obama to escalate U.S. intervention against Syria, Labor unions want employers to pick up Obamacare costs

“The role of government is to strengthen our freedom — not deny it.” — Margaret Thatcher

— NSA whistleblower says he was trained as a spy: NBC News is teasing its interview with Edward Snowden with a clip of the NSA whistleblower explaining that he wasn’t simply a low-level hacker and technical analyst. “I was trained as a spy in sort of the traditional sense of the word, in that I lived and worked undercover overseas — pretending to work in a job that I’m not — and even being assigned a name that was not mine,” Snowden told Brian Williams. “So when they say I’m a low-level systems administrator, that I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’d say it’s somewhat misleading.” Snowden was employed by Booz Allen, a defense and intelligence contractor, when he obtained documents and information about the NSA’s domestic surveillance programs, but he also worked directly for the CIA. The Snowden interview, his first with an American television network, will air tonight on NBC at 10 pm.

Coalition to Reduce Spending blasts Paul Ryan’s budget hypocrisy

A nonpartisan group focused on reducing spending and the national debt has blasted Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) for having a “short-sighted view of the nation’s spending crisis” and “hypocrisy” for not putting defense spending under the same scrutiny as other parts of the federal budget.

Ryan penned an op-ed this week for Real Clear Defense in which he decried President Barack Obama and administration official’s “cuts” to the Defense Department and the military. The Wisconsin Republican argued that his budget “would change course,” spending “$274 billion more than the President’s request.”

Jonathan Bydlak, president of the Coalition to Reduce Spending, says that Ryan’s criticism is off the mark, offering it as an example of why Republicans lack credibility to claim that they can deal with the United States’ fiscal woes.

“With his Wednesday statements, Rep. Paul Ryan offers a stunningly shortsighted view of the nation’s spending crisis and shows clearly why so many Republicans have no credibility on the spending issue,” said Bydlak in a press release.

“Ryan seems to be working from the clichéd and dubious assumption that President Obama is ‘gutting’ the military,” he said. “President Obama and Defense Sec. Hagel have a different approach to military funds, to be sure. But Pentagon-budget slashers they are most certainly not.”

Only two House Democrats support Obama’s budget

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) did something yesterday that no House Democrat would dare do. The South Carolina conservative presented President Barack Obama’s tax and spend FY 2015 budget for a floor vote.

The budget unveiled by President Obama last month relies upon $3.5 trillion in higher than expected revenues to the federal government over the next 10 years. The increased revenues rely on rosy economic growth scenarios as well as $1 trillion in new taxes to finance a budget that never comes into balance.

The White House’s budget, however, failed to gain any real support when it was presented on the House floor. It was defeated by a 2 to 413 vote. The two votes came from Reps. Mary Kaptur (D-OH) and Jim Moran (D-VA).

President Obama’s budget was just one of several offered as amendments on the floor yesterday before the final vote on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) “Path to Prosperity.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-NM) offered the Congressional Progressive Caucus’ alternative budget, which, believe it or not, is worse than the White House’s proposal. That measure did remarkably better — which should tell you exactly how far left the much of Democratic Party has drifted — but still failed, 89 to 327.

Today in Liberty: House to vote on Ryan budget, Second Amendment hero passes away

“Don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff. That’s it, in a nutshell. Everyone should be free to live their lives as they think best, free from meddling by politicians and government bureaucrats, as long as they don’t hurt other people, or take other people’s stuff.”Matt Kibbe

— White House suggests amendment to limit free speech: While Shaun McCutcheon was touting last week’s big win for the First Amendment, White House Adviser Dan Pfeiffer preached doom and gloom, suggesting that a constitutional amendment to limit free speech “may be the only option” to undo recent court rulings.

Ryan’s budget increases spending by $1.2 trillion

There are certainly some things to like about the budget proposal rolled out yesterday by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). The “Path to Prosperity” attempts to return Medicare to solvency, for example, and repeal Obamacare.

Ryan claims that the budget “cuts $5.1 trillion in government spending,” a line that has been repeated in media reports on the proposal. But this is a budgetary trick. The House Budget Committee may slash projected federal outlays, but Nicole Kaeding of the Cato Institute explains that the proposal would actually increase spending by $1.2 trillion:

How can spending both be “slashed” and increased by $1.5 trillion? It’s because of the bizarre way that Washington discusses spending, which is known as baseline budgeting.
[…]
In Washington, all spending proposals are compared to the CBO’s baseline projections. The CBO releases these projections a couple times a year, which are based on their estimates of current federal law. Every proposal is then compared to this baseline. Inside-Washington discussions of spending cuts or increases are relative to CBO’s figures.

But this is a very different way of thinking about budgeting than used by families, who don’t assume that their income will go up automatically every year. Families prioritize, and they cut back when they need to make the books balance. Sadly, few proposals in Congress make tough trade-offs and cut actual levels of spending.

Paul Ryan plans to balance budget in 10 years, reform Medicare

Tom Price and Paul Ryan
Image credit: Ellen Carmichael

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) rolled out House Republicans’ FY 2015 budget proposal yesterday. The latest iteration of the “Path to Prosperity” seeks to balance the federal budget in a decade, reform Medicare, and repeal Obamacare.

“This is a plan to balance the budget and create jobs, and it builds off a simple fact: We can’t keep spending money we don’t have,” Ryan said in a statement from the House Budget Committee. “This budget provides relief for families. Too many Americans struggle to make ends meet, while Washington continues to live beyond its means. It’s irresponsible to take more from hardworking families to spend more in Washington.

“Today’s proposal—The Path to Prosperity—shows that it’s not too late to tackle our country’s most pressing challenges,” he continued. “By cutting wasteful spending, strengthening key priorities, and laying the foundation for a stronger economy, we have shown the American people there’s a better way forward.”

CBO director warns of “unpleasant” choices on federal spending

The growth of federal entitlements programs is the biggest fiscal issue facing the United States, says CBO Director Doug Elmendorf, and it’s one that is going to require Washington to make some “unpleasant” choices, preferably sooner rather than later:

“So we have a choice as a society to either scale back those programs relative to what is promised under current law; or to raise tax revenue above its historical average to pay for the expansion of those programs; or to cut back on all other spending even more sharply than we already are,” Elmendorf said.

“And we haven’t actually decided as a society…what we’re going to do. But some combination of those three choices will be needed.”

Elmendorf said there are various ways to proceed: “But they tend to be unpleasant in one way or another, and we have not, as a society, decided how much of that sort of unpleasantness to inflict on whom.”

Though there’s a lot of attention paid to short-term deficits, this is symptomatic of a much, much larger problem. It’s not a new crisis, and it’s one that most people in Washington realize exists. The CBO has been pointing out these concerns for some time, most recently its September long-term budget report.

This analysis anticipated that spending as a percentage of GDP would rise to 26.2%, based on current law, and federal revenues will come in around 19.5%. The budget deficit as a percentage would be 6.4% and the public’s share of the national debt will hit 100%.

Obama produces another tax and spend budget

President Barack Obama unveiled his $3.9 trillion budget for FY 2015, just days after Senate Democrats announced that they have no intention of trying to push through a budget in a what’s expected to be a contentious election year.

The proposal doesn’t offer anything in terms of new ideas or policy changes, though it does respect the budget framework agreed upon by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), chairs of the respective congressional budget committees, for FY 2015 before blowing past it in later years.

President Obama’s budget is more a nod to the leftist Democratic base than an actual blueprint for governing the country. It’s not passable, and the White House knows it. The proposal is so toxic that no vulnerable Democrat could support it and win reelection.

The Wall Street Journal notes that the budget would impose $1 trillion in new taxes over the next 10 years. Including new taxes and fees and rather rosy economic projections, the White House anticipates $3.15 trillion in new revenue through 2024, according to Philip Klein at the Washington Examiner.

CBO director: Obamacare will increase deficits, creates disincentive to work

CBO Director Doug Elemendorf appeared before the congressional committee yesterday to testify on his agency’s budget outlook report. As one might image, given its explosive findings, the most the discussions centered around Obamacare.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) kicked off the hearing by noting that the CBO report shows that “autopilot spending” are driving budget deficits, but he quickly turned to the findings related to Obamacare.

“This report says the debt gets worse, and we have slower economic growth compared to the last forecast,” said Ryan in his opening remarks. “But what is particularly troubling is CBO’s projection of labor force participation. CBO says that about half of this decline is attributable to the aging of the population — most notably the retirement of the ‘baby boom’ generation.”

But CBO also says that government policies, especially the President’s healthcare law, are discouraging work. Washington is making this problem worse,” he said. “This does not have to be our fate. We need to reverse this decline.”

Elemendorf parsed through various parts of the report, going through points related to the federal budget and the economy, both in the short- and long-term. But he also touched on parts of the report dealing with Obamacare.

“The baseline projections show what we think would happen to federal spending, revenues, and deficits over the next 10 years if current laws were generally unchanged,” Elemendorf told the House Budget Committee. “Under that assumption, the deficit is projected to decrease again in 2015 to [$478 billion].”

No, Congress isn’t cutting military benefits

Given all the insane things that our government has done over the past few years, it’s easy to fall into the habit of believing everything you read. DEA working with drug cartels? Check. Federally funded penis pumps? But of course. Congress cuts military benefits to reach a budget deal? You be…wait. Not so fast.

At the end of December, Paul Ryan and Patty Murray reached a rare bipartisan compromise on a budget agreement to end the short and contentious series of continuing resolutions that have funded the government since 2010. Once the details of the plan were revealed, it was immediately denounced, explicitly in conservative publications, and implicitly in mainstream ones, for draconian “cuts” to military benefits:


The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.