A Few Notes on the New Ryan Budget Proposal

Washington Post: GOP Budget Plan Cuts Deeply Into Domestic Programs, Reshapes Medicare, Medicaid

Oh, boy.  Cue the scare-mongering from the Left.

House Republicans laid down a bold but risky election-year marker Tuesday, unveiling a budget proposal that aims to tame the national debt by reshaping Medicare and cutting deeply into Medicaid, food stamps and other programs for the poor, while reshuffling the tax code to sharply lower rates.

I can hear it now: “The heartless right-wing extremist Republicans are helping millionaires while hurting the poor.”  It’s the same thing, over and over and over again, and the professional Left–including the #Occupy movement–has been fomenting class warfare and envious discord for years now.

The problem, however, is not that the GOP wants to “slash the social safety net while protecting the rich,” as the Washington Post suggests the budget proposal will be framed.  The problem is that our social safety net has become a hammock, and those most comfortable simply do not wish to get out and get on with their lives.

Cuts are necessary to rein in the out-of-control spending currently driving us toward financial catastrophe.  Tax cuts are necessary to jump-start economic growth, just as was done following the Bush tax cuts.

The tax cuts:

On taxes, Ryan offers a bit more detail than he did last year about how Republicans would reshape the tax code. The proposal calls for replacing the current tax structure’s six brackets with just two: a 10 percent rate for lower-income earners and a 25 percent rate for upper-income earners.

That would be a reduction from the current top rate of 35 percent. Ryan also wants to wipe out the alternative minimum tax. And he calls for lowering the 35 percent tax on corporate profits to 25 percent and granting U.S. corporations a blanket exemption on profits earned overseas.

To pay for those changes, Ryan proposes to wipe out a vast array of deductions, credits and other tax breaks benefiting people and companies at virtually every income level. Neither he nor House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.) on Tuesday spelled out specifics, but tax experts said their proposal would almost certainly have to take a whack at expensive tax breaks such as those for home mortgage interest, employer-provided health insurance and retirement savings.

Talk about an immediate impact, though frankly I believe he could go further.  Still, we need to provide business and industry with reason to set up shop in the United States of America, and this will be a good start.  As noted before, the Bush tax cuts were followed by record revenue for several years, but the record revenue was not coupled with reduced spending.  That’s why the cuts are so important.

And the $5.3 trillion in cuts, specifically? Here’s part of how Ryan does it:

Ryan calls for turning over to the states responsibility for the major federal programs for the poor, including Medicaid and food stamps, and giving recipients a deadline to find work and get off the government dole — much as welfare reform did to cash benefits in the late 1990s.

A marvelous idea.  These are issues that are best suited in the hands of the several States anyway, both from a constitutional standpoint as well as a practical standpoint.  Having lived in the Philadelphia area for years and having lived here in the Palmetto State since June 2010, I have witnessed firsthand that the needs of our less fortunate are different here than in Philly.  We need a social safety net rather than a hammock, and we need that safety net to be as streamlined as possible.

In truth, it is issues like this that bore me nowadays.  I know exactly what the Left is going to say and how they are going to say it.  They’ve gotten too predictable; it’s not interesting or new anymore.  Plus, it’s not as though the Democratic Party-controlled Senate will pass a budget anyway — it’s been close to 1,100 days since the Democrats passed a budget … why start now? Still, people need to understand that there may be cuts and relative discomfort now, but that relative discomfort now will avoid complete and utter collapse later.

A good way to help people understand such concepts is to relate those concepts to easily-understood facts of life.  I like where House Speaker John Boehner was going with this …

“People have limits on credit cards. That doesn’t mean that you’re required to spend up to the limit, it just says you can’t spend anymore than that,” Boehner told reporters. “We all know that we’ve got a real fiscal problem here in Washington. And, frankly, we think we can do better.”

… but we can always do better.

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