Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin fired back at his Democratic critics over their hysterical reactions to the budget proposal he released earlier this week.
“They [the Democrats] are so fundamentally unserious about this [fiscal crisis],” he told HUMAN EVENTS in an exclusive, that “they are in political attack mode. This is hardly the adult conversation we were hoping to achieve by putting out ideas.”
Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, added:
“These people [Democrats] have been in Congress a long time. Clearly they see the fiscal problems. Clearly they know the road ahead is a debt crisis. They must be complicit with it if they’re willing to use this type of demagoguery and rhetoric. I find it really quite amazing. It’s politics. I don’t know what else to conclude.”
The day Ryan released his much-anticipated 2012 budget, Nancy Pelosi took to Twitter to call it a “path to poverty for America’s seniors and children and a road to riches for Big Oil.”
Not to be outdone by Pelosi, a long list of Democrats lined up to inject their own overblown responses to the GOP’s 73-page “Path to Prosperity” document.
“Waging war on American workers,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra (D.-Calif.).
The new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, described it a “death trap for seniors.”
“Pulling the rug out from under seniors,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D.-Mich.).
“The Tea Party has hijacked the Republican caucus,” said House Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D.-Md.)
Ryan’s aim is “government so small you can drown it in a bathtub,” said Rep. John Larson (D.-Conn.), before adding that the reforms open “a second front: a war on seniors.”
A flabbergasted Ryan argued that if liberal lawmakers really wanted to preserve a social safety net for the most vulnerable among us, they would bear-hug his commitment to restructure a system that every economist warns is severely bankrupt.
“The path we are on is the worst path for the elderly and the poor because it’s a path of empty promises,” Ryan told HUMAN EVENTS. “The government is making trillions of dollars of empty promises to these people who are believing in these programs.”
Under Ryan’s plan, both Medicare and Medicaid spending would increase, albeit not at the same unsustainable levels that it would if nothing is done, which is the case with the President’s 2012 budget proposal. It would grant flexibility to the states to zero-in on the truly needed while eliminating the perverse financial incentives that encourage them to expand their welfare rolls.
On Medicare specifically, a House GOP official told HUMAN EVENTS that the “Democrats have made a conscious effort in the President’s budget to not protect Medicare, therefore, letting it go bankrupt by 2029,” while adding that under its current trajectory, benefits would have to be slashed by 15% and Medicare payroll taxes would need to increase by 23%.
Entitlement spending altogether is set to gobble all of America’s tax revenue if no reforms are enacted.
As Ryan’s budget underscores, “Absent action, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid will soon grow to consume every dollar of revenue that the government raises in taxes. At that point, policy makers would be left with no good options. Making do without any federal government departments, including the military, is not really an option and neither is raising taxes to a level that no free and prosperous economy could sustain.
The Congressional Budget Office’s early analysis of Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” concluded that there would be “much less uncertainty about future federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid” than “exists under current law.”
Ryan’s sharp words were reserved for Obama as well, calling into question the President’s ability to lead.
“The week we’re trying to engage on cutting spending and having an adult conversation on the budget, his [Obama’s] party leaders use demagoguery, and he launches his reelection campaign. He’s a very good politician, but what we need right now is a really good leader, and I don’t see any leadership.”
In the end, Ryan’s confident that the Americans won’t get suckered by overheated Washington rhetoric.
“The great comfort I get out of this [hysteria] is that the American people have figured it out. They are way ahead of the political class in Washington, D.C. That kind of over-the-top rhetoric, it’s just demeaning to the country.”