This past week, Congress took several significant steps to return fiscal sanity to Washington. While the 2011 budget deal that averted a government shutdown captured most of the headlines, the budget for 2012 passed by the House on Friday (some refer to it as the Ryan budget) promises to do far more to curb out-of-control government spending.
The Ryan budget reduces spending by more than $6 trillion over the next ten years, thereby putting us back on the path towards a balanced budget. It also contains tax incentives to spur job creation, and saves Medicare from impending insolvency without affecting benefits for any current beneficiaries.
Of course, this budget is not perfect -- no budget ever is -- and there are areas in which it could be improved. For example, I would prefer that the proposed spending cuts return us to a balanced budget in a shorter period of time -- similar to an alternative budget that I supported (the Republican Study Committee budget). Still, the Ryan budget is a significant step in the right direction, and I would hope that, for the sake of our children and grandchildren who have to pay for the spending decisions we make today, President Obama and the Democrats in the Senate give this budget serious consideration.
Unfortunately, their response thus far has been less than enthusiastic. Rather than advocate serious spending cuts to reduce the deficit, President Obama has proposed massive tax increases that would in my view stifle job creation and economic growth. This is not surprising from the same Administration that proposed $800 billion in new government spending as a means to stimulate the economy two years ago -- a massive sum that did little more than stimulate more government and larger deficits. As bad as the so-called "stimulus" bill was, this latest plan from the White House is worse, in that it just spends more and taxes more, as far as the eye can see.
Spending cuts, not tax increases, must form the foundation of our plan to balance the budget. After decades of severing actions from consequences, we must begin to eliminate the excessive federal spending that has led us to this crisis. When you strip away the political rhetoric, what we are dealing with is simple math. If we continue on our current path, the Congressional Budget Office predicts we are headed for insolvency, and that the economy and job growth will remain stagnant.
In supporting the Ryan budget, my goals continue to be as follows: 1. Get the economy moving again and put Americans back to work. 2. Get the out-of-control spending in Washington under control, and move us towards a balanced budget as quickly as possible. 3. Reverse the federal takeover of health care passed in the last Congress, and save Medicare and Social Security for this generation of seniors, and for future generations.