An Adult Conversation about the Budget
by Congressman Mike Simpson
Washington, D.C. – “Following on the heels of his election, President Obama claimed he wanted to begin a serious conversation with Republicans that could lead to bipartisan consensus on issues facing our nation. At the 2010 Republican retreat in Baltimore, he asked;
“At what point can we have a serious conversation about Medicare and its long-term liability, or a serious conversation about Social Security or a serious conversation about budget and debt where we’re not simply trying to position ourselves politically? That's what I'm committed to doing.”
“If only he had meant what he said.
“After putting out an annual budget two months ago that did absolutely nothing to address the deficit threatening our nation’s future, on Thursday President Obama made a half-hearted attempt at a 180, putting forth an un-detailed deficit reduction plan in response to Chairman Paul Ryan’s FY2012 budget. He also completely reversed his previous commitment to finding bipartisan consensus, calling Mr. Ryan’s plan un-American and dishonest, and, incredibly, claiming that Republicans are committed not to deficit reduction but to pitting ‘children with autism or Down syndrome’ against ‘every millionaire and billionaire in our society.’
“Americans have grown tired of the constant bickering, politicking, and gridlock that have defined their government for the last several years. They know that the deficit is the greatest threat our nation faces, and they are ready to have an honest look at all possible solutions.
“We need to have this conversation now. Let’s ignore the politically divisive and patently false claims that one side wants to ‘throw the elderly or poor under the bus,’ or that the other side wants to ‘weaken our national defense and embolden terrorists.’ This debate is too important to get bogged down with that kind of rhetoric.
“That said, the differences between President Obama’s plan and House Republicans’ plan to tackle the debt are vast.
- The House Republican plan reduces the deficit by $4.4 trillion by cutting $6.2 trillion over the next ten years and lays out a path to pay off the national debt. President Obama’s plan postpones any spending cuts until after 2013, after his reelection campaign.
- The House Republican plan prevents President Obama’s pending tax increases and reforms our outdated and complicated tax code. President Obama would raise taxes by more than $1 trillion.
- The House Republican plan reforms our ailing Medicare program so that it will be there for future generations without impacting the current benefits of anyone 55 or older. These programs are crucially important, but they are going bankrupt. They are also the main drivers of our debt. President Obama’s plan offers no substantive solutions to this looming problem.
“The American people are demanding real solutions to our debt crisis, and we need a plan that offers more than partisan platitudes. While the Republican plan may not be perfect, it is a first step toward facing down our challenges.”