December 3 2012
Republicans are losing the fiscal cliff messaging war. Unfortunately, with their loss goes the chance for any kind of real fiscal reform.
Let’s rewind for a second. Until last week, neither side had submitted any post election plan to vanquish the fiscal cliff, which was created by both Democrats because of their desire to punt tough decisions on runaway entitlement programs and other government spending.
Following the election, for better or for worse, Republicans made a grand concession: tax revenue is on the bargaining table. Yet they received nothing for such a big compromise. The administration has yet to budge on fixing Social Security and Medicare.
So what exactly has the White House proposed? According to the New York Times, not much different from the President’s Budget introduced in February:
The specifics were the same as those proposed by Mr. Obama in his budget earlier this year, without any additional concessions. The proposal includes $1.6 trillion in new revenue from upper-income taxpayers; $600 billion in reduced spending for Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies and other programs; $1 trillion in other spending cuts that the president and Congress committed to last year for the coming decade; and an $800 billion reduction in projected war spending, reflecting the winding down of American combat operations overseas.
In fact, Speaker Boehner counts the proposal as more of the same stimulus spending.
Ryan’s budget has been the only serious proposal for lasting reform to date. It addresses the solvency of Medicare and Social Security, while instituting long-term solutions to our fiscal crisis. Ryan’s plan may not be perfect, but no other proposal tackles the solvency of our entitlements, which make up 40 percent of federal spending.
The last two years have been spent lamenting the federal debt. What’s missing isn’t an Congressional understanding of the causes of our fiscal problem. What’s missing is the ability of the White House and Senate to compromise.