BY FRANK SALVATO – “We have a choice of two futures. We know the path we’re on right now. That’s the path the President is proposing: a debt crisis; no health or retirement security; a diminished future; a stagnant country; less jobs; less prosperity. That is not the America we know. We can choose this other path, but we have to make that choice. We can lift the crushing burden of debt off our children and grandchildren. And we can get this economy growing today. It is up to our generation to pick this path. The question is: will we do it or not.” – US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), Chairman of the House Budget Committee, Path to Prosperity (Episode 1).
This will be the question that the 2012 Presidential Election decides. Will we choose to remain a fiscally solvent and financially independent Republic of sovereign citizens? Or will be choose to complete the fundamental transformation of the United States of America from Constitutional Republic to nanny-state, Socialist Democracy? To me – and to most thinking Americans – the choice is clear: we would all like to remain as free and independent as possible. But there are factions in our country that would like to transform our country into something that it was never intended to be. And there are other factions that are so targeted on the retention of power that they would destroy our nation in that pursuit.
The 2012 House Republican Budget Proposal, put forth by US Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), arguably the most fiscally responsible person inside the beltway, is a solid, common sense piece of legislation that some on the Right – and on the Left – are calling moderate in its goals. It simplifies the tax code, collapsing the current system of six tax brackets for individuals into two marginal rates of 25 percent and 10 percent, and ends deductions that benefit a relatively small class of mostly higher-income individuals. It also lowers the top corporate tax rate to 25 percent – competitive with the world average, while eliminating carve-outs and loopholes that have allowed some narcissistic corporations to avoid paying taxes altogether. It would also scrap the Alternative Minimum Tax that captures more and more of the Middle Class each and every year.
In addition, it includes a provision that would overhaul and strengthen Medicare, a provision that Rep. Ryan worked out with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). This overhaul and strengthening:
▪ Makes no changes for those in and near retirement (read: ages 55 and older).
▪ When those under 55 reach eligibility, Medicare will provide a payment and a list of guaranteed coverage options, giving the recipients the “right to choose” a plan that best suits their needs and in the same manner as members of Congress.
▪ Provides additional Medicare assistance for lower-income beneficiaries and those with greater health risks.
▪ Stops the fiscal raid on Medicare from Obamacare by mandating that any current-law Medicare savings go to saving Medicare, exclusively, not the financing or the creation of new open-ended healthcare entitlements.
▪ Caps non-economic damages in medical liability lawsuits, thus ensuring that the cost of frivolous litigation is not passed on to consumers in the form of higher healthcare premiums.
▪ And fixes the Medicare physician payment formula for the next decade so Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to healthcare.
In addressing Medicaid, the plan would convert the federal government’s share of the Medicaid payment into a block grant – exactly as was done with federal welfare funds under the Clinton Administration. Initially, the allotment would be exactly the amount that states are receiving for their Medicaid programs today. In subsequent years this sum would grow to account for inflation and population each year. This plan allows States a greater flexibility to tailor their programs to their individual low-income populations; flexibility to focus on the specific needs of their States.
With regard to spending, deficit and debt reduction, the 2012 House Republican Budget Plan cuts $6.2 trillion in government spending over the next ten years, compared to President Obama’s proposed budget, and $4,000,000,000 more than the current-policy baseline. It sets a $1.028 trillion discretionary spending cap, below that of the $1.047 trillion cap set by last summer’s debt-ceiling deal, a difference of, $19,000,000,000. It mandates that congressional committees find ways to avoid the automatic cuts put in place by last summer’s “agreement” and eliminates hundreds of duplicative programs while honoring the ban on earmarks.
Most importantly, the 2012 House Republican Budget Plan brings government spending to below 20 percent of the economy; 20 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, a stark contrast to President Obama’s budget, which never sees spending fall below 23 percent of GDP over the next ten years. In the end, the plan reduces the national deficits by $4.4 trillion compared to the President’s budget over the next decade.
So, in a nutshell, the plan reforms the tax code, making it flatter and fairer while eliminating the tax breaks for the privileged few, which Democrats and Progressives continuously rail about. It literally throws a lifeline to Medicare and Medicaid, without service disruption (the Trustees for Medicare say “Without corrective legislation, the assets of the trust fund would be exhausted within the next 7 to 19 years”). It makes the corporate tax rate globally competitive and eliminates the “carve-outs” and special interest, “one-percenter” tax breaks that Liberals and Progressives say are so unfair. And it balances the budget by 2015 and pays off the national debt by 2050.
Sounds like a pretty solid plan, even if we do have to rely on the federal government to cut wasteful spending and realize that they must operate within the confines of a leaner, less extravagant annual budget, while refraining from saddling future Congresses with the bill for programs they want to take credit for today.
So, why is it that Progressives and Liberal Democrats are ratcheting up the smear machine so as to assassinate the proposal even before US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), gets to deny a floor vote on it, which he invariably will? Mouthpiece after mouthpiece for the Liberal Left and the Progressive Movement – from US Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), who continues to advance the out-and-out lie that the 2012 House Republican Budget Plan will advance “big tax breaks to the folks at the very highest end of the income ladder,” to Democrat National Committee Chairwoman, US Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), who disingenuously contends that the 2012 House Republican Budget Plan “threatens the health security for 5 million seniors” and that it would facilitate having their “health safety net yanked from under them” – they have frantically taken to the various television and radio shows, visibly shaken, to condemn the plan before even debating it.
But why? If they are getting at least a prized portion of what they want – the elimination of both tax loopholes for the “rich” and carve-outs for the corporate “one-percenters,” prizes they can return to their constituencies and take credit for, disingenuous as that may be – why would they oppose advancing a budget that would treat all Americans fairer, as far as the tax code goes, while saving Medicare – as is – for those covered now and providing “choice,” a big deal when they talk about reproductive rights, for future beneficiaries?
The answer is simple and it’s three-fold: a) It takes away their ability to reward special interest political benefactors with tax breaks; b) It weans the citizenry off of the road to nanny-state Socialist Democracy, and c) It would see them allowing the Republicans a huge political victory before the 2012 General Election.
Keep those points in mind as you enter the voting booth this November. And keep this one in mind as well: The Progressives and Democrats have just demonstrated that maintaining power and defeating their political opposition are more important than doing what is right by the American people; more important than allowing for a secure future for our children.