April 10

In a world where futility is the enemy of productivity, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) deserves credit for hanging in there. His 2015 budget passed earlier today by a 219 to 205 vote in the House.

Rep. Paul Ryan (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)
Rep. Paul Ryan (J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press)

Remember that rather than saying something judicious and tempered – i.e. presidential – about the Ryan budget, perennial candidate Barack Obama said last week during a speech at the University of Michigan that the Ryan budget was a “stinkburger.” And he went further last night, whining at a Democratic campaign committee fundraiser about this Congress being the “least productive Congress in modern history” – as Ryan and House Republicans were in Washington working on today’s vote.

Anyway, no one could blame Ryan if he didn’t even bother submitting a budget for a vote – like the President’s allies, the Senate Democrats, who announced weeks ago that they wouldn’t dare bring their own budget to a vote.

The Democrats are too heavily invested in slash-and-burn politics to even make an effort to see where both parties might be in agreement. After all, the president’s budget – which says no to no one and promises a dependent land of milk and honey – spends an average of just 1.7 percent more per year than the GOP budget. Yes, that’s right, the Ryan budget – which, according to tired Democratic hyperbole, guts funding for women, children and seniors and generally is a blight and plague on the American landscape – actually also increases spending, just by less than 1.7 percent a year compared with what President Obama wants to spend. To be precise, the president’s 2015 budget increases spending by 5.2 percent per year, while Ryan’s 2015 budget increases spending by an average of 3.5 percent per year over the 10-year budget cycle. We should argue about how funds should be allocated within the budget, but not with the common-sense idea that we can survive if we spend a little less than what the spendthrift Democrats’ dream budget calls for.

I would guess that almost every American family has had to spend about two percent less than they would like to spend every year since Obama was elected. And I would like to see a poll that asks voters the question of whether or not they think the government can – and should – be able to get by with an increase in spending that’s not even 2 percent per year less than what President Obama and the Democrats ideally want. The question might get answered in 2014. As Paul Ryan said today, “We’ve offered a budget because we trust the American people . . . to make an honest assessment. We trust them to make the right choice for their future.”  Well said.

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