President Obama rolled out his notion of a debt plan today. House Budget Committee chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had this response:
The President’s partisan speech and misguided proposals are disappointing, but not surprising. Having overseen an unprecedented surge in government spending – from his failed stimulus law, to the creation of new trillion-dollar health entitlements, to double-digit percentage increases in the budgets of many federal agencies – the President has finally admitted that he plans to send the bill for Washington’s reckless spending straight to American businesses and families. A $1.6 trillion tax hike on job creators is never a good idea. But taking more money from private savers and investors, and giving it to the same government bureaucrats who brought us the Solyndra debacle, is an even worse idea – especially in a weak economy.
Unfortunately, none of the President’s proposals this year – from his February budget to his April budget speech, to his recommendations today – offers a credible plan to lift our crushing burden of debt while restoring economic growth. Instead of renewed prosperity, the President has offered us a plan for shared scarcity. The nation deserves better.
Ryan’s view seems to be the near-unanimous reaction of the GOP 2012 contenders and lawmakers to the president’s “vision.” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee, had a statement, including these remarks: “When you remove the accounting tricks and Washington gimmicks from the president’s plan you’re left with only half of the $3 trillion in deficit reduction the White House promised. The White House also claims the president’s plan is $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes. But in truth, the president’s deficit reduction comes entirely from tax hikes. Total federal spending, including the stimulus, will increase under the president’s plan, not decrease. On balance, there is not a penny of net spending that is cut.”
Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) was likewise unimpressed: “ Pitting one group of Americans against another is not leadership. The Joint Select Committee is engaged in serious work to tackle a serious problem: the debt crisis that is making it harder to get our economy growing and create more American jobs. Unfortunately, the President has not made a serious contribution to its work today. This administration’s insistence on raising taxes on job creators and its reluctance to take the steps necessary to strengthen our entitlement programs are the reasons the president and I were not able to reach an agreement previously, and it is evident today that these barriers remain.”
The good news for the country and the GOP is that Obama’s “plan” is entirely irrelevant. So is his threat to veto anything without tax hikes. The supercommittee will work its will. I strongly suspect that Senate Democrats aren’t going to stand up for the president’s plan, not with so many red state senators up for re-election. And should the joint committee reach a deal that is passed by both houses there is no chance whatsoever that the president will veto it. In sum, as bad as Obama’s plan and speech were the good news is that just about everyone (except the ever-gullible Democratic base) can ignore it.