On Wednesday, for the first time since 2009, Senate Democrats will bring a budget proposal to the floor. In doing so, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash), chair of the Senate Budget Committee, will finally reveal to the American people how Democrats believe taxpayer money should be spent and whose taxes should be raised. The Wall Street Journal quotes Sen. Murray as saying, “The budget debate is a debate about values and priorities,” and from the initial reports on Murray’s proposal, it appears that balancing the budget is not a Democratic priority.
Hilary Rosen says that Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget proposal will be more of the same from the Republicans, and she’s right. Ryan’s budget will once again put forward a plan to balance our budget, reform Medicare and Medicaid and avoid tax increases. These are commonsense ideas that will help our economy recover and increase GDP growth. Murray’s plan, on the other hand, relies on higher taxes and higher spending, with no serious effort to deal with our debt and deficit.
Like other Democrats, Hilary thinks the Republicans haven’t learned their lesson. She sees President Obama’s reelection as a popular mandate to increase taxes and spend more. Undoubtedly, it is more popular to give away more money than to give away less money. But that’s a dishonest choice to present to people. The money has to come from somewhere, and eventually, someone will have to pay back those loans. The Democrats want to perpetuate the notion of “free money,” and this puts us on a path to financial ruin.
When Ryan unveils his latest budget proposal tomorrow, it is likely that Democrats will begin screaming about how the middle class will suffer because of all the draconian cuts and entitlement reforms they say the Ryan budget includes. But as Ryan said yesterday on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, his budget calls for cuts in the rate of growth, not real cuts as in less money. According to Ryan, under his budget, “Instead of spending $46 trillion over the next 10 years, we’ll spend $41 trillion.” That hardly seems cruel, but it will start to responsibly address our debt crisis. This might not be as popular as having no spending restraints, but it is what we must do.
This week will reveal a lot about the stark differences between Republicans and Democrats as we learn more about these two budget proposals. As I’ve said before, a budget is a plan put to numbers. There will be an interesting and necessary debate about our alternative plans.
And, oh by the way, while we’re talking about budgets, let’s not forget: A White House budget is still nowhere to be found.