Don’t take what I am about to say wrong.
I think Rep. Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s selection as a vice presidential running mate, could have been much worse.
I think Paul Ryan is a decent fellow. He’s constitutionally eligible for the office – an advantage he has over others under consideration.
But what worries me about the pick is that it signals, from my perspective, a signal that Romney does not really intend to do a 180 from the policies of the last 12 years that have brought America to the brink of economic disaster. Of course, I never expected Romney would be that kind of president, but the selection of Ryan, a favorite of many so-called “economic conservatives,” suggests a Romney administration will not make any effort to return Washington to the constitutional imperative of “limited government.”
Let me explain.
Paul Ryan is most famous for is 10-year plan for deficit reduction. It was hailed by the Republican establishment and the clueless Republican leadership in the House.
But as I pointed out when it was introduced, it was never intended as an actual plan to be implemented, nor would it have reined in the deficit. It was pure politics. It was a show plan to position Republicans as offering a real alternative to Obamanomics.
The last thing America needs right now is a phony 10-year plan to restore economic prosperity and responsible government. Washington needs to put the brakes on all borrowing now and start living within its means today – not 10 years from now.
The old Soviet Union, which America is more and more resembling, was famous for its five-year plans – which never quite lived up to rosy projections for turning around the command-and-control economy of that model tyranny.
A 10-year plan in America is meaningless because it gives the opportunity for five new congresses and three presidents to renege, reverse course, change priorities.
Clearly, a Congress can only be responsible for itself – not future congresses. Therefore, the Ryan plan represents little more than a statement of good intentions for the future. Members of Congress and even presidents should be thinking long term, but acting in the short term – meaning the next two years.
Worse yet, the Ryan plan conceded the need to increasing the debt for years into the future. That’s a concession to the idea that the U.S. has no choice but to prolong the insane and irresponsible borrowing that is the fundamental economic crisis America faces.
In the name of pragmatic politics and compromise, the Republicans were, with the Ryan plan, in effect, and despite many good suggestions for reforms in the future, conceding business as usual for the next few years. That’s not the radical prescription America needs to reverse the damage done to the country in the last four years – not by a long shot.
So what should Republicans do?
There are only two things Republicans can do in the next two years that can precipitate a radical change of direction in the culture of Washington, and despite what the Republican establishment suggests, they are BIG things.
- They can, without any help from Democrats, veto any effort to raise the debt limit. The Republican House majority can do this without any compromises, without any 10-year plans, without a single Democratic vote in either house. This would instantly force Washington to start living within its means, without any ability to borrow more. This would force cuts and reforms much more dramatic than anything included in the Ryan plan. And it would do so without risk of default because there is plenty of revenue (trillions) to service the debt and avoid default on loan obligations, which amount to approximately $200 billion annually.
- They can, without any help from Democrats, veto any tax increases, since both houses of Congress would be needed to approve them.
Can I ask a simple question?
What’s wrong with this plan?
Why do members of the Republican House leadership, which includes Ryan, insist on working with Democrats who have no interest in changing the direction of government in Washington when they themselves can do all that is necessary to make this happen right now?
I’m gratified that other loud voices – like those of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Michael Savage – have all gotten on board with the Farah plan, otherwise known as the “No More Red Ink” campaign.
It is quite literally the only thing Republicans can do this year or next year to live up to the promises they made to regain control of the House in November.
Why Republicans have insisted on working with Democrats who only want to spend more is beyond me.
Why did any Republicans give Obama their blessing to spend more this year and next year when they had the chance to stop it?
Why did Paul Ryan?
Does that make sense?
The American people, according to every poll on the subject, are opposed to more borrowing. Even a majority of Democratic voters oppose raising the debt limit.
If Republicans don’t take the only action they can take to reverse course – either this year or next year – they will be back out in the political wilderness by 2014.
And that assumes they win in November.