President Obama's plan to pull the country back from the brink of insolvency is simply put, too little, too late.
His 12-year plan calls for spending cutbacks of just $2 trillion though the plan was sold by advisors as a $4 trillion plan - fully half of that amount is from increased taxes and an ambitious view of interest savings.
Bottom line, the president's plans to shrink the deficit primarily by doing two things: one, by raising taxes on people earning more than $250,000 a year and two, by cutting spending on defense, Medicare and Medicaid.
But the plan may be more interesting for what's not in it. He ignores his own deficit commission's recommendations on reforming the tax code by reducing loopholes and deductions. So for all the talk about flat tax and tax simplification - well, it's back to the 1040 form if Obama's plan is ultimately enacted.
He also says Social Security is just fine and needs no reform despite the fact the trust fund is expected to become insolvent in 2037.
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And, talk about funny money - the president's plan cheats at the margins a number of ways. First off, tax increases are described as "tax expenditures." I guess the White House hopes we won't notice the bigger IRS bill.
And, second, his plan stretches over 12 years rather than the usual 10 - amortize his cuts over the shorter period and his savings shrink to just $1.7 trillion.
Little discussed today is just how the president intends to extract savings from Medicare and Medicaid, but some details are becoming clear. Medicare will be trimmed by giving more power to an obscure government entity called the independent payment advisory board, a highly controversial bureaucracy created by Obamacare to control spending.
Our sources say this may well be the health-care rationing that Obamacare critics have feared. The plan also calls for cutting Medicare spending on drugs for seniors - which may well restrict access to certain medicines.
The president's plan comes into focus when compared to the one written by Congressman Paul Ryan, the so-called "Path to Prosperity." Ryan's plan would shrink the deficit by cutting more than $6 trillion over just 10 years by privatizing Medicare and simplifying the tax code.
Ryan's program shrinks the deficit three times more than the president's program and without any tax hikes.
And remember, neither Ryan's nor Obama's plan will do much to solve our $14 trillion federal debt problem. Both have the goal of reducing the $1.5 trillion federal budget deficit.
In short, we've got a long way to go. But it's an effort worth making.
Reducing our government's debt is the challenge for our generation. The alternative is following the course of countries like Greece and Portugal to insolvency, or relying on friendly nations to bail us out and losing our position as the leader.
I don't want to see any of that happen, do you?
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