• Welcome Budget Talk

      My syndicated column this week is titled “Welcome Budget Talk.”

      It's a new world. Even Obama acknowledges that we’re headed off a cliff. Here’s part of his speech from this afternoon:

      By the end of this decade, the interest we owe on our debt could rise to nearly $1 trillion. Just the interest payments. Then, as the Baby Boomers start to retire and health care costs continue to rise, the situation will get even worse.

      So now, even Obama says he wants $2 trillion in spending cuts over the next 12 years. Unfortunately, his “cuts” are only reductions in planned increases in government spending. Imagine if your family’s finances worked like that: Your spouse would point out that you were deep in debt and spending 30% more than you made every year, and you’d respond, “OK, instead of buying new Jaguar like I had planned, I’ll buy a new Ford.”

      Some Republicans have a better plan, as I note in my column:

      Garrett is chairman of the RSC (Republican Study Committee), which proposes more cuts than Ryan. Its plan would actually cut spending by about $300 billion and end the deficit in eight years -- Ryan's plan wouldn't balance the budget until 2050 or 2080. I asked what the RSC cuts that Ryan doesn't.

      "We take additional cuts in the entitlements."

      It raises the retirement age for Social Security to 67. Good. When FDR created Social Security, most Americans didn't even make it to age 65. Today, Americans on average live 78 years. Raising the age to 67 doesn't do much. I wish they'd index the retirement benefit age to life spans.

      The RSC plan would sell 5 percent of government lands. That's good, too.

      For the rest of the RSC’s spending cuts, read the full column here.

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