Ryan’s political stunt misses target

The Republican majority in the House passed the “lean government” budget championed by  Rep. Paul Ryan, R-WI. The proposed legislation focuses on cutting spending with little to no tax hikes.

Ryan’s plan slashes the budgets for “sacred cows” like Medicare and Medicaid—what the Republicans are calling necessary sacrifices.

The way I see it is that this budget plan has no chance of passing and is nothing more than a political stunt.

In a recent survey conducted by The Washington Post, 39 percent of self-identified Republicans said they are in favor of tax hikes on the rich as long as the proceeds went to reducing the deficit.

This may not seem like a lot, but the national average was reported as 59 percent. Independents clocked in at 60 percent, while 78 percent of Democrats favored the hikes.

The Clinton Administration enacted taxes on the top earners in the nation so radical that they do not even get mentioned in the current debate, even though that was the last time the government had a surplus.

The current president has advocated a much more moderate plan, one with almost no estate taxes.

I’m all for attacking corruption and waste in the federal government, but the large majority of Americans believe that Medicare shouldn’t undergo major changes.

Without vast changes to the way we run this nation, we are going to be burning cash at a dangerous rate. We are going to have to cut federal spending somewhere, and use the rest of it much more carefully than we are used to.

But estimates say that cutting our nuclear arsenal by around 40 percent, for example, could save the nation $40 billion by 2030. This ignores the fact that we have enough nuclear weapons to destroy all life on the planet between two and 40 times.

This overkill is prevalent in a lot of areas. A bipartisan think tank, the Sustainable Defense Taskforce, claims that cutting the newest fighter and bomber lines would save the nation $18 billion.

The Taskforce also concluded that the current fighters and bombers are virtually identical to these newer models—except cheaper.

I’m not suggesting that we simply slash military spending in favor of Medicare or Medicaid. My point is that instead of crippling current programs, we can eliminate waste across the board and save a comparable amount without alienating either side of the aisle.

Even then, of course, tax hikes are going to be necessary. The majority of voters call for it. Congress needs to honor their contract with their voters, regardless of partisan dogma.

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