Democrats’ Path to Higher Taxes and Debt

April 7, 2011

GOP’s “Serious, Honest, and Straightforward” Budget Goes Where Obama’s Would Not


Early reactions to the “serious, honest, and straightforward” House Republican budget praised GOP Budget Chairman Paul Ryan for “chang[ing] the nature of the debate” and for his “political courage”:


POLITICO’s MORNING MONEY: “[H]e took a huge risk, changed the nature of the debate and put Democrats in mortal peril of looking intellectually bankrupt if they can’t come up with a powerful response that goes beyond the usual ‘freak the geezers’ boilerplate that is bogus on its facegiven the pass given by Ryan to current seniors and soon-to-be-senior boomers.” (Ben White, “Morning Money,” Politico, 4/6/2011)


THE WALL STREET JOURNAL“Mr. Ryan’s budget rollout is an important political and policy moment because it is the most serious attempt to reform government in at least a generation.” (Editorial, “The Ryan Resolution,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/6/2011)


TIME’s JOE KLEIN: “Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposal is, without question, an act of political courage. … The strength of Ryan’s plan is that he has put almost everything on the table. We can at last have an honest conversation about all this.” (Joe Klein, “How We Got Here,” Time’s “Swampland” Blog, 4/5/2011)


SEN. JOE LIEBERMAN (I-CT): “I thank Chairman Ryan for having the courage not just to talk frankly about the danger America’s national debt poses to the American people but also to propose a comprehensive program to cut the national debt. One does not have to agree with all or most of Chairman Ryan’s proposals to be able to applaud his serious commitment to reduce the debt that threatens our nation’s future.” (Daniel Harper, “Praise for Paul Ryan’s Budget,” The Weekly Standard’s Blog, 4/5/2011)


OBAMA FISCAL COMMISSION CO-CHAIRS DEMOCRAT ERSKINE BOWLES AND REPUBLICAN ALAN SIMPSON: “The budget released this morning by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan is a serious, honest, straightforward approach to addressing our nation’s enormous fiscal challenges.” (Press Release, “Bowles, Simpson react to Chairman Ryan’s budget proposal,”The Moment of Truth Project, 4/5/11)


The contrast with the Obama-Democrat budget could not be greater. Aside from utterly failing to address the nation’s debt crisis, Obama’s budget also raises taxes by over $1.5 trillion, continues spending at its current record levels and maintains the pace of government borrowing:




All told, the new taxes total $1.5 trillion over 10 years — ranging from new levies on small-business owners and corporations to taxes on energy and banks. Passed as is, the Obama budget would make economic stagnation and 9% unemployment the status quo.” (Editorial Board, “Obama’s Gutless Budget Proposal,” Investor’s Business Daily, 2/14/2011)


SMALL BUSINESS AND DEATH TAXES RISE: “Raising the top marginal income tax rate (at which a majority of small business profits face taxation) from 35% to 39.6%. This is a $709 billion/10 year tax hike. …


“Raising the death tax rate from 35% to 45% and lowering the death tax exemption amount from $5 million ($10 million for couples) to $3.5 million.  This is a $98 billion/ten year tax hike.” (“Obama’s FY2012 Budget: Taxes, Taxes, and More Taxes,” Americans for Tax Reform, 2/14/2011)




“If the federal budget released by President Barack Obama today is implemented, it will double the national debt over the next 10 years. The current national debt is $13.56 trillion (end of FY 2010). By the end of 2021, that debt would rise to $26.3 trillion under the White House budget.” (“Obama Budget Double National Debt to $26.3 Trillion in 10 Years,” Fox News, 2/14/2011)




“President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget would produce $2.3 trillion more in deficits over the next decade than the administration projects, according to the Congressional Budget Office.


“The nonpartisan agency said today the administration’s plan would generate $9.5 trillion in deficits between 2012 and 2021, compared with the $7.2 trillion forecast last month by the White House budget office…


The report also said the administration’s budget falls short of its goal of achieving ‘primary balance,’ which refers to the government balancing its books except for interest payments on the debt. White House Budget Director Jacob Lew had called that a ‘key accomplishment’ of its plan.” (Brian Faler, “Obama’s Budget Underestimates Federal Deficits, CBO Says,” Business Week, 3/18/2011)




GEITHNER: “Sir absolutely, it is a[n] excessively high interest burden, it’s unsustainable.”


SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL): “Well it’s your plan, for the ten years. I mean that’s the one the President has submitted. That’s the one he’s asked us to vote on…That’s your numbers, off your budget.”


GEITHNER: “Senator, you’re absolutely right, that with the President’s plan, even if Congress were to enact it, and even if Congress were to hold to it…we would still be left with a very large interest burden and unsustainable obligations over time…I completely agree with you.” (Geithner Remarks to Senate Budget Committee, 2/17/2011)


Maybe that’s why praise for the Republican budget has dovetailed with criticism of Democrats’ failure to get serious about America’s fiscal health:


USA TODAYDemocrats have already begun to demonize the Ryan plan, but where is theirs? Two bipartisan deficit panels produced serious, workable proposals last year, which President Obama treated as if they had cooties.”(Editorial, “Dems Bash GOP Budget, But Where’s Theirs?,” USA Today, 4/6/2011)


THE WASHINGTON POST: “The first thing to praise about House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan, unveiled Tuesday, is that it exists. The Wisconsin Republican has produced a plan to deal with the debt, which is more than his Democratic colleagues or President Obama can say. …


“In a statement Tuesday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president believes that long-term deficit reduction is ‘essential’ but ‘strongly disagree[s]’ with Ryan’s approach. ‘The President believes there is a more balanced way to put America on a path to prosperity.’ What would that path be, Mr. President?” (Editorial, “A First Look At Rep. Paul Ryan’s Budget Plan,” The Washington Post, 4/5/2011)


THE NEW YORK TIMES’ ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: “Now there’s a leadership position. He’s come out with a plan which is more than the Democrats can say. … Give the man credit for putting out a plan when nobody else would.”(Remarks from Andrew Ross Sorkin, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” 4/5/2011)


REUTERS: “Government spending would plummet by nearly $6 trillion over the coming decade under a Republican plan due to be unveiled on Tuesday, in a sharp contrast to President Barack Obama’s fiscal plan.” (Andy Sullivan, “Republican Budget Plan Envisions Sharp Cuts,” Reuters4/5/2011)


NBC’s “FIRST READ”“It’s courage because Ryan is seriously addressing entitlement reform, which is something that President Obama’s budget didn’t touch at all.” (Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, Domenico Montanaro, and Ali Weinberg, MSNBC’s “First Read,” 4/4/2011)