While Paul Ryan, (R-WI) deserves credit for at least getting the balanced budget and debt eradication debate off the ground, calling him courageous is a bit of a stretch. His plan contains these highlights and lowlights:
· Cuts are attained off the backs of the elderly and poor.
· No tax increases. Even Bowles/Simpson and Domenici/Rivlin agree that tax increases are necessary
· No increase in capital gains taxes. Once again, you need to spread the pain to the rich.
· Reduction in corporate tax rates via the elimination of loopholes…good luck with that
· Vouchers for seniors to buy health insurance from the private sector. That assumes there will be choices that create competition.
· Medicare reform will go into effect for those under 55 is a good idea to transition.
· Where are the defense cuts? He is only specifying what Gates has already proposed. Not good enough.
· Where are the cuts to farmer subsidies and gas/oil exploration?
· Where is the investment piece? We still need to invest in infrastructure.
· He wants to push Medicaid to the states…the same states that are already cutting their Medicaid coverage. The poor and unemployed will be screwed.
· No mention of social security reform. Raise the retirement age and increase the payroll tax. Don’t even think about privatization.
Now President Obama needs to come forward with a credible plan of his own this week. He needs to show he is serious about deficit reduction and spending controls. If he does, he will convince the independents that he is serious and he can continue his counterpunching against the Republicans.