A question for the young ones: Perhaps you’d like an 88 percent tax increase? Perhaps not. If not, then the United States government must spend less on the major entitlement programs — Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And that has to happen approximately now.
Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget addresses Medicare and Medicaid spending, and the Democratic whining about that fact already is under way. Representative Ryan’s budget would cut some $4 trillion off the deficit in ten years. And we cannot get spending under control without reforming the entitlements — they are the main drivers of spending. Axing NPR and foreign aid is not going to balance the books.
The Democrats’ plan will be to make Paul Ryan the most hated man in America, if not the world. The campaign will be — and already is — personal. It will be personal because the facts are not on their side. Our choices are: 1. raise taxes severely, and pretend that that is not going to have catastrophic economic consequences; 2. court a national fiscal crisis on the Portugal model but on a significantly larger scale, and pretend that that is not going to have catastrophic economic consequences; 3. cut spending.
If I were a Republican strategist, I’d be preparing to make sure that the number 88 is on the tip of every tongue. Ryan’s entitlement reforms are intelligent and they are reasonable — an 88 percent tax hike is neither. And that’s the choice.