The Corner

From Billions to Trillions

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) delivers the weekly Republican address to discuss his 2012 budget — “The Path to Prosperity” — a bold, serious effort to “move the debate in Washington from billions of spending cuts, to trillions.”

“…more than just a budget, it is a commitment.”

The facts are these: Washington has not been telling you the truth about the magnitude of the problems we are facing. Unless we act soon, government spending on health and retirement programs will crowd out spending on everything else, including national security. It will literally take every cent of every federal tax dollar just to pay for these programs.

The non-partisan experts have been clear about what this means: Each day that congress fails to act, the government takes one step closet to breaking its promises to current reitrees. each year that policymakers kick this can down the road means trillions of dollars in empty promises are being made to future generations. If we stay on the current path, we are heading toward a debt-fueled economic risis meaning massive tax increases, suddent cuts to vital programs, runawaya inflations, or all three.

Make no mistake, the prospect of a crisis is casting a shadow on economic activity in this country. Uncertainty is preventing job creators from hiring as fast as they should be. Businesses know that all this borrowing and spending today means higher taxes and lower incomes for their customers down the road. Eceonomists agree, advancing a credilbe solution to this crisis will begin to restore confidence and create better conditions for job creation immediately.

The President’s recent budget proposal is worse than just a commitment to this status quo. It would actually accelerate this country’s decent into a debt crisis. It would double the debt held by the public by the end of his term, and triple it in a decade from now. It would raise taxes by $1.5 trillion, even though the problem is that Washington spends too much, not that Americans are taxes too little. It would permanently enlarge the size of government by sending government spending as a share of the economy skyrocketing to levels that a healthy economy cannot sustain. And it offers no real reforms to save government health and retirement programs. And no leadership.

Our budget is very different. Instead of locking in the spending spree of the last two year, our budget cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president budget over then next 10 years. This keeps government spending as a share of the economy consistent with the historical average of 20 percent, so that individuals in the economy can be free. Instead of letting deficits spiral out of control, our budget keeps borrowing in check, and puts us on a path to balance. Instead of adding $13 trillion to the debt over the next decade and trillions more in the years to come, this ‘path to prosperity’ lifts this crushing burden of debt that is threatening our economy and our children’s future.

It is not too late to fix America’s fiscal problems. It is not too late to get our country back on track, so our kids can also realize the American Dream, we can and we must preserve this nations exceptional promise. Because that is exactly what previous generations of Americans worked so hard to do for s. It is time for officials in Washington to stop acting like politicians and to start acting like leaders.

We have a legacy to fulfill. It is time for all of us to get to work — put an end to empty promises and advance a path to prosperity.

Andrew StilesAndrew Stiles is a political reporter for National Review Online. He previously worked at the Washington Free Beacon, and was an intern at The Hill newspaper. Stiles is a 2009 ...


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