Posted by: Christopher Ryan | Mon 20 Jun, 2011

My take on Congressman Paul Ryan’s 2012 Budget Bill

          I originally wrote this on 14 April 2011 as a Facebook note.  I thought this was a good issue to get started on and my opinion remains the same.  So I hope you enjoy!

I recently read Congressman Paul Ryan’s, of Wisconsin, 2012 Budget Resolution Bill and I decided to give my opinion of the bill.  If you wish to read the bill for yourself you can do so at http://www.gop.gov/resources/library/documents/budget/path-to-prosperity.pdf.  The actual bill is titled “THE PATH TO PROSPERITY RESTORING AMERICA’S PROMISE” and is a 73 page PDF document.

Overall I’d say that I like the bill however it does have its flaws.  I do believe that this is the best bill, or solution, out there to date however I don’t think it goes far enough and cuts the budget quick enough to get us out of our deficit spending.  The bottom line is that we cannot spend more than what we have.  Every cent that we spend over what we have adds to our outrageous debt.  The US Federal Budget Deficit (which is the difference in the amount spent by Congress and the revenue received by the Internal Revenue Service) is over $1.3 Trillion and the US National Debt is over $14.2 Trillion, and for those of you that cannot comprehend that it’s over $14,200,000,000,000. (Source: US Debt Clock http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html)

Now I would like to point out some major problems in the United States Budget.  Some of the biggest problems in government spending are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the new health care law.  This is by no means all of the problems but it is the majority of the problem and I will take the time to go over these individually and more.

Social Security was first enacted in 1935 under President Roosevelt. You much first understand that Social Security is financed through a pay-as-you-go system.  This simply means that the current social security tax is being paid to current retirees.  In 1935 the life expectancy for men was 58 and for women 62.  So for someone to live to be 65 in that day meant they most likely couldn’t do much and needed some kind of an income.  Today the average life expectancy is 77.9 years!  However the Social Security Administration still requires someone to be 65 years old to begin receiving social security.  This bill would require the President and both chambers of Congress to work together to find a fix to this problem.  I, however, would suggest Congress to let everyone that is currently on SS to continue to draw it, but raise the age of future SS entitlements to an age above the current life expectancy, even if you have to do it in small increments over the next five to ten years.  (Sources http://www.ssa.gov/history/lifeexpect.html, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lifexpec.htm)

Now, moving on to Medicare and Medicaid…  Medicare was established by Congress on July 30, 1965 and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson.  As crazy as it sounds Medicaid was established on the same day and authorized under Title XIX of the Social Security Act.  To talk about Medicare and Medicaid you must first talk about health care in general.  The inflation rate in health care has raised seven percent in 2010 in comparison to one percent in all other goods and services.  The problem with the health industry is the insurance companies.  I hate to say that but the reason healthcare is so expensive is because when you go to a clinic or hospital or wherever you go for your healthcare when you need a band aid or whatever the nurse goes in to get the band aid and looks up your insurance company and how much they will pay for it.  If your insurance company will pay $3 for a band aid then they will charge $3 for that band aid when you can go to the store and buy a box of band aids for $3.  This system is corrupt within its self and needs to be changed.  But as far as Medicare goes this bill would provide a Medicare payment and a list of guaranteed coverage options from which recipients can choose a plan that best suits their needs.  It would also fix the Medicare physician payment formula for the next ten years so that Medicare beneficiaries continue to have access to health care.   Also under this bill the Federal Government would end the one-size-fits-all approach by converting the federal share of Medicaid spending into block grants that would give each state the flexibility to tailor their Medicaid programs to the specific needs of their citizens.  (Sources http://www.socialsecurity.gov/history/corning.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medicaid)

All of this leads me to the infamous New Health Care Law.  I would like to inform you that I did not read the full 906 page document nor am I going to.  Nancy Pelosi urged Congress to pass it without reading it.  She said that they had to pass it so they could find out what was in it.  That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard from a Congressmen/woman.  On March 23, 2012 President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or 42 USC 18001, into law.  This law would require US citizens and legal residents to have qualifying health coverage.  It would also require the individuals or families to pay a “penalty tax” each year that they don’t have coverage.  These mandates of the law would not take full effect until 2014, however many of its practices are already being used.  Two Federal Judges have already declared this law unconstitutional; however it is certain that it will make its way to the Supreme Court.  By repealing the President’s health care law, which this bill would do, we would be eliminating roughly $800 billion in tax increases.  (Source http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-111publ148/pdf/PLAW-111publ148.pdf, http://www.kff.org/healthreform/upload/8061.pdf)

Now on to something that’s near and dear to the Republican’s heart… Defense.  Like previously stated I like Paul Ryan’s bill but this is one of the areas that I don’t think he went far enough on.  He gave a proposal of $692.5 billion for the defense budget.  This is half a billion dollars more than the 2010 budget.  I thought we were supposed to be cutting the budget not increasing it.  To be fair the budget does give some savings in some area of defense but why give them that budget if they aren’t going to use it.  There are ways of cutting defense spending while keeping all of the necessary things… it’s called cutting waste.

Now, as far as other government agencies go, this bill requires discretionary spending (which includes transportation, energy, education, foreign aid, and funding for most government agencies) to be returned to levels prior to 2008 and freeze is area of spending for five years.  Also, it repeals Obama Care and moves toward patient-centered reform and ends useless government programs.  It is supposed to raise private-sector jobs and at the same time slow the public sector jobs.  However, it’s only a 10% reduction and over the next three years.  I believe there needs to be a more drastic percent over a less time span.  There is entirely way too much waste and useless jobs that can save money.

Some other areas that this budget resolution covers include ending corporate welfare, earmark bans, and changing Washington’s culture of spending.  We will no longer bailout irresponsible corporations and financial institutions.  By doing this we would stop our leaders in Washington from picking their own winners and losers across the country.  It would also put a ban on legislative provisions that directs approved funds to be spent on specific “pet projects”.  This bill would establish a cap on discretionary spending for 2012 and would outline a path for an enforceable cap for the next decade.  Caps on the total size of government would be enforced.

Last, but certainly not least, we have the United States Tax Code.  The US Tax Code was enacted in 1913 under President Woodrow Wilson.  In 1913 the US Tax Code was 14 pages, today it’s over 70,000 pages.  Congressman Ryan’s bill calls for a reform of the tax code by consolidating the current six tax brackets and cutting the top individual rate from the current 35 percent to 25 percent.  While I applaud Congressman Ryan’s strides I can’t help but want it to go further.  Our current system is way too complex and needs to be put much simpler.  I recommend a flat tax.  This will tax everyone a certain percentage of what they make.  It would probably be a 12, maybe 13, percent tax.  Not only individuals but you’d also get that same 12 or 13 percent from companies.  No loopholes just a simple flat tax.  That way it is fair across the board.  Capitalism can work the way it was designed to work.  (Sources http://uscode.house.gov/download/title_26.shtml, http://www.quicksprout.com/2010/02/18/the-complexity-of-the-us-tax-system/)

This is where I stand on Congressman Paul Ryan’s bill.  I agree with many politicians that this was a bold proposal but I think that it’s going to pay off.  I think this bill is forcing President Obama and the far left look more seriously at themselves and are realizing that they are not going to just get their way anymore.  They need to realize that the people have spoken and we want a change for the better.  We do not want the far left and we don’t want the far right.  We want to get back to the center or just right of center where our founders placed us.  We need to get back to the Constitution and our founding documents.  Our nation’s leaders need to take a hard long look at their oaths and read the part that says that they “swear to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America” those are not just words said they are supposed to live and serve by them.   I’m not saying that this bill is going to pass but I think that something similar will.  I give Congressman Ryan props for proposing it.  I think that it’s the best budget bill out there to date, however like stated I just don’t think that it goes far enough.  This is my opinion and I welcome yours…  I’m sure I’m going to get beat up from all directions on this one and that’s ok.  I’ll be happy to debate anything and if we disagree then I’ll be happy to agree to disagree.

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