This is, indeed, a contrast in visions. We are in the middle of a struggle for the future of our country, and the budget blueprint lays out the parameters of that struggle.
This table, from the House’s Committee on the Budget’s Web site, lays out the contrast pretty clearly.
The President’s Budget
|Net $1.5 trillion increase relative to current policy
|Cuts spending by $5 trillion relative to President’s budget
|Imposes a $1.9 trillion tax increase; Adds new complexity and new hurdles for hardworking taxpayers, making it more difficult to expand opportunity
|Prevents President’s tax increases; Reforms broken tax code to make it simple, fair, and competitive; clears out special interest loopholes and lowers everybody’s tax rates to promote growth
|Four straight trillion-dollar deficits; Breaks promise to cut deficit in half by end of first term; Budget never balances
|Brings deficits below 3 percent of GDP by 2015; Reduces deficits by over $3 trillion relative to President’s budget; Puts budget on path to balance
|Adds $11 trillion to the debt – increasing debt as a share of the economy – over the next decade; Imposes $200,000 debt burden per household; Debt skyrockets in the years ahead
|Reduces debt as a share of the economy over the next decade; Charts a sustainable trajectory by reforming the drivers of the debt; Pays off the debt over time
Size of Government
|Size of government never falls below 23 percent of the economy, making it more difficult to expand opportunity
|Brings size of government to 20 percent of economy by 2015, allowing the private sector to grow and create jobs
|Slashes defense spending by nearly $500 billion; Threatens additional cuts by refusing to specify plan of action to address the sequester; Forces troops and military families to pay the price for Washington’s refusal to address drivers of debt
|Prioritizes national security by preventing deep, indiscriminate cuts to defense; Identifies strategy-driven savings, while funding defense at levels that keep America safe by providing $554 billion for the next fiscal year for national defense spending
|Doubles down on health care law, allowing government bureaucrats to interfere with patient care; Empowers an unaccountable board of 15 unelected bureaucrats to cut Medicare in ways that result in restricted access and denied care for current seniors, and a bankrupt future for the next generation
|Repeals President’s health care law; Advances bipartisan solutions that take power away from government bureaucrats and put patients in control; No disruption for those in or near retirement; Ensures a strengthened Medicare program for future generations, with less support given to the wealthy and more assistance for the poor and the sick
A couple of comments are in order (I’ll ignore the political hype in the characterizations in both sides of this table and address only the actual data provided).
First, notice that President Obama’s budget (about which neither he nor his Senate Democrat minions are serious; this is just a campaign speech) both increases Federal spending an enormous amount and increases taxes even more. This certainly is one way to balance the budget (IFF the tax revenues resulting from those increases actually occur; however, raising taxes actually lowers tax revenue flowing by reducing the economic activity that produces those revenues), but it does so at the expense of our economy’s ability to function. It constitutes $3.4 trillion dollars taken away from individual Americans and our businesses, either directly—those taxes—or indirectly by taking our spending decisions away from us and putting them into the hands of the Federal government. It says that we Americans are utterly incapable of making our own money allocation decisions; we must yield those to our Betters in government.
The House budget blueprint, though (it’s certainly true that it could serve as a campaign speech, but it has the added—and critical—advantage of being an actual, workable budget blueprint), recognizes two fundamental things: the money involved is ours, not government’s; we only allocate some of our money to government to spend on our purposes (and not on government’s purposes). Secondly, the government does not need the money, it does not need those taxes; government does need to spend less. Period. It really is that simple.
My second comment concerns the two plans’ attitude toward the appropriate size of government and from that their attitudes toward us Americans. Obama wants to expand government, not only in size but in authority over our lives. Government is the answer to our problems, and so the Progressives seek to increase our dependency on government. Moreover this increase in dependency is not limited to those of us who already are government dependents. Progressives want to make us all government wards. We cannot be trusted to work out our own solutions, to make our own decisions. We’re just not good enough at it.
The House blueprint, in stark contrast, shrinks the size and power of government. This blueprint respects and trusts us Americans to make our own decisions, and to do a better job for each of us individually, as well as for any groups of us, than government can ever hope to do. After all, at best, government is limited either to a one-size-fits-all solution (which perforce actually fits no one) or to a collection of “solutions” tailored to groups of us (groupings defined by government, mind you, not by us) that demands an army of bureaucrats to administer and another army of lawyers to interpret and defend.
The choice, then, is clear: whom should we elect this fall? A collection of politicians who don’t trust us with our own lives, or a collection of politicians who are looking actually to reduce government’s—and their—power over us?