Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Great Deficit Debate: Opening Positions or Something More Serious

At their best Congressman Paul Ryan's and President Obama's plans for deficit reduction represent opening positions in a very serious debate. At their worst, they are both political documents highlighting the governing philosophies of each political party. If something serious is to happen taxes are going to have to be increased and the three major entitlement programs of medicare, medicaid and social security have to be radically reformed. But remember in this debate Ryan is more right than Obama because there is no amount of increased taxation that is capable of defusing the debt time bomb our country faces. Simply put the Congress wrote checks that the economy can't cash. Thus if either party is serious there has to be a real conversation about means testing, end of life care( yes, the infamous "death panels") and market oriented reforms. We will soon see how serious serious they are. Remember the Bowles-Simpson Commission proposal has all of the elements needed to make a start at a serious discussion. Unfortunately both Ryan and the president aren't there yet.

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