The Flimflam Artist Versus the Green Eye Shade

The response to the annual State of the Union address usually receives about as much attention as a quilting contest.

If the State of the Union address is a yawner, than the response is a sleeper: a deep, deep sleeper.

Not this year.   With the country’s economy stagnant and jobs as scarce as boyfriends for Ellen DeGeneres, we were ready for the unvarnished truth and that is exactly what we got from Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

This year, the contrast between the president’s speech and the Republican response was striking.  Both Obama and Ryan are excellent speakers. While the president is an expert at reading the Teleprompter,  Ryan is an expert in economics.  He can write those speeches as well as deliver them – off the cuff.

Obama has always been adept at making us believe what he believes – or doesn’t.  Obama – the government – can solve every problem.   Ryan was intent on making us believe the unbelievable: The great U.S.  economy is in trouble.  We are fast approaching a point from which there will be no way out.  The government cannot spend its way out of this hole, nor can it be responsible for the basic needs of every citizen.

Ryan: “We believe, as our founders did, that ‘the pursuit of happiness’ depends upon individual liberty; and individual liberty requires limited government. Limited government also means effective government. When government takes on too many tasks, it usually doesn’t do any of them very well.”

While Obama was promoting spending or “investing” more borrowed money, Ryan maintained that we cannot continue to spend money we don’t have.  It has to stop.

Obama proposed to freeze domestic discretionary spending for the next five years.  Now consider the fact that last year he proposed a three-year freeze when his party had a lock on Congress.   He had the ability to make it happen, but he didn’t.   In fact,  the Democrats have increased domestic discretionary spending 21 percent in the last two years.  Yes, Obama has grown the government at 10 times the rate of inflation and now he wants us to let it ride.

Meanwhile, just hours before that State of the Union address, the Republican-led House voted to freeze 2011 spending at 2008 levels.  Ryan would go further, but this is a start.

Obama railed against earmarks.  How many times have we heard that rant before?  Meanwhile Republicans in the House and Senate have banned them for the next two years.

In other thinly veiled effort to make us believe that he is fiscally responsible, Obama mentioned his own fiscal commission that called for tax hikes and spending cuts to reduce the deficit and federal debt.   Obama never endorsed it, nor did he give us a clue Tuesday night as to what aspects he supports or opposes.  In a sop to his base, Obama did say, he wants to increase taxes on the rich (those who create the jobs we so desperately need.)

Yes, one of these men is an ideologue.  It isn’t Ryan, although he has been called one by his detractors.  Ryan voted for TARP and the auto bailout simply because he believed these things were necessary at the time to prevent a total economic collapse.

Ryan, at 41, is nine years younger than the president but has tons more economic and congressional experience.  Furthermore, unlike the president and most of his colleagues, he has offered specifics for balancing the budget and reforming entitlements.   His proposals, by necessity, are controversial – so controversial that many go-along-to-get-along  Republicans have tried to distance themselves from him.

That may now be impossible.   Ryan is the new chairman of the House Budget Committee and his colleagues have voted to give him the unprecedented power to set spending limits for the balance of the year.  Bear in mind.  All spending bills must originate in the House of Representatives.  Like it or not we must – and we will – listen to him.

With this divided government, the president was right about one thing, “We will move forward together, or not at all.”  This could lead to a government shutdown.  Bring it on!

The most important words in either speech came in the form of a warning from Ryan, “Americans are skeptical of both political parties, and that skepticism is justified – especially when it comes to spending. So hold all of us accountable.”

Paul Ryan’s plans for balancing the nation’s books are not perfect but at least he has some and he has put them out there.   He is one of the few grownups who now hold public office.  We need a lot more of them. That’s where you and I come in.

4 thoughts on “The Flimflam Artist Versus the Green Eye Shade

  1. The budget of the Federal as well as state governments could be much improved with the elimination of benefits to non-Americans. Billions are being spent on people who do not contribute in any way to the cost of the benefits through paying taxes.

    We could also eliminate billions from the budget by reducing fraud in the “entitlement” programs. When LBJ found that he could not get a tax increase through congress, he hired 5,000 IRS agents. He got the income wanted. Lets hire 5,000 auditors for the Medicare program and more than pay for their salaries by eliminating fraud.

    There is much conservative rage about redistribution of wealth, but nothing is being said about redistributing American wealth through buying foreign oil. Lets produce enough oil, which we can, to bring our wealth back home.

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  2. We have listened to so many promises by the established politicians that their words are like toasted marshmallows that blow up in your mouth and leave you with the burnt outer edges.

    I notice the only programs they talk about cutting are important programs such as defence, sticking it to our boys in the military; Education give it back to the states and lets teach the basics of reading writing, mathamatics, economics (which it seems was not taught to our Government officials) and yes, how about the real history of America and the world, we are supposed to learn through history and avoid mistakes of the past.

    We could care less about the sex life of a rat or the drug habits of a monkey, why don’t they cut those money sucking programs. I guess they think we don’t know about pork and give me, give me. I’m having to cut my budget so DC get on board cut yours, and start cutting some of your perks.

    America was built on mans ability to invent, design to overcome and take pride in his achievements. We don’t need government breaking mans dreams of advancement and opportunity through taxation and regulation.

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  3. Jane,
    I enjoy your viewpoints.
    For me, the SOTU speech was more a yawner than any kind of truth. I did not expect a campaign speech. In our serious economic crisis, I expected a serious assessment and reasonable solutions. It was “pie in the sky”. For analagy: I am deeply in debt so I decide the solution is to buy an expensive fur coat and charge it. America needs jobs. America needs to stop spending. Obama cannot create jobs. He has created bureaucracies filled with pencil pushers on bloated salaries bleeding the taxpayer. He wants to “invest” in more jobs(?). Have you been pining for a fast train? We have no money for trains. Do you have compassion for the illegals who have broken our laws and bankrupting schools,hospitals,social services, penal systems, cities and states. Obama does.
    Obama wants to “invest”( code word for spend) on green energy. Green energy has been proved a lie.

    Obama wants the Federal Reserve to punch the computer and create billions from thin air for corrupt politicians to spend, spend and spend. Taxpayers are to pay the interest on this debt(?) as well as the principal. I resent the president demeaning our students. We need socialism out of the schools. The president is confused and afraid but remains narcistic. Ryan was in the real world.

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