On April 15th, the House approved the GOP’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget resolution. Chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan extolled the plan in the Wall Street Journal (“The GOP Path to Prosperity,” 4-5-11): “Our proposal brings federal spending to below 20% of gross domestic product (GDP), consistent with the postwar average, and reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion.” [Over ten years, compared to the deficits in President Obama’s budget!]
But Ryan’s “super-aggressive” plan merely “hopes” to get deficits down into the $400 billion range and not for at least six years! Typically, politicians seek to deceive the public with budgets that push the real discipline off to future Congresses, which inevitably repeat the ruse.
Moreover, Ryan’s suggestion that spending be limited to a specific share of America’s GDP accepts a very dangerous socialist vision of open-ended federal authority. The Constitution does not authorize the federal government to do whatever it claims will advance the social condition — as along as America can afford it. And since mushrooming unconstitutional spending during the postwar period built the foundation for our current troubles, we certainly don’t want that level enshrined as a standard.
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What happened to the Constitution as a restraint? Although Ryan proposes to eliminate Obama’s grossly unpopular health care takeover, his proposal leaves decades of unconstitutional programs and departments intact, which sap our nation’s vitality. Ryan’s proposed “spending caps” will not prevent those programs from expanding once the voters tire of watching or demagogues generate some new spending pretext, such as another war. “Leadership” that throws in the towel to socialist gains can never restore America to prosperity and preserve our freedom.
America needs leadership in Congress now that will target all of the unconstitutional departments and programs that have sprung up since the New Deal.