Paul Ryan was on Fox News Sunday this morning, talking about the House Republicans’ budget that he will unveil next week. Unlike Barack Obama and the Democrats, Congressional Republicans intend to make a serious effort to salvage our country’s future:
WALLACE: Four trillion [in budget cuts over the next decade]?
RYAN: We’re looking at more than that right now. We’re fine- tuning our numbers with the Congressional Budget Office literally today, over the weekend. But we’re going to be cutting a lot more than that.
WALLACE: So more than $4 trillion, which is a significant number, because that was the president’s debt commission cut the deficit by $4 trillion.
RYAN: Yes, we will be exceeding the goals that were put out in the president’s debt commission.
WALLACE: How do you do that?
RYAN: By cutting spending, reforming entitlements and growing our economy. Look, we intend to not only cut discretionary spending and put caps on spending, you have to address the drivers of our debt. …
Now the good thing we have going for us is we have time to fix this problem. So the kinds of reform we’re going to be putting out there won’t make changes to people who are already in or near retirement. If you’re 55 or older, you won’t see changes. You won’t have to reorient your lives around these things.
But if we keep kicking the can down the road and keep making more empty promises to people, then we’ll have the European kind of pain and austerity. Then you have cuts to current seniors, tax increases that slow down your economy.
By addressing the drivers of the debt now, we do it in a gradual way. … And we are going to put out a plan that gets our debt on downward trajectory and gets us to a point of giving our next generation a debt-free nation. That in and of itself will help us grow the economy today and create jobs.
WALLACE: All right, we’re going to get to the entitlements in a moment. But first of all, you as I understand it, would set a cap on discretionary spending as percentage of economy. How would that work?
RYAN: A cap on all spending as a percentage of the economy.
Ryan acknowledged that the Democrats will pull their usual tricks:
WALLACE: Last question, as you look ahead, and a lot of people would say look, the answer is you’re not going to get this budget passed. It’s really setting up an issue and — and a sensible debate for 2012.
As you look ahead to the next election, aren’t Democrats going to be able to say, look at Paul Ryan, look at the House Republicans. They want to kill Medicare, they want to kill Medicaid, they want to gut the programs that you depend on. Aren’t you playing into the Democrats’ hands?
RYAN: We are. We are giving them a political weapon to go against us, but they will have to lie and demagogue to make that a political weapon.
Look, we don’t change benefits for anybody over the age of 55. We save Medicare, save Medicaid. We save these entitlement programs. We repair our social safety net, and we get our country a debt-free country for our children and grandchildren’s generation. And we get jobs. We get economic growth.
They are going to demagogue us, and — and it’s that demagoguery that has always prevented political leaders in the past from actually trying to fix the problem. We can’t keep kicking this can down the road.
The president has punted. We’re not going to follow suit. And, yes, we will be giving our political adversaries things to use against us in the next election, and shame on them if they do that.
Eloquently put. As of Tuesday, the battle will be joined, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. It is not an exaggeration to say that whether the United States of America has a future depends on whether the Democrats’ demagoguery can be overcome.