Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Let the grown-ups lead: Paul Ryan describes his proposal to balance the budget

Paul Ryan's Balanced Budget Proposal

Paul Ryan’s Balanced Budget Proposal

In the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

America’s national debt is over $16 trillion. Yet Washington can’t figure out how to cut $85 billion—or just 2% of the federal budget—without resorting to arbitrary, across-the-board cuts. Clearly, the budget process is broken. In four of the past five years, the president has missed his budget deadline. Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in over 1,400 days. By refusing to tackle the drivers of the nation’s debt—or simply to write a budget—Washington lurches from crisis to crisis.

House Republicans have a plan to change course. On Tuesday, we’re introducing a budget that balances in 10 years—without raising taxes. How do we do it? We stop spending money the government doesn’t have. Historically, Americans have paid a little less than one-fifth of their income in taxes to the federal government each year. But the government has spent more.

So our budget matches spending with income. Under our proposal, the government spends no more than it collects in revenue—or 19.1% of gross domestic product each year. As a result, we’ll spend $4.6 trillion less over the next decade.

Our opponents will shout austerity, but let’s put this in perspective. On the current path, we’ll spend $46 trillion over the next 10 years. Under our proposal, we’ll spend $41 trillion. On the current path, spending will increase by 5% each year. Under our proposal, it will increase by 3.4%. Because the U.S. economy will grow faster than spending, the budget will balance by 2023, and debt held by the public will drop to just over half the size of the economy.

Yet the most important question isn’t how we balance the budget. It’s why. A budget is a means to an end, and the end isn’t a neat and tidy spreadsheet. It’s the well-being of all Americans. By giving families stability and protecting them from tax hikes, our budget will promote a healthier economy and help create jobs. Most important, our budget will reignite the American Dream, the idea that anyone can make it in this country.

The truth is, the nation’s debt is a sign of overreach. Government is trying to do too much, and when government does too much, it doesn’t do anything well. So a balanced budget is a reasonable goal, because it returns government to its proper limits and focus. By curbing government’s overreach, our budget will give families the space they need to thrive.

Since Obama was elected, he’s added over $5.5 trillion to the national debt. This is not sustainable. We cannot continue to pass on enormous levels of debt to our children so that 30-year-old students can have free condoms bought for them. It is immoral to spend trillions of dollars and then pass the bill to the next generation. Democrats like to talk about helping the children, but really they just want to force them to pay for their wasteful spending. It’s got to stop.

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Obama’s fiscal cliff deal leaves us on a path to 200% debt to GDP

From The Hill.

Excerpt:

The nation’s long-term fiscal outlook hasn’t significantly improved following the recent agreement between Congress and the White House over tax and spending issues, according to a new analysis.

The “fiscal cliff” deal, combined with the debt-limit agreement of August 2011, only slightly delays the United States reaching debt-to-gross domestic product levels that would damage the economy and risk another fiscal crisis, according to a report from the Peter G. Peterson Foundation released on Tuesday.

The agreement “may have prevented the immediate threats that the fiscal cliff posed to our fragile economic recovery, but we haven’t remotely fixed the nation’s debt problem,” said Michael A. Peterson, president and COO of the Peterson Foundation.

“The primary goal of any sustainable fiscal policy is to stabilize the debt as a share of the economy and put it on a downward path, and yet our nation is still heading toward debt levels of 200 percent of GDP and beyond,” he said.

The report concludes that the recent round of deficit-reduction measures won’t make major improvements because they fail to address most of the major contributors to the debt and deficit, including rapidly rising healthcare costs. 

[...]At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing last week, lawmakers and budget experts agreed that rising healthcare costs, such as Medicare, must be addressed this year as part of efforts to overhaul the tax code and entitlement programs.

“Until spending in those areas is reduced, tax revenues are increased, or policymakers implement a combination of both, the United States will continue to have a severe long-term debt problem,” the report said.

“Reforms should be implemented gradually, and fiscal improvements must be achieved before our debt level and interest payments are so high that sudden or more draconian reforms are required to avert a fiscal crisis.”

The latest deal that stopped income tax increases for those making $400,000 a year or less may have only improved the burgeoning debt situation by a year.

Scheduled spending cuts from the 2011 budget deal, combined with the fiscal cliff agreement, put the debt on track to reach 200 percent of GDP by 2040, five years later than was projected prior to the passage of the two deals. 

The recent deficit-reduction measure gave the nation an additional year before hitting that 200 percent threshold, the report showed. 

I saw an interesting interview featuring Captain Capitalism in the Washington Times. He thinks that the debt spiral is irreversible.

Excerpt:

DDG: What was your take on the “solution” we saw earlier this month to the so-called fiscal cliff crisis?

Clarey: Band-Aid put on a cut aorta.

DDG: My concern is that inflation is distorting all levels of American society. For example, as prices skyrocket from monetary dilation at the Fed, we have this effect where as Rose Wilder Lane says, everything becomes increasingly more expensive and government starts creating laws and fines just for the purpose of revenue generation. So the formation of a police state and this loss of freedoms is in large part a result of government wanting to get more and more revenues to finance outlays that are being dilated as a result of the inflation they themselves are creating. What’s your take on this?

Clarey: I don’t know if it would be at the police state yet where the federal government comes in and confiscates wealth, as much as it is something much more clandestine. The government likes inflation in that it increases asset prices. Thus when somebody sells an asset – land, stocks, bonds, et cetera – they have to pay a capital gains tax.

Forget whether there was an actual real rate of return for the investor, the government gets to tax the real capital gains and the inflationary capital gains. Inflation also erodes the value of the federal debt, forcing the costs on US treasury holders. However, unless things change, the government will be forced [to cope with] with a simplified problem: Does it inflate its way out of its debts or does it confiscate wealth to pay for it?

I can’t read Paul Krugman and Barack Obama’s minds – if any exist – but I believe they will opt to go the inflationary route to solve the country’s debt problems. If they went the wealth-confiscation route, that would mean nationalizing people’s IRAs, 401(k)s and brokerage accounts much like they did in Argentina and Bulgaria. I fear however, because of their political ideology they have no problems doing both.

I am expecting inflation to continue in the near term, followed by seizing retirement accounts if the Democrats take back the House in 2014. The amnesty of 12 million illegal immigrants should give them that. So, if you have a plan to escape this, you’d better execute it in the two years. The clock is ticking.

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Why is it so hard for a woman to find a good man to marry her?

Captain Capitalism explains all the reasons why men are not getting married any more, and what women can do to reverse the so-called “marriage strike”. In his view, it is women who voted for bigger government and higher taxes who are responsible for the decline of marriage among men.

His massive bullet-point list explains some of the things that women support that cause men to avoid marriage:

  • Did you hear of this “divorce fad” going around? Apparently men get to pay out the majority of the time be it alimony or child support.
  • Did you hear about this “divorce fad” going around? Apparently 65% of the time it’s women who initiate divorce.
  • Kids cost around $500,000 each to raise. given employment prospects we can’t afford that. Much rather buy a boat or frankly work all that much less.
  • Hey, you hear about this federal budget deficit and debt? Apparently we elected this guy “Barack Obama” and a bunch of democrats into office who are now mortgaging the future. This means our expenses in the future will be higher. Well, of course us “foolish, immature, pooping, farting boys” were too “immature” to vote for him like you wise women, but then again we’re too busy flinging poo at each other to ponder the future macro-economic ramifications of a collapsing dollar.
  • Hey, you hear about this social security medicare thing? Apparently enough “smart wise women” disproportionately kept voting for democrats to essentially have those immature 20 something men pay for the livelihood for these aging people. This added expense on our futures make’s it that much harder economically to commit to a wife and children.
  • Hey, you hear about this “welfare state” “medicaid” thing? Apparently enough “smart wise women” disproportionately over the years voted in enough democrats to essentially replace the role of fathers with government programs making fathers not only unnecessary, but an increasingly risky and unrewarding proposition, not to mention, making it easier for women to just up and leave their husbands, because well, “they needed to find themselves” and the government will take care of the kids while they go pursue their EPL fantasy.
  • Hey, did you hear about this “welfare state” thing? Apparently because we’ve now outsourced bringing up children to the government and have to create government jobs for all the “sociology majors” and “education majors”and “communications majors” our tax bill will go through the roof. Oh! Wait!!! No it doesn’t! I forgot! I’m a guy! I can live on very little, work a crappy job, work part time, live in a crappy apartment with my buds and STILL have enough disposable income to play video games and buy booze.

Remember that 77% of young, unmarried women voted for Obama (70% of unmarried women, but 77% of young unmarried women). And research shows that women consistently vote for bigger and bigger government, more wealth redistribution for the “poor”, and more intrusion into the family by the state. More government means higher taxes, and that makes it harder for men to have the authority in the home that comes from being the principle provider.

Not only that, but you have problems like no-fault divorce and biased domestic violence laws. Not to mention how feminism in the schools have left men earning fewer and fewer degrees, so that men lose the lion’s share of jobs during recessions. Women also lobbied Barack Obama to make sure that the stimulus was slanted towards preserving women’s jobs. I’ve merely touched on a few of the incentives against marriage. I could list even more factors, such as the easy availability of hook-up sex – why should men commit to the wife when they can get the sex for free?

What to make of all these facts? Well, men don’t like paying more in taxes and getting less liberty. It makes it harder for us to justify marriage rationally. We want to get married, but when we run the numbers, we see red, not black. Men can either afford marriage and family or government social programs, but we cannot afford both. We can either be husbands and fathers, or we can pay for welfare checks and social programs that replace men, for women who don’t want to have to deal with relating to a man.

I think the problem of men not wanting to marry is caused by women actually believing feminism – that men and women are identical. Once you believe that, there is no special role that men are supposed to play, and no way to distinguish a man who fills that role from one who doesn’t. According to feminism, which most young women believe, men aren’t meant to be providers, protectors or moral/spiritual leaders. Chastity is out. A boring, good-paying job is out. Morality is out. Sobriety is out. Apologetics and theology are out.

What’s in? Being good-looking, inoffensive, and entertaining. Women are not selecting responsible men because they think that the men can be changed to be responsible, through sex, or maybe through nagging, and eventually through the threat of losing all his money and custody of his children. Men aren’t stupid. They’ve noticed that responsibility and morality are out, and they’re acting like clowns because that’s what women prefer when getting drunk and hooking up. Remember that Duke University student and her report on all the men she slept with? – they were graded by physical attractiveness, sexual technique, popularity and athletic ability.

Many women today accept feminism, with its strong emphasis on selfishness and career advancement. Those women end up wasting their 20s on their careers and only pursue men who are attractive and entertaining. They aren’t looking to settle down with a protector/provider/moral leader/spiritual leader. They don’t want anyone to judge them or lead them. (Just try offering a woman a book on apologetics, and you’ll see what I mean). By the time they hit 35 and decide to get married, all the men are cautious. Men want to get married to women in their early 20s. What is the point of marrying a 35-year old woman who has lost her looks and her fertility? What is the value proposition for a man at that time? Plus, two decades of binge drinking, partying and hook-ups are not good preparations for creating a helpful, loving wife. Men are not stupid. We know the difference between a bitter, cynical harpy and chaste, loving princess.

Men do what women expect them to do in order to get sex. Just read the peer-reviewed studies on hooking up. If women don’t select men who can do specific things as husbands and fathers, then men won’t prepare themselves to do specific things. If they are already getting sex for playing the fool, then why should they do more than play the fool? If women obsessed over Paul Ryan and William Lane Craig, then that’s what men would aspire to. They don’t, and so men don’t. Mature men intimidate women with their strong opinions, moral judgments, and exclusive theological claims. Much better to have an immature man who is shallow and politically correct.

There is a way for women to get what they want from men, but they actually have to engage in conversations with men and find out what men want from women. And what men want from a marriage. What they want from children. What they want from government. What they want from schools. What they want from the workplace. What they want from the church. You can’t take away everything men need to marry and then expect them to marry. Nagging, belittling, withholding sex and controlling are not incentives for men to marry. Every time you break a man down, that is one less husband and father candidate. And eventually, the money flow dries up for the sperm-banks and social programs that substitute for men. What will women do then?

For myself, I am NOT on the same track as secular men (video games, alcohol, girlfriends and TV). I’m earning and saving to support Christian scholars and apologetics events in churches and universities. That’s my role right now until women destroy feminism with their own hands. Marriage is only good for me if it is good for God. And I need to be convinced that it will be good for God by whoever is applying for the job. I would like to see the reasons why I should marry in a woman’s moral decisions, her studying of difficult apologetic topics, and her political and economic conservatism. I would like to see that she understands men and marriage and understands how marriage and parenting can serve God, if done in an unselfish, moral and disciplined way. No pursuing happiness as the most important thing. No dismissing her moral obligations as “legalism”.

Making one woman feel happy with a diamond ring and an expensive wedding is not a good choice for me when I could spend a lot less money sponsoring a stack of debates over my lifetime on Christian topics, in front of hundreds of thousands of university students, or even in churches. There are ways that marriage could be a good deal for God, but I want to see the value proposition for marriage before I sign up. So far, most women seem to resent the idea that marriage should be have to be proven good for God. They resent being asked questions that test their authenticity and capabilities as Christians. But everything we do is for God, don’t I have a right to ask what is in it for him? I think a lot of Christian men are asking that question. What’s in it for God? In fact, Paul recommends the single life in 1 Cor 7 precisely because of the dampening effect that ineffective Christian women have on men. Most Christian women refuse to “woman up” and learn how to be a good wife and mother – so why should a man choose that?

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U.S. per person debt now $53,378 – 35% higher than in Greece

Obama 2013 Budget Debt Projection

Obama 2013 Budget Debt Projection

From the Weekly Standard. (H/T WGB)

Excerpt:

“According to estimates from the International Monetary Fund, America’s total government debt will be $16.8 trillion by the end of the calendar year, compared to $441 billion for Greece,” the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee explains.

“On a per person basis, that means U.S. debt is $53,400 for every man, woman, and child, compared to $39,400 for every man, woman, and child in Greece. The disparity between per capita debt in the U.S. and Greece has grown 40 percent (roughly $8,400) since 2011. Now, U.S. per person debt is 35 percent higher than that of Greece, and is also higher than per capita debt in Portugal, Italy, or Spain (which together with Greece make up the so-called PIGS countries).”

That’s based on total government debt.

And from CNS News, this for Americans under the age of 18:

If Americans under the age of 18 were required as a group to pay off the entirety of the federal government’s debt in equal shares, each would now need to pay about $218,676.

That is more than the $130,468 average price tag for four years at a private college or the $173,100 median price for an existing one-family home in the United States.

During the time Barack Obama has been president, the U.S. government debt has increased from approximately $143,255 per American under 18 to approximately $218,676 per American under 18–a climb of $75,421 or about 53 percent.

If you know anyone under the age of 18, it might worth explaining this to them.

UPDATE:

H/T The Elusive Wapiti.

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Fact check of Obama’s budget: is there really $4 trillion in deficit reduction?

Here’s a story from the House Budget Committee, where Paul Ryan is the leader.

Paul Ryan made these two charts to help him discuss Obama’s new budget with Obama’s budget director.

Debt Increase in President's Budget
Debt Increase in President’s Budget

And:

Actual savings is 410 billion, not 4 trillion
Actual savings is 410 billion, not 4 trillion

Watch these clips to see Paul Ryan and Scott Garrett use the charts to do nasty things to Obama’s budget director.

Clip 1 of 3:

Clip 2 of 3:

Clip 3 of 3:

Guy Benson discusses both videos at Townhall.com.

Excerpt:

Ryan does a masterful job of puncturing Zients’ arguments, but let’s reiterate a few points that may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

(1) The White House is claiming that spending cuts within the Budget Control Act of 2011 — which is entirely separate from the FY 2013 budget — should count as savings “achieved” by their new proposal.  This is silly on its face, but crosses into laughable territory when one recalls that throughout much of the debt fight, President Obama adamantly opposed a cuts-for-debt-ceiling-hike quid pro quo.  He was on the record in favor of — demanding, in fact — zero cuts. Republicans dragged him into the BCA against his will; now he’s trying to take credit for that past action in next year’s budget.

(2) The White House says Obama’s budget “saves” $850 Billion by not fighting two wars at peak spending levels for another full decade.  This money was never proposed because the scenario is pure fiction.  These risible “savings” represent a White House bear-hug of Moon-Yogurt accounting. “Heaven help us” is right.

(3) Zients’ isn’t able to recall how much money this budget adds to the national debt.  You’d think the White House Budget Director would have that figure committed to memory (he likely does, but doesn’t want to admit it on camera), but let’s help him out:  The budget he’s defending adds nearly $11 Trillion to the debt, on top of the roughly $5 Trillion increase over which this president has already presided.  I seem to recall an infamous Right-wing zealot calling this sort of governance “unpatriotic.”

Next, we have Rep. Scott Garrett, a strong conservative from Northern New Jersey, asking Zients when the president’s budget comes into balance.  Zients refuses to directly respond to the question, perhaps because the correct answer is “never”…

Indeed, the closest Obama’s budget ever comes to balancing (expenses = revenues) within the ten-year projection window is 2017′s annual deficit of $617 Billion, which is still more than double the size of President Bush’s average annual deficit. Finally, Garrett lures Zients into a trap over Obamacare.  Garrett asks if a family making less than $250,000 per year (“the rich” cut off) is subject to a tax increase if they fail to comply with Obamacare’s individual mandate…

The president sold Obamacare to the public by characterizing the resulting mandatory pay-out as a “fine,” not a tax increase.  He even mocked George Stephanopoulos’ suggestion that it met the dictionary definition of a tax hike.  Once the law passed, however, the administration’s lawyers pulled an about-face and have defended the mandate in court by arguing that the fine is, in fact, a tax increase after all.  Zients has apparently reverted back to the outmoded argument, thus undermining his own administration’s legal defense of their signature “accomplishment.”

What I find frustrating is the media does such a poor job of vetting these “4 trillion dollar” claims that Obama makes. Sometimes, I wonder why anyone listens to mainstream media at all. What do you really learn?

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