Responding to Jerry Ortiz y Pino on the federal budget

Recently, Jerry Ortiz y Pino went on the offensive against Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget. While the budget is imperfect, it is a starting point for a much-needed discussion on national priorities.

My response is below:

Jerry Ortiz y Pino predictably attacks Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget for attempting to reduce tax rates while also cutting government spending. While Jerry and I may disagree on the long-term impacts of Ryan’s tax policy changes, I certainly agree that in this area Ryan makes serious political miscalculations.

However, liberals from President Obama on down are not dealing with reality if they believe that our federal government can continue to grow without serious economic repercussions. Federal spending has doubled since Clinton’s last budget from $1.8 to $3.7 trillion and, if left unchanged, so-called “entitlements” like Social Security and Medicare will consume the entire budget very quickly (combined, they already account for 50% of the budget).

How big is the problem? Even if we eliminated all $700 billion in defense spending from the federal budget in a given year, we’d still have a $700 billion annual shortfall. And, while Ortiz y Pino talks taxes, we could confiscate the wealth of everyone in the nation with incomes greater than $250,000 and we’d only close the budget for one year. What we’d do the next year is anyone’s guess.

Ryan’s budget is a starting point. It makes needed changes to Medicare, the fastest growing and most unsustainable major program, but he does not address Social Security. The fact is that Ryan is the only one having the discussion about needed reforms. Obama is not and liberals in Congress have not proposed needed reforms or tough cuts.