by Kathleen McKinley | October 26, 2011 4:31 pm
Paul Ryan gave a speech on the politics of division at Heritage today. Read the whole thing, but here is the heart of it:
Speaking of what Obama said as a candidate:
Do you remember what he said? He said that what’s stopped us from meeting our nation’s greatest challenges is, quote, “the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics — the ease with which we’re distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems.”
I couldn’t agree more.
And yet, nearly three years into his presidency, look at where we are now:
Petty and trivial? Just last week, the President told a crowd in North Carolina that Republicans are in favor of, quote, “dirtier air, dirtier water, and less people with health insurance.” Can you think of a pettier way to describe sincere disagreements between the two parties on regulation and health care? Chronic avoidance of tough decisions? The President still has not put forward a credible plan to tackle the threat of ever-rising spending and debt, and it’s been over 900 days since his party passed a budget in the Senate. A preference for scoring cheap political points instead of consensus-building? This is the same President who is currently campaigning against a do-nothing Congress, when in fact, the House of Representatives has passed over a dozen bills to help get the economy moving and deal with the debt, only to see the President’s party kill those bills in the do-nothing Senate.
Look, we put our cards on the table. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives advanced a far-reaching plan filled with common-sense reforms aimed at putting the budget on the path to balance and the economy on the path to prosperity.
But instead of working together where we agree, the President has opted for divisive rhetoric and the broken politics of the past. He is going from town to town, impugning the motives of Republicans, setting up straw men and scapegoats, and engaging in intellectually lazy arguments, as he tries to build support for punitive tax hikes on job creators.
Ryan hit the nail on the head. Pres. Obama calls for civil discussion, and then accuses Republicans of wanting dirty air and water. It’s absurd. It would be like President Bush saying that the Democrats want communism. That is how ridiculous it is, but he gets away with it with a willing media.
The President has wrongly framed Republican efforts to get government spending under control as hard-hearted attacks on the poor. In reality, spending on programs for seniors and for lower-income families continues to grow every year under the House-passed budget — it just grows at a sustainable rate. We direct tax dollars where they’re needed most, and stop spending money we don’t have on boondoggles we don’t need.
The President’s political math is a muddled mix of false accusations and false choices. The actual math is apolitical, and it’s clear: By the time my kids are my age, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the size of government will be double what it is today.
Government health care programs alone will have grown to consume 45 percent of federal spending. The primary driver of this increase is runaway inflation in health care costs, which are rising at 2 to 3 times the rate of GDP.
It’s impossible to keep funding health care expenditures at this rate. Even President Obama has said, quote, “If you look at the numbers, Medicare in particular will run out of money, and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up.”
So the real debate is about how best to control these unsustainable costs. And if I could sum up that disagreement in a couple of sentences, I would say this: Our plan is to empower patients. Their plan is to empower bureaucrats.
It gets better:
Obama quotes Reagan as saying that bus drivers shouldn’t pay a higher effective tax rate than millionaires. Well, that’s a no-brainer. Nobody disagrees with that.
But it is simply disingenuous to use this quote as evidence that Reagan would have supported the tax increases that Obama wants Congress to pass.
Reagan was attempting to build support for the landmark 1986 tax reform, a revenue-neutral law that reformed the tax code by lowering tax rates while broadening the tax base.
Reagan’s point — which President Obama clearly missed — was not that we should raise tax rates to chase out-of-control spending in Washington.
His point was that we should get rid of loopholes that are exploited by the few, so that we could lower everyone’s tax rates and help the economy grow.
On Obama sowing unrest:
This has the potential to be just as damaging as his misguided policies. Sowing social unrest and class resentment makes America weaker, not stronger. Pitting one group against another only distracts us from the true sources of inequity in this country — corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless.
Ironically, equality of outcome is a form of inequality — one that is based on political influence and bureaucratic favoritism.
That’s the real class warfare that threatens us: A class of bureaucrats and connected crony capitalists trying to rise above the rest of us, call the shots, rig the rules, and preserve their place atop society. And their gains will come at the expense of working Americans, entrepreneurs, and that small businesswoman who has the gall to take on the corporate chieftain.
It’s disappointing that this President’s actions have exacerbated this form of class warfare in so many ways:
His speech is long, but worth the read. Ryan really breaks down all the myths that Obama is trying to perpetuate, and he explains real solutions to our problems.
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