Expressing admiration last May for “Congressman Paul Ryan’s honest attempt to save Medicare”, Jon Huntsman wrote that critics of “his approach incur a moral responsibility to propose reforms that would ensure Medicare’s ability to meet its responsibilities to retirees without imposing an unaffordable tax burden on future generations of Americans.”
Today, as James Pethokoukis reports at the Enterprise Blog, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner took issue with Ryan”s comprehensive plan to put the nation back on a sound fiscal footing, telling the House Budget Committee Chairman “the following: ‘We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to that long-term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.'” (Via Instapundit.)
What a perfect illustration of the failure of this administration to offer leadership to one of the nation’s most pressing problems. We sure don’t like your solution, but, well, we don’t have one of our own.
Just as critics of Ryan’s Medicare reforms had a moral responsibility, to borrow Huntsman’s expression, to offer a plan of their own, so too do critics of the Republican budget have a responsibility to address the long-term problem of federal debt. Indeed, during the campaign, Obama said that “we’re going to have to embrace a culture and an ethic of responsibility, all of us, corporations, the federal government, and individuals out there who may be living beyond their means.”
His latest budget makes clear that, in his fourth year in office, he’s not prepared to embrace that culture or that ethic.
Pethokoukis goes on to detail problems in the president’s budget — and offers charts showing how rapidly debt would accumulate under Obama’s plan (and how the Democrat rejected the recommendation of the debt commission he created). So, just read the whole thing and ask yourself how this man can expect to campaign for reelection when his own Treasury Secretary acknowledges that this administration lacks a definitive solution to the growing debt problem.
UPDATE: It gets worse. “This,” writes Bryan Preston, “is the second year in a row that Geithner has described an Obama budget as unsustainable.” The Treasury Secretary said, ““Even if Congress were to enact this budget we would still be left with–in the outer decades as millions of Americans retire–what are still unsustainable commitments in Medicare and Medicaid.” He says he doesn’t like the Republican plan, but has put forward plan which doesn’t provide adequate commitments to these entitlements. This isn’t solving a problem, it’s kicking the can down the road. (Via Instapundit.)