Well before Memorial Day, the Obama administration will achieve a dubious distinction, having accumulated more debt in those 40 months than George W. Bush accumulated in 96. With the Treasury Secretary acknowledging yesterday that his team (i.e., the administration) doesn’t have a “definitive solution” to the nation’s growing debt problem, we now know that they’re punting on a crisis that Barack Obama, as candidate, promised to address.
Although the Democrat put himself forward as the adult in the room during last summer’s negotiations on the debt ceiling, this week’s budget shows that he and his advisors have been anything but grownup in dealing with the debt crisis. Last fall, just after the House Budget Committee Chairman “spoke on ‘The American Idea’ at the Heritage Foundation in Washington”, Peggy Noonan explained why Paul Ryan merited the honorific the president accorded to himself:
Mr. Ryan receives much praise, but I don’t think his role in the current moment has been fully recognized. He is doing something unique in national politics. He thinks. He studies. He reads. Then he comes forward to speak, calmly and at some length, about what he believes to be true. He defines a problem and offers solutions, often providing the intellectual and philosophical rationale behind them. Conservatives naturally like him—they agree with him—but liberals and journalists inclined to disagree with him take him seriously and treat him with respect.
Ryan scored the president for his pettiness and slammed “corporate welfare and crony capitalism”:
Rather than raise taxes on individuals, we should “lower the amount of government spending the wealthy now receive.” The “true sources of inequity in this country,” he continued, are “corporate welfare that enriches the powerful, and empty promises that betray the powerless.” The real class warfare that threatens us is “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.”
In that speech as in others as well as in the budget he has authored, Paul Ryan has been making the “tough choices” the president hails, but fails to make himself. In this current crisis, we need more leaders like Ryan who score the president for kicking the can down the road. That is the crucial issue in the coming election.
Should more Republicans think and speak like Ryan, Peggy contends, “the party would flourish. People would be less fearful for the future. And Mr. Obama wouldn’t be seeing his numbers go up.”