Commenting on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new Path to Prosperity, The Washington Post‘s Ezra Klein writes:
The real point of Ryan’s budget is its ambitious reforms, not its savings. … Ryan’s budget is intended to do nothing less than fundamentally transform the relationship between Americans and their government. That, and not deficit reduction, is its real point, as it has been Ryan’s real point throughout his career.
Ezra slightly mischaracterizes Ryan’s goal here, (Ryan would probably argue that his budget sought to restore Americans relationship with the federal government to the way it was before The Great Society, not “fundamentally transform” it), but he is otherwise essentially right: the debt is just a symptom of the federal government’s overreach. Even if we did not have our current deficits (as we didn’t in the 1960s) conservatives would still oppose the expansion of federal government powers.
But this false focus on debt goes both ways. Commenting on President Obama’s new charm offensive, The Weekly Standard‘s Stephen Hayes writes:
In a taped interview with ABC News, Obama told George Stephanopolous: “We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt. In fact, for the next ten years, it’s going to be in a sustainable place.” … Why would the president challenge his party’s liberal base, a constituency his advisers believe is the key to winning back Congress in 2014, in order to implement policies he opposes to address an issue he doesn’t regard as urgent? The simple answer: He won’t. … Reforming entitlements and reducing the deficit just isn’t an Obama priority.
So if deficit reduction is not Obama’s real priority what is? Well, just look at this New York Times headline after Obamacare became law, Obama’s speech in Osawatomie, Kansas, or Obama’s Second Inaugural. Fighting income inequality through the government redistribution of wealth is Obama’s real top priority. That is why he is insisting on a new round of tax hikes even though his supposed Keynesian economic beliefs would call for lower taxes and higher deficits in this currently slow economy. Obama’s priority isn’t economic growth or deficit reduction: it is income redistribution.
That is why there is zero chance their will be any “grand bargain” on the deficit as long as Obama is president and Republicans control the House. Republicans want to shrink the size of government to create economic growth, and Democrats want to grow the government to redistribute income. These are diametrically opposed goals. There is no middle ground compromise between them.
From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: Supreme Court should jettison Obama’s recess appointments
Tim Carney: Liberals use gun control to claim cultural superiority
Philip Klein: We can’t wait for the crisis, Mr. President
Conn Carroll: Why Republicans aren’t shutting down the government over Obamacare
In Other News
The Washington Post, Democrats challenge Obama on Medicare and Social Security cuts: While Democratic leaders are offering quiet support for Obama’s renewed campaign to strike a grand bargain with Republicans that would include cuts to Social Security and Medicare, a significant number of Democratic lawmakers are digging in their heels and vowing to protest any reduction in promised benefits.
The Wall Street Journal, Squeeze Looms for Doctors: U.S. medical schools are expanding to meet an expected demand for more doctors spurred by the federal health law. With 12 new schools opening and existing ones growing, enrollment is on track to produce 5,000 more graduates a year by 2019.
McClatchy Newspapers, Gun background-check database missing vital information: Even as lawmakers look for ways to curb gun violence, the federal government and various states haven’t sent send millions of mental-health and drug abuse records to the database that’s designed to keep firearms from people who are barred from owning them, according to recent studies.
Reuters, U.S. to let spy agencies scour Americans’ finances: The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.
David Corn profiles Scott Prouty, the man who filmed Mitt Romney’s 47 percent video.
Ezra Klein calls the Senate Democrats’ $1 trillion tax hike “conservative.”
William Galston suggests Obama triangulate on the Keystone XL pipeline.