The Gauntlet is Thrown Down

The United States will hit the legal limit on its ability to borrow no later than May 16, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Monday, ramping up pressure on Congress to act to avoid a debt default.

But, according to the Democrats “we ain’t broke” 🙂

Previously, the Treasury had forecast that the $14.3 trillion statutory debt limit would be reached between April 15 and May 31. As of Friday, Treasury borrowing stood just $95 billion from the ceiling.

The debt-limit showdown comes as Congress struggles to complete a spending package that would keep the government operating beyond Friday.

Republicans are seeking to use that bill to enact deep spending cuts and lawmakers are focusing on a proposal to trim this year’s budget by $33 billion, a relatively small amount compared with a projected $1.4 trillion deficit.

Some lawmakers have called for legislation to force the Treasury to first pay interest on U.S. bonds before other obligations, such as unemployment benefits and Social Security and Medicare payments, as a way to stave off a debt default. (KFYI)

But don’t worry, you’re “heartless” according to Democrats if you cut $20 billion dollars from this year’s budget! 😦

The Republican budget proposal will eliminate the national debt while still preserving costly entitlement programs like Medicare and Social Security, Rep. Paul Ryan told CNBC.

Speaking just hours before the spending plan gets its formal introduction before Congress, Ryan, head of the House Budget Committee, said the debt will peak at 74.5 percent of gross domestic product in 2014 and then drop from there.

“We’ve got to show the country that we can get this situation under control and grow the economy, and that’s what we’re doing,” he said. “So whether (Democratic Senate Majority Leader) Harry Reid is willing to pass this bill or Barack Obama is ready to sign it, I don’t know the answer to that question.

“What I do know is I can’t look my kids and my constituents in the eyes with my conscience being clear and not know that I didn’t do everything I could to try and fix this problem before it got out of control.”

Among the key tenets in a budget resolution to be presented are fundamental changes to the way Medicare and Medicaid are financed. The resolution forestalls action on Social Security, though Ryan said he expects a bipartisan agreement on that issue later this year.

More broadly, the plan contains provisions that Ryan has said will slash $4 trillion from federal spending over the next decade.

The resolution is necessary as a potential shutdown looms over Washington and Congress must approve raising the national debt limit.

Ryan acknowledged the political obstacles he will face both from Democrats and some members of this own party who may bristle at the aggressive spending cuts involved.

“The problem in Washington is, they take any honest and sincere attempt to fix this problem and use it as a political weapon against you in the next election,” he said. “We can’t let that deter us.”

Budget: Republicans are set to unveil common-sense changes to entitlements that cut spending $4 trillion over the next decade and start to restore our fiscal health. Predictably, do-nothing Democrats call them “extremist.”

But who’s the real extremist here? The one who recognizes that $10 trillion-plus in expected deficits over the next 10 years is a serious problem? Or those who insist there’s no budget problem so bad that more spending and a massive tax hike on all Americans can’t fix it?

Truth is, our long-term fiscal problem is so severe that, absent immediate corrective action, our country’s political and economic future is imperiled.

By the Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ own estimates, we are running headlong into a fiscal tsunami. All told, the government’s entitlement accountants say, we have roughly $107 trillion in unfunded liabilities — $340,836 and change for every American alive today.

Even if you’re generous and reduce that by the amount of assets the government has, the future red ink at the end of the 2010 fiscal year was still about $57 trillion — $7 trillion for federal pensions, $17 trillion for Social Security, $22 trillion for Medicare, and about $11 trillion or so in debt. That’s $481,000 for every U.S. household.

For Democrats to refuse to cut spending in the face of such numbers is the definition of “extremist.”

The fiscal cancer is growing fast. As the chart shows, based on estimates from the Government Accountability Office, spending on entitlements and interest on our debts will soar from just 11% of GDP this year to over half of our economy by 2065.

That means that, in that year, children born today will see 50 cents of every dollar they earn turned over to the government to pay for retirees’ benefits. As intolerable as that is, today’s Democrats have chosen to ignore it, screaming instead about “Wall Street” bailouts and “taxing the rich.”

Unfortunately, the Democrats’ panacea of higher taxes will sink the economy. Just to pay for Social Security and Medicare would require a near tripling of the current tax rate of 15.3% by the middle of the century.

Americans would be slowly bankrupted by such policies — and so would the government.

In that context, House Budget Committee chief Paul Ryan proposes $4 trillion in cuts. Extreme? Even if he cut $6 trillion, our national debt would still rise. Faced with $10 trillion in deficits, $4 trillion is just a modest start. Now we’ll see who the real extremists are. (IBD)

We already know who the Liberal Media and the Democrats will blame: The Tea Party and The Republicans.

What Ryan wanted,Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) declared, is “to protect tax breaks for millionaires, oil companies and other big money special interests, while slashing our investment in education, ending the current health guarantee for seniors on Medicare, and denying health care to tens of millions of Americans.”

The Talking Points are set. Now it’s time for 24/7 Mainstream Ministry of Truth Media’s  constant drumming of them.

Andy Griffith will be dusted off again.

So get ready for EVEN MORE demagoguery of my excuse list (see 2 days ago).

After all, we aren’t broke. And if it ain’t broke the Democrats don’t want to fix it. 🙂

Political Cartoons by Nate Beeler

Political Cartoons by Lisa Benson

Political Cartoons by Henry Payne

Political Cartoons by Jerry Holbert