Opinion Columns & Blogs

Mathematics and the presidency

It is mathematically indisputable that should President Barack Obama obtain his legislative desire and increase taxes on those making $250,000 a year or more the nation would not close even this year’s budget deficit. Never mind the $16 trillion in national debt. The income brought in through that tax increase would not balance this year’s federal budget.

It is also mathematically indisputable that should the Democrats obtain the ultimate fantasy of the grade school marxists routinely populating the ranks of left-wing economists, more commonly referred to as the “Occupy Wall Street” movement -- confiscating 100 percent of income from all those making $250,000 a year or more -- the nation still would not close this year’s budget deficit.

Grade school Marxist pablum about the rich paying their fair share and not building their businesses aside, the Democrats’ covetousness of American salaries accomplishes nothing more than temporarily satiating their addiction to spending.

Rep. Paul Ryan, as Mitt Romney’s vice presidential nominee, has made a career of shining the spotlight on the Democrats addiction to spending. Ryan’s budget plan, called the “Path to Prosperity” has become a necessary lightning rod on the road to fiscal sanity. Because of the president’s spending addiction, the nation has been without a real budget for more than 1,000 days. President Obama’s budget plans for the past few years have been too radical even for the most radical Democrats in Congress, failing to pass even the Democrat-controlled Senate with a single vote.

Despite the rhetoric from spending addicts on the left, Ryan’s plan is not the radical path conservatives would prefer. The plan does not balance the federal budget for three decades and is premised on the assumption that future congresses will show restraint. Three decades is an extraordinarily long time, but the plan does eventually balance, which is something the president’s own budget never does.

The Democrats will demagogue Ryan’s budget plan. They already have run commercials showing a Ryan look alike shoving a grandmother off a cliff. The hysteria ignores that under Ryan’s plan senior citizens will not see their Medicare benefits affected.

Under his slow moving plan, people 55 and younger begin to have choices they can make about their future retirement and health care needs. The Ryan plan moves people fully out of the present failing system into modern options within the control of the taxpayer himself. But it only does so for people more than a decade away from retiring. For taxpayers who increasingly distrust Washington and who think the present system will not be there for them anyway, it gives them control of their future in a way Democrats only talk about about.

Choice for Republicans involves trusting the American people to handle their affairs and retirement. Choice for Democrats involves only the option to kill children, with everything else pre-packaged in one size fits all government bureaucracy. These two visions of choice will be at the heart of the 2012 presidential campaign season.

Ryan’s plan, sadly, is not nearly as aggressive as it should be or could be. It takes too long to balance the budget. It keeps too many people in the present entitlement system for too long. But it begins, at least, to fix the system and give choices about retirement and health care the present system does not.

More importantly, this “Path to Prosperity” tackles issues directly weighing on our economy and future that President Obama has had four years to tackle and chose demagoguery and passing the buck instead.

Erick Erickson is a CNN contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.