|Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), official portrait|
The Democrats have shown that they really don’t want anything beyond simply nominal cuts, those being cuts that won’t matter in the actual spending situation. Republicans have, I think, been too shy about the idea of shutting down the government, if the need should arise.
As I mentioned recently, the House GOP majority must assert its power over the budget if any actual progress is to be made, shutdown or not. If the GOP doesn’t approve it, it can’t happen. If somehow a GOP budget is passed by Congress, it would still face a possible presidential veto. Boehner needs to maintain his position that there will be substantial cuts, or no debt limit increase will be approved. Period.
Americans for Limited Government posted the following video of remarks by Boehner to the Economic Club of New York, and added their own comments:
As reported by The Hill,
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Boehner was being inflexible by refusing to move from his opening position that the nation’s borrowing limit should only be raised with a deficit-reduction deal built on trillions in spending cuts and no new taxes…. “Maximalist positions do not produce compromise,” said Carney, who described Boehner as restating his “starting position” with his New York speech. 
It would be nice to get Democrats on board with the kind of cuts Boehner has in mind, but it will likely require a stand of inflexibility, at least no compromise on major points, to get any kind of budget that will keep our economy viable over the next few years, let alone growing. Democrats have very little in the way of ideas to grow anything except debt and government. They have demonstrated that they are unable to improve the employment picture to any significant degree.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has done admirable work in producing his “Plan for Prosperity,” and, while it may need some tweaking here and there, it currently represents one of the few, if not the only, serious plan to address the actual problems, including entitlements. Democrats are anxious to use his plan to scare seniors into thinking that Medicare is going away, when in fact, if the types of changes he proposes are not implemented, Medicare will have to go away, because it will not be possible to fund it. Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security represent tens of trillions of dollars of unfunded liabilities, which do not show up on the formal budget.
A Ryan-type plan that seriously and credibly addresses the entitlement issues, and seriously cuts current spending, even into the future, is probably the only route, at this point, to avoiding a disastrous collapse. Even if the plan became law, there are still deep concerns. One, a future Congress can repeal it; two, the Fed can so damage the dollar that the numbers may become meaningless in a currency collapse. But without a cut on the scale proposed by Ryan, or even greater, we are only greasing the skid to the edge of the cliff. And gravity will take over.
 Erik Wasson, “Carney: Boehner being inflexible on debt,” 05/10/2011, The Hill.
Illustration: Public domain.