Supporters of the “Path to Prosperity,” including many of my fellow Republicans, say that we have to stop spending money we don’t have, an idea I promote every chance I get. But under the proposal by Mr. Ryan of Wisconsin, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, the federal government would continue to spend more than it will this year.
Spending would grow by an average of 3.4 percent annually, only slightly less than the rate under President Obama’s plan, which is 5 percent a year. After 10 years — Mr. Ryan’s target for eliminating the deficit — the “Path to Prosperity” will have spent $41 trillion, when the president’s plan would allow spending of $46 trillion. My party’s de facto position has become “we’re increasing spending, but not as much as the other guy.” That’s not good enough.
Just reducing growth in spending does almost nothing. We have to dig deeper and make profound cuts now. We cannot continue to assume that future Congresses will do our dirty work for us.
We ought to get rid of certain federal departments and agencies, stopping only to shift the role of governing back to the states, where it belongs. The Departments of Education and Energy, for example, are two bloated bureaucracies that we don’t need; their core functions would be absorbed by the states through block grants, saving taxpayers at least $500 billion over the next decade.
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