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Is GOP budget path to prosperity?

Paul Ryan, the Republican House member and budget guru is a courageous individual. In an election year Ryan publishes a budget proposal while other, less brave, politicians hide beneath their blankets hoping never to discuss such serious issues in an election year.

But more than courageous, Ryan is also unabashedly advancing a budget that is politically explosive, and that really is an incredible political risk.

Mr. Ryan deserves all of our recognition for this budget, and for putting its implications and foundations before the American people at a time when decisions should be made by the voters about the future direction of the nation.

Clearly, Republicans and Democrats have two very different views of America’s future, and those differences have created a political inertia in Washington as the political power of the two parties has remained relatively balanced over the last few years.

Seemingly, doing nothing while the deficits climb and the debt grows has found some level of acceptance in political circles.

Democrats have, for their part, been unwilling to advance anything remotely like the Ryan budget that would reflect their spending priorities. While the newest budget from the White House does offer at least a partial roadmap to Democratic priorities, Democrats in Congress have not embraced that budget. So we are left with no clear Democratic budget map for America.

Conversely, the Ryan budget has the support, to varying degrees, or all the Republican presidential candidates and the Republicans in Congress, so it truly is representative of the visions of the Republican Party today.

The vision of Republicans, contained within the Ryan budget, present priorities every American should be aware of when they enter the voting booth.

Republicans believe that the defense budget, nearly doubled over the last decade, should continue to increase as we exit Iraq and Afghanistan.

Republicans believe that we should deeply cut federal spending and use the savings to make permanent the Bush tax cuts, and grant additional tax cuts to the richest Americans. The deficit, on the other hand, would not be eliminated until 2040 under the Ryan plan.

Republicans believe that we should reduce the social safety net, cutting aid to children, reducing Pell grants to students, saving money on food programs for the needy and reducing insurance support for S-CHIP children.

Republicans would cut spending on Medicare and Medicaid and transfer Medicaid funding decisions to the states that are today struggling to provide basic services to their citizens.

Republicans would make fundamental changes in Social Security, the most popular American social program, changes that would reduce federal costs to the program, saving money to be used for tax cuts and defense spending.

The Republican budget is honest in representing the views of the Party.

These above mentioned priorities are those of Republicans…favoring defense, tax cuts for the wealthy and reduced services for the poor.

Voters can and should vote their convictions. If these priorities match yours, then vote Republican. At least the Republican Party has been willing to come before voters in an election year and state its argument.

The philosophical argument that underlies these priorities is whether or not we are a nation of folks who are on our own, the Republican vision, or a nation of people united together for a concept called “the common good.” If we are on our own, then we should keep our money, cut all government and make our way. If we are united we should build a strong nation together including help for those who need it in troubled times.

The choice is yours.


Jim Crawford is retired educator and political enthusiast living here in the Tri-State.