Expect Rep. Paul Ryan's proposal that cuts federal spending by $6 trillion over 10 years to get shredded by his political opponents. Some aspects of it deserve to be shredded.
But first, Americans should commend the Republican from Wisconsin for having the guts to do what almost every politician from both parties has failed to do: Offer a serious and specific proposal that tackles the country's unsustainable and skyrocketing debt.
With Democrats controlling the Senate and the White House, Ryan's plan will not become law. But as chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan has the stature to force a desperately needed national debate over what kind of pain we as a country are willing to tolerate to get our fiscal house in order.
That it is out of order is beyond argument. The federal debt is north of $14 trillion and is climbing by more than a trillion a year. We borrow 37 cents of every dollar we spend. More importantly, the U.S. debt as a percent of GDP is the highest it has been since the country was founded, except during and immediately after World War II. With retiring baby boomers poised to nearly double the number served by Medicare over the next 20 years, the problem will move from ominous to debilitating.
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