Overex­tended Amer­ica

Ryan bud­get of­fers a be­tween pros­per­ity and de­cline

The Washington Times Daily - - Opinion - By R. Em­mett Tyrrell Jr. By Kris­tan Hawkins

Win much of the na­tion from the Great Plains to the Pa­cific and down to the Mex­i­can bor­der.

In Septem­ber, the court at the heart of the re­gion, the 10th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals, reread terms in one e in Amer­ica to­day live in a coun­try cir­cum­scribed by en­ti­tle­ment poli­cies de­vised by an Amer­ica that has steadily been dis­ap­pear­ing. Those poli­cies es­tab­lished more than a gen­er­a­tion ago can­not pos­si­bly — in math­e­mat­i­cal or de­mo­graphic terms — sup­port the Amer­ica of the present, much less the Amer­ica of the fu­ture. That is the stark re­al­ity.

We need to re­form those poli­cies or we shall go bank­rupt, and rais­ing taxes on the “rich” will not fix things. Even rais­ing taxes on the mid­dle class will not fix things. Nor will spend­ing a tril­lion dol­lars more than we have on hand to fix things. Even­tu­ally, those tril­lion-dol­lar deficits have to be paid off. Facts are facts; the day of reck­on­ing that our hay­seed politi­cians have said was up the road a piece is here. We have to do some­thing now and we can be­gin by grow­ing the econ­omy.

That is the bur­den of House Bud­get Com­mit­tee Chair­man Paul Ryan’s care­fully thought-out bud­get for fis­cal 2013. The way he would get the econ­omy grow­ing again is by low­er­ing the cor­po­rate tax rate from 35 per­cent to a more com­pet­i­tive 25 per­cent. He would al­low Amer­i­can cor­po­ra­tions to bring prof­its earned abroad home with­out penalty so they could in­vest in jobs and fac­to­ries here. His bud­get would elim­i­nate the com­plex­ity of the tax code on in­di­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies and con­sol­i­date the tax brack­ets from the cur­rent six to two brack­ets of 10 per­cent and 25 per­cent. He ar­gues that rev­enue would re­main steady be­cause of the elim­i­na­tion of spe­cial-in­ter­est loop­holes and be­cause of eco­nomic growth.

As for con­fronting the bud­getary over­hang, the Ryan bud­get of­fers dis­ci­plined spend­ing cuts that amount to $5.3 tril­lion over the next decade. He would re­turn to the states the re­spon­si­bil­ity for fed­eral pro­grams such as food stamps and Med­i­caid, for at the state level the needs of the cit­i­zens are bet­ter un­der­stood than at the na­tional level. He would re­or­ga­nize ed­u­ca­tion and job train­ing and make Pell grants de­pen­dent on need. Tak­ing on the ma­jor force be­hind our bud­getary ex­i­gency, Mr. Ryan plans a com­plete over­haul of health care, elim­i­nat­ing Oba­macare and re­form­ing Medi­care. For those in or near re­tire­ment, there would be no change in Medi­care. For those fac­ing re­tire­ment a decade from now, the House bud­get pro­vides guar­an­teed cov­er­age for var­i­ous op­tions to be fi­nanced by “pre­mium sup­port.” Re­cip­i­ents can bid for var­i­ous op­tions made avail­able by com­pet­ing in­sur­ance com­pa­nies. As Mr. Ryan said in the Wall Street Jour­nal the day be­fore he an­nounced his bud­get, “Forc­ing health plans to com­pete against each other is the best way to achieve high-qual­ity cov­er­age at the low­est cost.”

That same day Mr. Ryan an­nounced on Youtube, “Amer­i­cans have a choice to make — a choice that’s go­ing to de­ter­mine our coun­try’s fu­ture. Will it be the fu­ture that looks like the Amer­ica we know — one of greater op­por­tu­nity, greater pros­per­ity — or more of what we’re see­ing to­day, debt, doubt and de­cline?” That stress on choice is be­com­ing a theme of Repub­li­cans, as op­posed to Pres­i­dent Obama’s En­ti­tle­ment State.

It’s a choice of one pol­icy over an­other pol­icy, choice over the gov­ern­ment strait­jacket. Choice is the nat­u­ral con­se­quence of a peo­ple who be­lieve in per­sonal lib­erty.

By mak­ing choices in public pol­icy, one cre­ates com­pe­ti­tion and all the ben­e­fits that come from com­pe­ti­tion. One cre­ates bet­ter poli­cies, poli­cies suited for in­di­vid­u­als’ vary­ing needs. One cre­ates ef­fi­cien­cies in dis­tri­bu­tion and in de­sign of poli­cies. Ever since the New Deal, the Nanny State men­tal­ity has been de­vel­op­ing ever more in­tru­sive poli­cies to gov­ern our lives and to limit our free­doms. The re­sult is the En­ti­tle­ment State and the tril­lions of dol­lars of loom­ing debt. Mr. Ryan and his Re­pub­li­can col­leagues think their bud­get can even­tu­ally elim­i­nate the debt and get the econ­omy grow­ing again. More­over, they be­lieve a suf­fi­cient num­ber of Democrats are con­cerned about our free­dom and the bud­get over­hang to act in a bi­par­ti­san man­ner — at least on some of the mat­ters he has taken up. We shall see, but for now, the Se­nate Democrats have not even at­tempted a bud­get in three years. such agree­ment be­tween Texas, Ok­la­homa, Arkansas and Louisiana — the Red River Com­pact. Tak­ing a pro­vi­sion univer­sal to in­ter­state water pacts, the court said that de­spite decades of his­tory and the ob­vi­ous rea­son states en­tered into these bind­ing ar­range­ments in the first place, a state could with­hold water oth­er­wise due it un­der the law from an­other state.

No act of le­gal re­vi­sion­ism by any cir­cuit court in the coun­try has so much po­ten­tial to gen­er­ate eco­nomic dis­rup­tion. If the Supreme Court de­clines to re­view, the rul­ing will be­come law. Through the 10th Cir­cuit’s states flow such es­sen­tial rivers as the Colorado, on which cities from Den­ver to

The gov­ern­ment, in di­rect op­po­si­tion to the trans­parency Pres­i­dent Obama promised, just loves to do big things in se­cret — like Oba­macare’s Se­nate ap­proval at mid­night on Christ­mas Eve of 2009 — and re­lease broad man­dates on Fri­day nights, when the me­dia are less likely to cover them. In fact, much of the news that Mr. Obama and Health and Hu­man Ser­vices (HHS) Sec­re­tary Kath­leen Se­be­lius would be forc­ing re­li­gious em­ploy­ers to vi­o­late their con­sciences was re­leased on Fri­days.

Not break­ing from tra­di­tion, Mrs. Se­be­lius and com­pany de­cided to re­lease the lat­est at­tack on the First Amend­ment on the eve of St. Pa­trick’s Day, dur­ing March Mad­ness — classy. That’s when Mrs. Se­be­lius is­sued a “clar­i­fi­ca­tion” to the HHS man­date, the un­prece­dented as­sault on in­di­vid­ual rights and re­li­gious free­dom. It’s a di­rect shot at col­lege stu­dents and all uni­ver­si­ties, re­gard­less of whether or not they have a moral ob­jec­tion to pro­vid­ing con­tra­cep­tion and abor­tion-in­duc­ing drugs in their in­sur­ance plans.

The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is forc­ing all uni­ver­si­ties, in­clud­ing Catholic ones, to pro­vide this cov­er­age to their stu­dents. If Catholic col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties ob­ject, they have a year to fig­ure out how to “vi­o­late their con­sciences,” as Car­di­nal Ti­mothy Dolan point­edly said.

There are 678 Stu­dents for Life groups on more than 600 cam­puses spread through­out this coun­try. The gov­ern­ment is telling them that they must buy into an in­sur­ance plan that uses their money, paid in pre­mi­ums, to pro­vide fel­low stu­dents with drugs that cause abortions. The outrage and fury these stu­dents feel is in­de­scrib­able. How dare the gov­ern­ment tell them they must fund the ex­ter­mi­na­tion of un­born chil­dren, who are at the most vul­ner­a­ble stage in life.

San­dra Fluke, the Ge­orge­town law stu­dent who tes­ti­fied in front of Congress that the gov­ern­ment should be pay­ing for her birth con­trol be­cause it’s too ex­pen­sive, does not rep­re­sent us. Our stu­dents take per­sonal re­spon­si­bil­ity for their ac­tions and do not want the gov­ern­ment forc­ing Los An­ge­les and San Diego de­pend, and the Yel­low­stone, the source of water for the north­ern frack­ing fields, not to men­tion Fort Worth and Dal­las, which are di­rectly in­volved in the ap­peal. Al­ready Wy­oming, an­other 10th Cir­cuit state, is con­sid­er­ing with­hold­ing Colorado River water from down­stream Colorado and Den­ver.

Creative reread­ing of long-es­tab­lished terms of law and con­tract is ex­actly the kind of ju­di­cial re­vi­sion­ism that has fos­tered chaos in fields rang­ing from tort to en­vi­ron­men­tal law. Do we re­ally need the vast vol­ume of lit­i­ga­tion and le­gal sur­prises that have be­come all but rou­tine in those sec­tors seep­ing into yet an­other vi­tal area of the na­tion’s le­gal struc­ture? In our fac­tious con­tem­po­rary po­lit­i­cal life, can such far­reach­ing in­ter­state agree­ments as our water com­pacts, signed in the more placid pe­ri­ods, be put back to­gether if the courts pull them apart?

On Fri­day, the Supreme Court will de­cide whether or not to re­view the 10th Cir­cuit decision in Tar­rant. On small hinges, great doors swing. On this case rests a vast fu­ture for the Amer­i­can West and, with it, for the en­tire coun­try. them to pay for some­one else’s birth con­trol, ster­il­iza­tion and abor­tion-in­duc­ing drugs. But fur­ther, they rec­og­nize that this is only the be­gin­ning of the gov­ern­ment’s con­trol over our lives if this man­date is al­lowed to stand.

If we don’t fight this in­tru­sive, un­prece­dented and un­con­sti­tu­tional rul­ing, the gov­ern­ment will no have lim­its. Stem­ming from Oba­macare, this mon­strous law will face its day at the Supreme Court next week. If Oba­macare is not struck down by the court, I fear to think what the gov­ern­ment will do with its new­found power to force Amer­i­cans to pur­chase a par­tic­u­lar prod­uct, whether they want to or not.

This is the not the Amer­ica our Found­ing Fa­thers en­vi­sioned. Our na­tion was cre­ated by peo­ple who were es­cap­ing re­li­gious op­pres­sion. Mr. Obama and Mrs. Se­be­lius aren’t “ac­com­mo­dat­ing” any­one, much less peo­ple who are morally op­posed to con­tra­cep­tion, ster­il­iza­tion and abor­tion-in­duc­ing drugs. They are de­priv­ing Amer­i­cans of ba­sic free­doms.

Oba­macare must go, and the HHS abor­tion man­date must go along with it. Forc­ing col­lege stu­dents to pay for their fel­low stu­dents’ con­tra­cep­tives, ster­il­iza­tions and abor­ti­fa­cients is un­con­scionable. The ad­min­is­tra­tion ob­vi­ously knows this is a bad idea be­cause the news was re­leased when no one would be pay­ing at­ten­tion.

This fight isn’t over. In fact, it is just be­gin­ning. The fu­ture of our na­tion, our free­doms and our lib­er­ties is at stake, and we aren’t back­ing down.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY HUNTER

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY HUNTER

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