Thursday, December 2, 2010

"The Moment of Truth"

"The Moment of Truth" is here.   This 66-page report from the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform documents the arrival of our country at the crossroads. This is the time to choose whether oceans of debt begin to recede and our planet debt star begins to heal.  John Merline, AOL Opinion Editor, spots a few hidden gems buried in the report:
2) Health reform's cost savings apparently were bogus. Remember how Democrats boasted that health reform would cut the budget deficit by $170 billion over the next decade and far more after that? The deficit commission must not have gotten that memo. It says health spending projections under the new law "count on large phantom savings" and the reform law's new long-term care program that the report calls "unsustainable." As a result, Congress will still need to enact "a number of other reforms to reduce federal health spending and slow the growth of health care costs more broadly."
Who knew this thing would turn out to be a "fiscal Frankenstein?"  Aside from the 600 + posts I wrote on the subject, nearly everyone who was paying attention knew the Democratic math didn't add up.  The only way the cost curve  would be bent with this fiasco was upward.  The report at least acknowledges "the elephant in the room."

Despite offering high praise for the committee and the report, Congressman Paul Ryan is not going to vote for the plan:
"Obviously, I’m not going to vote for it,” said Congressman Ryan, who is an important voice on the commission as incoming chairman of the House Budget Committee come January.

Ryan’s biggest problem with the debt commission report, he said, was that “it not only didn’t address the elephant in the room, health care, it made it fatter.“
Just what we need, a fatter elephant.  Where is Michelle with her diet advice when we need her?  Maybe she is out buying another pair of $600 sneakers.  She, like her husband is a big spender:
5) Obama is a big spender. Although President Barack Obama has talked about fiscal discipline -- and set up this deficit commission -- his own budget plan would spend $350 billion more on so-called discretionary programs over the next decade than if the government were just left on autopilot, according to the report. 
I am completely shocked at this news.  I thought we had a  big old Blue Dog living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Read the rest of Merline's list of hidden gems, there are quite a few.

Despite my doubts real reform is possible under this president, I agree with Paul Ryan who praised the report for putting a plan on the table and elevating the discussion on our looming financial crisis to "adult level."  Ryan is wise, as always, for calling attention to the elephant in the room.  This is the moment to get that elephant out of the living room and the "Blue Dog" out of the White House.

Ed Morrissey  has more.

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