The Obama pitch: Don’t ask us for a plan, just reject the GOP’s plan

With Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate, the entire presidential campaign will — or should — boil down to this exchange between Ryan and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner during a House hearing on President Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget back in February (text of transcript courtesy of Real Clear Politics):

Ryan: Here’s the point. Leaders are supposed to fix problems. We have a $99.4 trillion unfunded liability. Our government is making promises to Americans that it has no way of accounting for them. And so you’re saying yeah, we’re stabilizing it but we’re not fixing it in the long run. That means we’re just going to keep lying to people. We’re going to keep all these empty promises going.

And so what we’re saying is, in order to avert a debt crisis — you’re the Treasury Secretary — if we can’t make good on our bonds in the future, who is going to invest in our country? We do not want to have a debt crisis. And so it comes down to confidence and trajectory. Do we have confidence that we’re getting our fiscal situation under control, that we’re preventing the debt from getting at these catastrophic levels?

If we go back to the preceding chart, number 13, you’re showing that you have no plan to get this debt under control. You’re saying we’ll stabilize it but then it’s just going to shoot back up. So my argument is, that’s Europe. That is bringing us toward a European debt crisis because we’re showing the world, the credit market’s future seniors — people who are organizing their lives around the promises that are being made to them today — that we don’t have a plan to make good on this.

Geithner: Mr. Chairman, as I said, maybe we’re not disagreeing in a sense. I made it absolutely clear that what our budget does is get our deficit down to a sustainable path over the budget window.

Ryan: And then they take back off.

Geithner: Why do they take off again? Why do they do that?

Ryan: Because we have 10,000 people retiring everyday and health-care costs going up.

Geithner: That’s right. We have millions of Americans retiring everyday, and that will drive substantial further rise in the growth of health-care costs. We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to our long-term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.

Read that last part again: “We’re not coming before you to day we have a definitive solution to our long-term problem. What we do know is we don’t like yours.”

In other words, we prefer Nero-esque fiddling to your plan.

In other words, we’d rather stick to promises that can’t be kept than level with the American people and treat them like adults.

When Geithner admits the Obama administration has no “definitive solution,” what he really means is the Obama administration has no solution, no proposal, no plan, at least nothing it wants to talk about publicly, for keeping our fiscal condition from spiraling completely out of control. That’s no exaggeration: Check out the chart to which Ryan referred, which comes from the Obama administration’s own FY13 budget:

Our future under Barack Obama

Our future under Barack Obama

See, the most Barack Obama is willing to do — in his fourth, count ‘em, fourth budget proposal — is to “stabilize” our debt at the highest level, as a share of the economy, since the end of World War II. In fact, according to his budget, that’s the most Americans can expect for the two presidential terms that would follow his hypothetical second term.

After that, he ostensibly would be willing to let us zoom into the abyss on auto-pilot than propose any sort of meaningful reform to the programs that put us on this path. That’s chiefly Medicare — although, as an Associated Press report notes, we face a shortfall of Social Security funding totaling $134 trillion during the next 75 years, i.e. the period of time that covers the retirement of “just about everyone working today.” To shore that up, AP reports, the federal government would need to “invest $8.6 trillion today, and have it pay returns of 2.9 percent above inflation for the next 75 years, to produce enough money to cover the shortfall.”

We will soon find out if the Obama team has prepared substantive proposals for these issues or was simply betting/hoping Romney wouldn’t have the guts to thrust Ryan — and thus the entitlements question — into this campaign.

– By Kyle Wingfield

Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter

489 comments Add your comment

Jefferson

August 13th, 2012
10:50 am

Another “worse” possible choice. How the feet, you keep shooting yourself in them ?

InAtl

August 13th, 2012
10:51 am

Democrats are just sitting and waiting to demonize anyone who suggests cutting anything at all. Never mind that not cutting the budget would be a disaster. Trashing the “adults” that suggest making the hard decisions is the Democrat M.O. every election cycle. You can beat that ads are already in the can to scare the seniors in Florida. It’s going to get ugly.

saywhat?

August 13th, 2012
10:51 am

Paul Ryan = Sarah Palin. And given his rabid anti-gay agenda, he probably wears a dress too (in the privacy of a public restroom, of course)

InAtl

August 13th, 2012
10:52 am

make that “bet” that ads….

InAtl

August 13th, 2012
10:54 am

Wow, what a substantive post, saywhat. This is the kind of trash that any VP choice would face from the Huff Po, Moveon, Media Matters crowd that frequents the “other” political blog site.

The Artful Dodger (Robme) Is A Ryan Shame

August 13th, 2012
10:58 am

ANY PLAN is better than the RYAN PLAN.

What does Myth Robme care……HE GOT HIS.

Jesus said we will be judged by the way we HELPED THE POOR.

If you don’t believe that……..GOOGLE IT.

Jefferson

August 13th, 2012
11:01 am

Saving 100 mil in a IRA is like a nuclear hand granade, makes no sense at all.

The Artful Dodger (Myth Robme) Is A Ryan Shame

August 13th, 2012
11:01 am

BOTTOM LINE HERE.

Myth Robme’s ultimate goal is for millionaires and billionaires to

pay ZEROOOOO TAXES.

That’s a Ryan Shame.

saywhat?

August 13th, 2012
11:02 am

Sorry InAtl, the truth sometimes hurts. Any guy who believes cutting taxes for the rich, raising taxes on the working poor and middle class, while cutting services to the poor will somehow magically create jobs is delusional or lying to either himself or us. The guy voted biggest brown noser in highschool is still the biggest brown noser, only now he is brown nosing the wealthy.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 13th, 2012
11:03 am

Hitler had a plan, too. Was it the best option?

The Artful Dodger (Myth Robme) Is A Ryan Shame

August 13th, 2012
11:06 am

@Jefferson

August 13th, 2012
11:01 am
Saving 100 mil in a IRA is like a nuclear hand granade, makes no sense at all
_______________________________________________________

MOST things about Myth Robme does not make sense.

A CAR ELEVATOR?

Mathew 19:24

“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

God DON’T PLAY.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 13th, 2012
11:09 am

Ryan really shows his anti-Keynesian intellect there. You don’t wait to start paying off bills you’ve run up AFTER you lose your job. You pay them as you go so they don’t get out of hand.

This is why you don’t start two wars while giving out tax breaks and kicking the ENTIRE CONCEPT of paying for stuff down the road – it can come back to bite you at the wrong time — like when you don’t have a job or the economy is bad.

SlickRick

August 13th, 2012
11:09 am

If the Regressives were so serious about the deficit, why wouldn’t they agree to an eminently reasonable plan to cut $4 in spending for every $1 in revenues raised? Any economist with half a brain, on the left and right, sees the necessity for both.

If the Regressives were so serious about job creation, why haven’t they done anything in the last 2+ years to create jobs? Oh, right, they were too busy engaging in completely futile attempts at repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Regressives don’t care about doing anything other than gutting government and infrastructure, and cutting taxes on everyone. If that’s what you believe, fine, but enough with the disingenuous baloney Kyle. It’s unbecoming.

Obama/Biden 2012 – About to Deliver a Regressive Smackdown Like None Before (TM)

East Lake Ira

August 13th, 2012
11:10 am

To heck with Ryan. Focus on Mitt and it’ll be a slam dunk for Obama.

VPs are attack dogs and Biden will eat Ryan for lunch several times over.

This pick shows the desperation of the GOP not its strength – if it wanted to do that the ticket would be reversed.

Kyle Wingfield

August 13th, 2012
11:11 am

“Paul Ryan = Sarah Palin”

Wow, you are living up to your handle today, saywhat? Ryan is about as far from Palin as one can get.

jj

August 13th, 2012
11:11 am

If you want to bring up Hitler remember it was Obama who proposed a program similar to the brown shirts, not Romney

InAtl

August 13th, 2012
11:11 am

saywhat, what you have to add to the discussion is like what someone would read in the National Enquirer, just garbage. That’s why I almost always skip over most of the comments made by you and others like Trash Man, JamVet, Fred, Finn, Granny, etc. Sarcasm and character assassinations with no substance.

SlickRick

August 13th, 2012
11:13 am

“Sarcasm and character assassinations with no substance.”

That there would be a great tag line for Kyle’s blog. Well done, InAtl.

JPP

August 13th, 2012
11:13 am

Kyle – how is Ryan the deficit hawk that many claim him to be?

He voted for the Bush tax cuts, the unfunded wars, the medicaid part B expansion, the auto and financial industry bailouts, and he rejected Simpson Bowles

Now the Dems aren’t much better in that regard, but what makes Ryan better?

Kyle Wingfield

August 13th, 2012
11:14 am

I also love this liberal fantasy about the tongue-tied Biden beating Ryan in a debate.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 13th, 2012
11:16 am

If you’re a truck driver, you don’t wait to do maintenance on your truck until after you lose your job because your truck won’t run – you keep it maintained along the way so you DON’T break down and lose your job.
If you’re a dentist, you don’t let your equipment get so ragged that clients no longer come to see you AND THEN, once all the clients are gone, decide to upgrade your gear! You maintain it all along so it doesn’t come to that.

This is the difference between conservatives and liberals. Conservatives want everything right here and now – never mind having to pay for it! Let’s party! Cons like the instant gratification. Why? Cause Daddy’ll pick up the tab!

Liberals understand you have do maintenance as you go – you have to pay things off slowly cause there is no Daddy who will step in at the last minute and clear your debts.

Kyle Wingfield

August 13th, 2012
11:17 am

JPP: Because he has the most realistic, comprehensive plan for fixing Medicare, which dwarfs those other issues in terms of financial impact. Btw, the most recent version of the plan is co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Wyden of Oregon.

The Artful Dodger (Myth Robme) Is A Ryan Shame

August 13th, 2012
11:18 am

@saywhat?

August 13th, 2012
10:51 am
Paul Ryan = Sarah Palin.
_____________________________________________

Some of US got your POINT.

A WELL MADE POINT.

SlickRick

August 13th, 2012
11:18 am

Funny, Kyle, but I love the conservative fantasy about the tongue-tied and politically retarded Robme-Etch-a-Sketch-Twittens-Corporations-as-People-London-Olympics-suck-Dog-on-a-car-I-was-for-health-care-before-I-was-against-healthcare/I-was-for-abortion-rights-before-I-was-against-abortion-rights/I-was-for-gay-marriage-before-I-was-against-gay-marriage-my-religion’s-a-real-religion beating Obama in a debate.

iggy

August 13th, 2012
11:19 am

“Daddy who will step in at the last minute and clear your debts.”

Sure there is…Big Daddy Obama. He wants to buy your vote.

Kyle Wingfield

August 13th, 2012
11:19 am

Finn @ 11:16: You do realize that Obama’s approach to SS and Medicare are nothing but what you describe about maintenance, don’t you? Do you think we should wait until the crisis is unbearable before we address it? Judging by his proposals, or lack thereof, Obama does.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

August 13th, 2012
11:19 am

“Show us the plan Barak” ~ John Lennon

InAtl

August 13th, 2012
11:19 am

Personally, Kyle, I can’t wait for the Ryan/Biden AND the presidential debates. The dems have got nothing they can defend. Should be fun.

lefty_316

August 13th, 2012
11:20 am

Regardless of party affiliation the #1 priority for members of Congress is getting reelected. And since seniors pay more attention to politics and represent a very powerful voting bloc those in Congress are terribly afraid of touching the Medicare issue. Addressing a difficult and important issue could be harmful to their Congressional future.

I’ve not explored the Ryan plan enough to judge it one way or the other. But at a minimum he deserves credit for putting at least putting the issue on the table. That took stones.

Centrist

August 13th, 2012
11:21 am

Ignoring future economic calamity and pandering for current votes simply works. Europe has proven it, and liberal Democrats have adopted that strategy along with seeking voter fraud (dead vote, fake registrations, senile absentee and bussed to poll voters) and a path for ILLEGAL immigrants to get voting rights.

For liberal Democrats, winning now is more important than anything as the ends justify the means. Conservative and moderate Democrats are too afraid to protest or break away.

Kyle Wingfield

August 13th, 2012
11:21 am

Funny, SlickRick, but I read a lot of conservative opinion every day, and I haven’t seen that fantasy. I think a lot of conservatives believe Romney can hold his own with Obama in a debate, which seems reasonable to me.

Gimme Gimme Gimme

August 13th, 2012
11:21 am

Liberal’s want to buy so many trucks there is no money left for maintenance.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 13th, 2012
11:23 am

There are two workable plans on the table, the Ryan plan and Simpson-Bowles. Obama has rejected both. I always say he has no plan, but now I think maybe he does. His plan is to do nothing that would require anything painful for his party or his supporters, i.e. tax the rich. He knows that is insufficient, but maybe it will cover, until this becomes someone else’s job. This narcissist is always going to look out for himself.

Logical Song

August 13th, 2012
11:23 am

“I also love this liberal fantasy about the tongue-tied Biden beating Ryan in a debate”

This from a Newt supporter. How hilarious was it that Newts Groupies touted how Newt would kill Obama in a debate, yet ole Newt’s debating skills got him what, two states?

hahahahahaha

InAtl

August 13th, 2012
11:24 am

Lefty is a perfect example of a good poster. Good points. You don’t have to agree on philosophy to have a good discussion. I have some liberal friends who don’t share my opinions, and I don’t share theirs, but we can still be civil and have valid points on both sides and hopefully enlighten each other.

Logical Song

August 13th, 2012
11:25 am

Kyle

Romney & Ryan will hold their own in the debates. Problem is hat they will probably need knockouts, not draws.

Finn McCool (The System isn't Broken; It's Fixed)

August 13th, 2012
11:29 am

There is never more than one VP debate. So, Romney better have some ideas to espouse besides “trust me.”

The Artful Dodger (Myth Robme) Is A Ryan Shame

August 13th, 2012
11:30 am

@Kyle Wingfield

August 13th, 2012
11:14 am
I also love this liberal fantasy about the tongue-tied Biden beating Ryan in a debate.

____________________________________________________

All the works of man have their origin in creative fantasy.

What right have we then to depreciate imagination?

JPP

August 13th, 2012
11:30 am

Rafe – Ryan also rejected Simpson Bowles as did most of Congress.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 13th, 2012
11:31 am

Sarah Palin waxed Biden in the debate, according to most objective sources. I can imagine what Ryan will do to him, when they venture off into the complexities of the budget.

Have you noticed how the debate moderators are stacked against R/R. Jim Lehrer, probably the most fair of the three, Bob Schiefer, and Candy Crowley, who has already declared Paul Ryan a death wish for Romney. Why did little watched liberal CNN get a position, when three times as many watch Fox?

Tiberius - pulling the tail of the left AND right when needed

August 13th, 2012
11:31 am

“why wouldn’t they agree to an eminently reasonable plan to cut $4 in spending for every $1 in revenues raised?”

As I’ve said all along, show me the $4 in cuts FIRST. Show me you can do that for 2 years minimum, and I’ll go along with a tax increase if still needed.

gadem

August 13th, 2012
11:32 am

Kyle, conservatives thought President Bush was a scholar as well. Kerry wiped the floor with him, and Kerry was a very weak candidate. You are being very disingenuous in your assessment. It is unfathomable to me to be against social programs but be pro life. You all want people to have kids and put them up for adoption, but you want to cut funding to any social programs that help poor/middle class people.

The Artful Dodger (Myth Robme) Is A Ryan Shame

August 13th, 2012
11:33 am

@Logical Song

August 13th, 2012
11:23 am
______________________________________

heeheeheeheehee

Don’t rub it in.

They would like to forget Newtie.

gadem

August 13th, 2012
11:34 am

HUH!? LOL!!! Palin did not was Biden…people were just happy Palin was able to walk and chew gum at the same time. If I remember correctly, she never answered questions directly. She talked about what she wanted to talk about regardless what the question was.

Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer's ineptocracy

August 13th, 2012
11:34 am

JPP
Ryan rejected it because he had a vested interest, his own plan, which he thought was better. Who knows lets go through hearings, testimony, and have some votes, anything is better than doing nothing or waiting on Oblamer to come up with something, he has had nearly 4 years and has never proposed anything relating to retiring the deficit or debt.

jconservative

August 13th, 2012
11:34 am

Nice column Kyle.

But this column does not translate into a 10 to 30 second sound bite. And the attention span of the American electorate can only handle a real short explanation of an issue. The Ryan Plan cannot be explained in a short sound bite.

Today the election is about Romney/Ryan destroying “Medicare as we know it”. That is a wonderful, short, knife in the guts, sound bite. Whether it is accurate or not is not important.
It will work.

Today, after weeks of life, the Romney Tax Returns,”what does he have to hide?”and Offshore Hundreds of Millions he is “hiding” is still an issue.

We have an incumbent president with the worse economy in almost 80 years leading in almost all the polls.

The question on the table is – Why?

My short answer is bad or ignored advice from the Romney staff.

yuzeyurbrane

August 13th, 2012
11:34 am

Kyle, your article is a gross distortion and you should know better since you are a smart guy. You are simply saying that by being the “Party of No” and proposing a take it or leave it Ryan tax plan that would destroy our social compact as well as the economy is the only way to go. One example is Social Security. I read the article you sighted and it is based on assumptions that the economy continued at its current pace and we did nothing to modify Social Security to assure its solvency. I have attended discussions including representatives of the Heritage Foundation as well as liberal think tanks and all have suggested modifications that are relatively minor which will assure the solvency of Social Security for another 75 years. All agreed it would be easier to accomplish their proposals if we started sooner rather than later but none thought the problem was critical. While I preferred the modifications proposed by the liberal think tank over Heritage’s proposals, I think you do the public a disservice by unnecessarily scaring seniors.

gadem

August 13th, 2012
11:36 am

Rafe, the conservatives have opposed EVERYTHING that the President has attempted to do during his time in office. They have stated that their main objective is not to pay down debt, not to fix the economy, not to increase jobs, but to make sure that the President fails. Those are the traitors that you support.

The Artful Dodger (Myth Robme) Is A Ryan Shame

August 13th, 2012
11:36 am

@Rafe Hollister, suffering through Oblamer’s ineptocracy

August 13th, 2012
11:31 am
Sarah Palin waxed Biden in the debate, according to most objective sources. I can imagine what Ryan will do to him, when they venture off into the complexities of the budget.
___________________________________________________________________________

Palin WAXED Biden?

heeheeheeheeheehee

The only thing she WACKED was John McCain.

heeheeheeheeheehee

The Artful Dodger (Myth Robme) Is A Ryan Shame

August 13th, 2012
11:39 am

@jconservative

August 13th, 2012
11:34 am
Nice column Kyle.

But this column does not translate into a 10 to 30 second sound bite. And the attention span of the American electorate can only handle a real short explanation of an issue. The Ryan Plan cannot be explained in a short sound bite.

_________________________________________________________

OKAY J…..your 10 to 30 second bite comment is getting a little boring………..