President Obama’s chief political strategist, David Axelrod and Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan appeared on separate segments of Morning Joe. What we hoped would be a robust, enlightened discussion on how these two party leaders intended to repair our economy turned into little more than political talking points and sound bites. In the end it is apparent that neither party intends to take on the really tough choices necessary to repair our financial woes.
Representative Ryan is the author of the infamous Ryan Budget. His debt and deficit reduction budget focuses on spending cuts as opposed to revenue increases. Mr. Ryan proposes drastic cuts to discretionary spending; an area that only represents 10%-12% of the budget. It is the part of the budget where you will find social programs like Pell grants, food stamps, aid to dependent children and other programs that are critical to the middle class and working poor. You can cut these programs down to zero and you are still not going to balance the budget nor will you significantly reduce the deficit.
Mr. Axelrod, as one might expect takes a different view. He focus is on increasing revenues, specifically raising taxes on the very rich. He believes that it is simply a matter of everyone paying their fair share. Mr. Axelrod and the President would raise taxes on the top 1% wage earners to a minimum of 30%. While his proposal might solve the “fairness’ issue, its $47 billion increase in revenues pales against the $22 trillion dollar debt.
Republicans and Democrats; proving once again that neither party has the courage to make the tough choices necessary to fix our financial problems.