American Action Forum president Douglas Holtz-Eakin has a must-read post at the Corner. Holtz-Eakin asks a crucial question: Is it worth risking political capital in a righteous stand over budget cuts in the remaining months of fiscal year 2011, or is it more important to accept limited victories on cuts to discretionary spending in order to clear the field for a major debate over Medicare and Medicaid? Let him tell the rest:
That is the debate: A shorter-term focus that does not solve the debt problem for the long-term and leaves the welfare state intact versus a reform strategy that does not balance the budget as quickly but permits it to be kept balanced by radically downsizing long-term programs.
The debate between budget cutters and reformers is the debate over America’s future. Reformers should win the day; they have good policy, and they are consistent with the demand for a return to small, efficient government that was voiced in the November elections, and that makes it good politics, too.
Paul Ryan's getting ready to release a budget next week that will cut spending in a realistic fashion while reforming taxes and entitlements in ways that will make the welfare state flexible and affordable. It'd be a shame if Ryan's ideas are overshadowed by GOP infighting over cuts that contribute only slightly to America's fiscal health in a fiscal year that's almost over. It's said that political groups rarely take yes for an answer. Well, here's hoping the House GOP listens to Holtz-Eakin and is ready to make a deal on 2011 in order to make big changes in 2012—and beyond.