President Barack Obama is refusing to address the nation’s most serious problem, the skyrocketing national debt, as he piles on to it with a slew of new measures, House budget committee chairman Paul Ryan claimed on Friday.
And the result is that today’s children will be saddled with a lower standard of living than the country has become accustomed to in recent decades, he said on Fox News.
“This is what motivates me,” Ryan said. “Knowing these numbers and knowing where the country is heading and knowing that my kids who are 7, 8, and 10 years old are really going to have a lower standard of living and more diminished future than we have.
“That’s an irrefutable fact based on where we’re headed.”
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The Wisconsin Republican said America has always had a tradition that leaves the next generation better off. “That’s the American idea,” he told the network’s Bill Hemmer. “We need to step up to the plate and fix this problem.”
Ryan said that during the election year, the administration is not ready to address the size of the problem, pointing out that Obama mentioned the debt just once in last month’s State of the Union Address.
“So, since the president is ducking responsibility, the Senate isn’t even on the field, we feel obligated, morally and legally, to give the country a choice. Let the country, in November, because it’s going to have to come to this now, choose what path they want for America.”
Ryan said the government’s own figures show that Washington’s promises would add virtually $100 trillion of new debt, but for the fourth budget in a row, the Obama administration has failed to come up with any way of paying for it.
And the longer the country kicks the can down the road, the worse things will get, he added. “Then you have to have sudden, urgent cuts and tax increases that hurt the economy; that hurt seniors; that hurt the safety net.
“Our government is, right now, according to the General Accountability Office, making $99.4 trillion in promises to today’s Americans that it has no way of paying for,” Ryan told Hemmer. “We’re making $37 trillion in promises to people for just Medicare alone that we have no way of paying for.”
He likened America’s future to what European countries such as Greece are already seeing. “What’s happening in Europe is a bunch of governments and politicians from all political parties have made all these empty promises to voters that they have no way of paying for.
“So the point I’m trying to make is we need to be straight with the country about our real fiscal problems – tell people the honest situation and then come up with solutions to make sure that these empty promises are replaced with programs that provide real security that people can actually count on.
“We’re not doing that,” Ryan added. “We’re sweeping them under the rug.”
Ryan was talking after grilling Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner during a budget committee meeting on Obama’s budget request that was released at the start of the week. During the meeting, Ryan said the administration planned to “just keep lying to people” with its empty promises.
“You’re the treasury secretary of all people,” Ryan said to Geithner. “If we can’t make good on our bonds in the future, who’s going to invest in our country?”
Ryan told Hemmer that Geithner “doesn’t really want to face up to the fact that their budget does nothing to improve our debt situation.
“If you strip away all the budget gimmicks and the accounting tricks… the budget literally does almost nothing to deal with our debt. Instead of the debt going up 78 percent, under the president’s budget, it goes up 76 percent.”
Ryan accepted that the multi-trillion dollar figures are so huge that people have difficulty understanding them. “It’s tough for people to put their minds around these things,” he said.
“The problem is those debt levels that we’re talking about are worse than some European countries. They get to the level of where Greece is. And so we’re saying look at what’s happening in Europe.
“They’re immediately pulling the rug out from under seniors. They’re cutting benefits on retirees after they’ve retired. They’re cranking up taxes and slowing down their economy. They have a youth unemployment rate around 30 percent. This ought to be a cautionary tale to us.
“What’s really frustrating and disappointing to us is we have a president who, for the fourth budget in a row, literally is not proposing to do anything about it. And that is what is unconscionable to us so we’re putting out budgets to fix this.”
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