Columns / Discourse / April 13, 2011

Observing America: Politics as usual

In the past couple of days, Congress has approved a budget that cuts $38.5 billion. However, the debt is reaching $15 trillion.

Congress has proven again that politics will rule the law. Many politicians from both sides seem to not even care about the financial state of this country. However, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has shown courage. He proposed a budget that would cut $60 billion, save $5.8 trillion over the next decade and reduce the deficit $4 trillion over that time. This is the kind of budget that Americans need.

Ryan’s plan addresses the main problem in the budget: entitlements. The plan calls for repealing Obama’s healthcare plan, privatizing Medicaid in 10 years and reforming Medicare. The U.S. has become an entitled nation where Americans take for granted the services the government gives them. This mindset must change in order to have sound national finances. Ryan’s proposal defies the entitled nation.

In addition, his plan calls for reforming the current tax code. According to NPR, Ryan’s budget plan will bring taxes and spending to about 19 percent of GDP, which were budget measures adopted in the post-WWII era (

Congressman Ryan has proposed necessary, not radical, measures. Entitlements have to be tackled by the Congress. The NPR story reported that by 2030, Social Security benefits will have to get cut by 20 percent if the system is not reformed. The same scenario goes for any entitlement, including Medicare and Medicaid.

The compromised budget reached last weekend by Speaker of the House John Bohner (R-OH) and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid (D-NV), does not address the entitlement programs. In fact, this budget plan cuts anything but entitlements. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency received a $1.6 billion cut. This budget plan will decrease discretionary spending by $10 billion, lowering the 2010 $169.4 billion level to $159 billion (

These are pathetic cuts made by congressmen so that they will get reelected. Obviously, they made these moderate cuts to not offend any of their constituents. This is disappointing coming from the Republican side, since in the 2010 election they ran on the platform of cutting big spending. Well, the only thing they cut is small spending that, if cut, would not lower the overall national debt. Republicans have unfortunately conformed to what Democrats like Harry Reid wanted: the status quo. Democrats are not in favor of cutting spending to the point that would decrease the national debt.

As a conservative who has championed cutting spending for a long time, this budget plan proposed by the leaders in Congress is both disappointing and embarrassing. Republicans messed up by allowing Democrats to dictate their legislative ideas. Democrats messed up by not proposing any legislation that would relieve the U.S. from the massive amount of debt. Rather than helping Republicans to reach an agreement on the budget, Democrats have spent most of their time trashing Congressman Ryan for making honest and necessary measures for cutting spending.

The leaders in both parties are wrong again. One can only hope that politicians from both sides will someday learn that $15 trillion is no chump change.

Alex Uzarowicz
Alex Uzarowicz has been a weekly conservative political columnist for The Knox Student for three years. He also writes for The College Conservative. Alex will graduate in June 2013 with a degree in political science, after which he will head abroad to begin his Peace Corps service.

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