By Samuel Adams
Okay so the federal government didn’t shut down – whew.
A partial shutdown of the fed would’ve jeopardized all fragile progress we’ve made since the ’08 slump. A shutdown isn’t good for anybody, including lawmakers. The GOP risked being vilified as they were in last shutdown of ‘96. Obama and many Democrats risked yet again looking unable to grapple America’s famous debt.
Both sides of the aisle came to a logical conclusion – the benefits of a budget compromise outweighed the consequences of a partial shutdown. Some lawmakers, particularly chairman of the House Budget Committee Paul Ryan, pushed the need to fix Washington’s fiscal woes even further by introducing a counter-proposal to next year’s budget. His plan axes Washington’s largesse, simplifies the tax code, and fixes health care costs.
He cuts federal government spending down to below 20% of GDP in 2018, down from the current 40%. This drastic cut in spending shrinks the size of federal government programs millions of Americans still depend on. Cuts in federal oversight – particularly in the financial industry – may be cut entirely.
Mr. Ryan’s proposed cuts are so extreme they may not even pass a Republican-controlled House, much less the Democratic Senate. But Mr. Ryan knows the current system is unaffordable and destined to implode.
This is a breath of fresh air in Washington. Ryan’s budget recognizes the scope of America’s fiscal woes and proposes deeply unpopular but necessary reforms. For years we’ve elected officials not brave enough to tackle the elephant in the room. While I don’t personally agree with Ryan’s policies, I agree that Washington could default if we don’t tackle the monster debt.
The consequences of a shutdown look like euphoria compared to the Armageddon-like prophecies of a default.