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Just When You Thought Our Fiscal Nightmare Couldn’t Get Any Worse 6.23.11

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I'll make you a deal: I'll quit accusing Democrats of obstructing spending and entitlement reform when they quit obstructing spending and entitlement reform. Now we even have the nonpartisan, sterile, unflappable Congressional Budget Office virtually predicting a "fiscal crisis," yet the Democratic Senate hasn't passed a budget for 785 days. There ought to be a law. At what point will we go into panic mode? Frankly, I can't comprehend how people are so calm now. The major components of this fiscal doomsday outlook are entitlements -- the unfunded promises approaching $100 trillion. We need to restructure those -- radically -- so that we don't lose everything. Sure, we know we have the capacity to turn this situation around. But it can't happen before 2012 without Democratic good faith and participation. The Democrats talk and behave as though there were no urgency. Instead, they just accuse Rep. Paul Ryan of robbing seniors of Medicare. But the facts are that his plan would preserve benefits for those who are 55 or older and phase in benefit reductions for others. If we fail to restructure the system, we'll all end up -- within a generation -- not only without Medicare benefits but also with a fallen nation. Nor are entitlements our only problem. Our annual budget deficits are also gargantuan, and the administration evidences no interest in getting them under control. President Obama not only has stubbornly refused to be serious about discretionary spending cuts but also continues to pursue failed policies guaranteed to impede economic growth, without which we simply cannot bring our budgets into balance. For an indication of the bleakness of the economic picture, just look at today's news-delivered gut punches. This week's jobless claims of 429,000 are even worse than last week's dismal numbers, making it 11 weeks in a row that we've been above 400,000, the number economists associate with a stable labor market. Under President George W. Bush, Democrats complained that 4.7 percent unemployment was dreadful. Now their president's perpetual 9-plus percent is barely remarkable.
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    Tags: benefit reductions, budget deficits, congressional budget office, democratic senate, medicare benefits, ought to be a law



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