Mick Mulvaney: Assessing DC’s Fiscal Armageddon
We often send emails to elected officials … and every so often they email us back. Usually, their responses sound eerily similar.
“I’m committed to cutting government,” they’ll say, or “it’s time government learned the value of a dollar.”
“I’m for government living within its means” is another standby.
What do any of those statements mean? We’re not sure, exactly … but we do know that many of the people who have offered these platitudes have presided over record growth at all levels of government – usually without lifting so much as a finger to stop the insanity.
By way of contrast, here is an email we received this afternoon from U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney in response to our questions about a new plan to cut $9.1 trillion from the federal government over the next decade …
——– Original Message ——–
Subject: Re: care to comment?
Date: Fri, 08 Apr 2011 17:48:37 +0000 (GMT)
From: Mick Mulvaney
To: Will Folks
Just getting back…a few minutes here before we vote on Net Neutrality.
This is all on the record if you want it. Various points, in no particular order.
I was heavily involved in both budgets, and helped co-write the Republican Study Committee budget. I will be defending Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget from Democrat attacks next week (see a fun clip here) and then presenting the Study Committee budget itself.
The House Budget is really two things at once: a spending bill for 2012 AND a policy document for the ten-year period.
As a policy document, Chairman Ryan’s budget is a landmark document. Think about it: the GOP is stepping up, unambiguously, and saying we need to be able to use the words “reform” and “entitlements” in the same sentence.
We did that – and the sky didn’t fall. Go figure.
The Ryan budget accomplishes a lot of what conservatives have been working for for years: it fixes Medicare by converting it to a market-driven premium support system, it block-grants Medicaid to the states, and it dramatically rolls back the size of government (i.e. a 10% federal workforce reduction in the first three years alone.)
Looking at the other side of the budget — the 2012 spending side — the debate drives home exactly how much our fiscal sustainability depends on fixing entitlements. Even with the groundbreaking offerings on entitlements, the budget doesn’t balance for 26 years. It dramatically reduces deficits, lowers the size of the deficits as a percentage of the overall economy, and provides a framework for not only getting to balance, but also paying off the debt.
But still, we shouldn’t ignore how long it takes to balance.
The Republican Study Committee — the conservative wing of the GOP — thinks it is critical to show people what it would take to actually get to a balanced budget this decade. Simply put, that requires the following: 1) Keeping Ryan’s premium support system for Medicare, plus raising the retirement … if you are 59 years old, the retirement age goes up by two months. Its 4 months if you are 58, etc. And we phase things in like that until the age is 67. 2) Raising the retirement age within Social Security in a similar fashion: 2 months per year, starting with folks who are 59. Final retirement age is 70. 3) Using the Ryan block-grant for Medicaid, but growing it a little more slowly.
The beauty of doing these things is that we not only balance the budget this decade, but we also preserve the solvency of these programs.
So, we take the Ryan budget, and build on its framework to show folks what it takes to get a balanced budget. I see the RSC budget, then, as a complementary extension of Ryan’s.
There are numerous other changes, including further cuts to discretionary spending, as compared to the Ryan Budget – but you get the gist.
And remember, if we don’t do something to fix these entitlements, none of them are there for the next generation. Indeed, Social Security goes to automatic 20+% benefit reductions in about 25 years.
And finally, for the big picture: if we do nothing — not Ryan’s budget or the RSC plan — then by 2055 EVERY DOLLAR WE TAKE IN IN TAX REVENUES GOES TO ONE ITEM ONLY: INTEREST ON THE DEBT.
Think about what that world looks like.
Let me know if you want any follow up. We are working on a formal op-ed for next week. We feel like it would get drowned out this week in the shutdown debate.
Mick Mulvaney, everybody … one of the few politicians we’ve encountered who realizes that actions matter (and who has always voted accordingly).
And while we would obviously push for deeper cuts than even the Republican Study Committee has proposed, it’s still nice to see an elected official actually articulating a limited government vision for a change.