Scott Garrett's balanced-budget proposal is the right prescription

Now that the dust has settled on the continuing resolution skirmish, and President Obama has laid down heavy cannon fire in opposition to ever balancing the budget of the United States government, the House of Representatives will be considering different budget alternatives today.

While most of the attention is focused upon Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposal, there is an alternative being offered by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), which would, unlike Ryan’s bill, bring the budget into balance within the next 10 years.

The Garrett balanced budget will give House Republicans, who are a little bit disgruntled over the continuing resolution deal, the opportunity to reassert their control over the House.

This is particularly important politically as these members head home for the next two weeks to explain to voters what the heck has been going on down here in Washington and how a $100 billion promise ended up being reported by The Associated Press as only falling $99,650,000,000 short.

Republicans have campaigned in favor of the passage of a balanced-budget amendment for as long as I can remember, and in the Senate, all 47 Republicans have signed onto an amendment that calls for achieving balance within five years of its passage.

The Garrett proposal takes nine years to get to balance, but it is the only proposal on the table that actually achieves a federal balanced budget in the foreseeable future.

The Garrett budget saves Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security by making them fiscally sustainable over the long haul.

In spite of the current president’s political scare campaign against Republican proposals on Medicare and Social Security, the path that Obama chooses to take ensures that seniors will be left without healthcare when they need it most.

The president’s path ensures that an unelected panel of presidentially appointed bean counters cut senior health services when the costs get too high. It is not surprising that the same president who claims to want to protect a system he knows doesn’t work would try to fool seniors into believing that his cold, soulless rationing system helps seniors.

When you get right down to it, the only seniors to whom the president wants to provide healthcare are the healthy ones. But God help you when you actually get sick, and All the President’s Men decide that patients aged 77 or above who have a lymphatic cancer with only a 27 percent chance of survival are just too expensive to give anything except palliative and hospice treatment. After all, some people are just too expensive to try to cure.

That is Obama’s prescription for seniors. Contrast this with both the Garrett and the Ryan budget proposals, which will put the Medicare system back on sound financial footing and give seniors a fighting chance to survive catastrophic illness rather than be deemed expendable by nameless, faceless government officials whose only concern is the cost of treatment.

It is time for America to have an adult conversation about the budget and the priorities for federal government spending. The Garrett balanced-budget amendment is the only proposal that gets us to balance while reforming our nation’s social safety network so it works in the future. Let’s hope the House passes the Garrett bill and throws it into Harry Reid’s lap.


Rick Manning is the communications director of Americans for Limited Government and a former local elected official in Chesapeake Beach, Md. Follow him @rmanning957.

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