Back to budgets, Ryan returns to comfortable topic

2012-12-04T14:08:00Z 2012-12-24T21:06:40Z Back to budgets, Ryan returns to comfortable topicThe Associated Press The Associated Press
December 04, 2012 2:08 pm  • 

WASHINGTON — Paul Ryan is getting his groove back.

A month after the GOP's presidential ticket lost an election, the party's vice presidential nominee finds himself comfortably back in his political wheelhouse on Capitol Hill and in the thick of a debate over how to avert automatic tax increases and spending cuts that many economists fear could cripple the economy if Congress doesn't head them off by Jan. 1.

The Wisconsin congressman isn't technically a member of the House Republican leadership. But he's viewed by GOP colleagues as an expert on economic and tax policy and entitlement programs. He's a good gauge of how far the party's most conservative lawmakers will bend, if at all, as House Speaker John Boehner negotiates with the White House and Democratic-controlled Senate over the "fiscal cliff."

That explains why Ryan has become a new addition to what previously was a four-person, 30-minute morning meeting led each day by Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

The GOP leaders want his views in planning strategy for dodging a budget meltdown and coming out on top politically. As an informal liaison to rank-and-file members, he's in a position to test what policy changes these members may be willing to support and sell them on what they should accept or reject. Ryan's signature Monday on Boehner's initial offer to Obama — raising the eligibility age for Medicare, lowering cost-of-living hikes for Social Security benefits and bringing in $800 billion in higher tax revenue — could help satisfy some of the party's most conservative constituencies that otherwise might balk at any notion of tax increases.

"Congressman Ryan finds himself at a near-perfect meeting of preparation and opportunity," said Joe Brettell, a Republican strategist and former Capitol Hill aide. "His credibility with both Republican leadership and the conservative establishment will make his support a crucial element to any fiscal cliff agreement."

According to House GOP officials, whatever top Republicans need from Ryan — from policy advice to political cover — they're getting it.

Ryan plays down his role, saying people should focus on Boehner and President Barack Obama.

"Speaker Boehner has outlined a bipartisan way forward to avoid the fiscal cliff and get our economy growing: commonsense entitlement reform coupled with pro-growth tax reform," he said last week. "We can find common ground on responsible spending restraint and greater revenue, but we have yet to see real, specific spending cuts from President Obama."

Nevertheless, Ryan's deep involvement in the debate suggests his reputation within the GOP as a conservative leader against tax increases and advocate for reining in spending, particularly on programs like Social Security and Medicare, hasn't been hurt by his failed stint as Mitt Romney's running mate.

To a certain extent, the fiscal policy negotiations playing out on Capitol Hill give him an opportunity to reshape his profile on his own terms for a potential 2016 run at the presidency after a 2012 campaign in which allies say he often was muzzled and had to defer to Romney.

"He knows this stuff. He's been battle tested," said Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado, a Ryan friend who often joined him during the campaign. "It gives the members more confidence in what they're doing, knowing that we've got someone on our side who is an incredible player, somebody who knows how to execute and knows he can win on a message that is right."

Romney chose Ryan, a former Hill staffer and self-professed budget geek, as his running mate largely because of his fiscal policy credentials, doubling down on the notion that voters would above all else cast their ballots on who could spark the nation's then-sputtering economy. Ryan was front-and-center those first weeks, blitzing local television stations in swing states with more than 100 interviews.

But Romney soon found himself getting hammered over Ryan's earlier budget proposals for deep spending cuts to programs for seniors and the poor. Democratic critics ran ads assailing the Ryan budget, and Republican candidates across the country were put on the defensive over it.

Ryan eventually faded back into the traditional role of a vice presidential candidate, assailing the opponent and validating the top of the ticket's credentials with a carefully scripted daily speech — and above all, not making any unnecessary waves. His last interview before Election Day was on Oct. 8.

The day after the election, he told reporters he would be returning to his home in Janesville, Wis., to spend time with his family before going back to his job in Congress, for which he won re-election on Nov. 6.

While some advisers urged him to give up his House seat and focus solely on a potential 2016 presidential bid, Ryan decided his budget experience was needed in Washington to help dodge the fiscal cliff crisis. But he also likely realized that a debate in his area of expertise could provide a huge political payoff and solid footing well ahead of the next race for the White House.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(32) Comments

  1. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 12, 2012 7:31 pm
    Wait,,, I was right about the Fed's fresh fantasy money print rate, $85 billion a month is $1.02 trillion a year is $3,000/year for every man woman and child...
    Plus operation twist, a neat trick by which the Fed sells short term (sub 1% notes) and buys 30 year (2.5%) bonds..... That artificially flattens the yield curve and helps to hide the inflationary impact of printing $85 billion a month.
    The problem arises when rates start to rise (and they will) then we will have our whole portfolio come due quickly and be immediately impacted by the rise in rates. We are so screwed... The whole money supply (m2) is a 10 trillion dollar pot of cash and they are bumping it up 10%/year.
    I smell inflation and lower standards of living coupled with rising taxes as the cola protected public sector retirements, Rising doctor financial expectations(read skyrocketing Medicare costs) and empty social security "lock box" all come home to roost.
    It's all Greek to me...
  2. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 11, 2012 4:11 pm
    And even though it has nothing to do with what I was posting about, (easing, deficit spending, unfunded liabilities), I just have to point out that your contention that US oil and gas production don't affect global energy prices is wrong, any significant variation in supply or demand impacts global prices.
    Every buy we produce leaves an unused btu sloshing around the global market place which puts an almost imperceptible and yet real downward pressure on global energy prices. Your rhetorical picture of a forest of oil derricks is nice and all but economics deals with reality...
    South, learn me up some more, I can hardly wait for your next knowledgable bit of teaching... Have you ever thought that you may be susceptible to nodding along when you feel that someone is smarter than you? Are you afraid to think for yourself for fear that people will ridicule you? Is all this anonymous lashing out just a sign that feel sad and insecure?
  3. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 11, 2012 3:33 pm
    I realize that you have declared me to be crazy and stupid but maybe the real issue here is reading comprehension.... Read my post real slow and then read your reply and ask yourself whether you actually understood the gist of my original post.
    I'd bet you a buck that most people reading these posts can follow along. If I said, for instance, "even if your thimble were the size of a hat it wouldn't be an effective enough bailing instrument to keep the Titanic afloat!"... And then you replied "you are an idiot, thimbles are not manufactured in the size of hats!" Wouldn't it be fair for me to point out that you don't seem to understand the gist of my statements?
    My overall point is that no matter which party wins, no matter how much taxes are raised, no matter the extent of the oil/gas boom, no matter if the leading fortunes are confiscated, no matter what... We are on a trajectory of increased debt, spending and easing which doesn't seem reversible.
    Can you understand?
  4. southernboy
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    southernboy - December 11, 2012 11:03 am
    well, lets begin with referencing your position. we are the biggest consumer of oil on the planet,and while we've improved our production and refining to levels not before seen. We still don't contribute enough to the global market to effect price. Simple fact. We use way more than we could ever produce,safely to compete with other global producers in such a way as to effect price. You would have to replace fire stations with oil derricks, thats almost what your suggesting with more tax breaks. Russia makes 9 mbpd (million barrels per day) and uses 3Mbpd, exporting the rest, making them number 2 in exports Saudi we can't compete. they produce for export 10-11 Mbpd Their cost of production sourcing,drilling,refining, technology are reflected in their pricing, and we cant produce it as cheaply as they do, unless we take on their safety and environmental records and then the cost, becomes too much. It is ridiculous, that these company's don't contribute as much as other Americans
  5. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 10, 2012 11:31 am
    Here is an assessment of unfunded state government pension liabilities
    The idea for these bureaucratic pensions is that they will be saved by robust stock market returns, they often assume that they will garner 8% returns over the long haul.... Never mind that such returns have become as rare as silver dimes.
    But the reality is that the taxpayers are on the hook for an 8% return no matter how the public pension funds actually do.....
    $4.6 trillion more dollars which will be ripped from the hide of joe six pack over the next decade or three. It's like whack a mole, there will never be enough cash to satisfy the rapidly expanding financial expectations of the bureaucracy and the one group who might help, the entrepreneurial types, are being vilified.
    Well, it's time to shovel snow....
  6. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 10, 2012 10:24 am
    South, surely you have something more to offer than insults, do tell, how exactly are we going to pay off unfunded liabilities which exceed our total projected GDP?
    How long do you think folks will lend the federal government money at 2 percentish while the government is expanding the supply of dollars at 2-3 times that rate?
    When taxes are raised the notion that the debt isn't an issue may temporarily take hold but I think that the folks we depend on to go out and start entrepreneurial enterprises will, at the margins, not do so. Now, I may well be wrong, I've been wrong before but why don't you teach me just a thing or two?
    You said that my lack of understanding "seems to have no limit" .. Just grab a few low hanging fruits of your knowledge and share, I hunger for knowledge.
    I can't imagine that you go around in real life arrogantly dismissing those you meet as crazy ("what color is your sky") or stupid ("no limit to the things you don't understand"), so share .......
  7. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 10, 2012 10:02 am
    South, enlighten me....
    One thing I overstated was the print rate, I included the $45 billion a month from "twist"... The actual fed print is more like $1,800 per person per year...
    South, Tell me why my assessment of our financial outlook is so wrong...
    We can't afford the future, Take a look around, there is no way we can go from here to 2050 or so without major downward adjustments to our standard of living and major upward adjustments in taxes.
    South, a lot of folks will throw in the towel when they are expected to spend their lives working to support the bureaucracy.
    Please, I am an open minded person, tell me which of my assumptions is wrong.
    If (when) the Feds ability to drive down bond rates by offering zero Interest at the discount window falters the interest portion of our annual deficit is going to skyrocket. Imagine how that is going to look.
    South, where am I wrong?
  8. southernboy
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    southernboy - December 10, 2012 8:15 am
    there appears to be no limit to the things you dont understand
  9. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 09, 2012 12:01 pm
    The one thing coming down the pike which looks promising is the oil/gas boom. It is sure to be taxed to the hilt and funneled into the bureaucratic coffers. Let's try to affix some numbers to that by considering Saudi Arabia... They pump about 25% of the words oil and that generates a per capita GDP of about $25k for their 16 million citizens, $400 billion dollars per year, if we expanded our oil and gas production to the extent that we completely capture the Saudi revenue (not likely but a thought experiment to see if the bureaucracy can be be saved by energy industry taxes) we would have $400 billion to carve up. The drillers will need production costs plus a profit (it's fracking expensive to frack) so the fed guys/state guys might, in a best case scenario, have an extra $200 billion a year to play with. When you consider the whole picture.... Hummm?, yup, still totally screwed.
    Take every buck from the Forbes 400, it wouldn't cover a year of fed print+borrow...
    Yup, screwed

  10. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 09, 2012 11:24 am
    I was just looking at a graph ....
    Total (excise, payroll, federal, state... Etc.) have gone from essentially zero in 1930 to over $3 trillion in year 2000 (I bet that a 2012 number would be upwards of $4 trillion in annual total taxes)
    Now mix in the $17 trillion ish debt and the $60 trillion ish unfunded liabilities (primarily Medicare and bureaucratic retirements)
    Don't expect your elected officials to mention that we're screwed because A.) their paychecks will be cashed even if they need to use hand guns to get the job done and B.) the inconvenient reality "we're broke" doesn't play we'll on Election Day .
    And just to add a little levity to our discussion, lets not forget that we are printing money, pulling dollars out of the thin blue air at a rate of about $3,400/year per man, woman or child
    Plus, borrowing another $trillion plus each year. Sky color? Blue shifting as it rushes towards you.
  11. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 09, 2012 10:34 am
    The interesting thing, for me, is that we are nearing a tipping point. A situation where the bureaucracy's need for more and more revenue is becoming onerous to the very citizens most adept at generating GDP. The bureaucracy is unwilling, and unable, to stop the spending spree. At some point people will say, "I'm just going to sit still today. Why bother to earn dollars which are over 60% taxed away before they arrive(both sides of social security and Medicare plus 39% income tax plus state tax =15.3+39+8>62%) then the 38 cents you have left over is taxed down further by sales, property, inheritance taxes....
    The bureaucracy, on the other hand, cannot stop, they owe their jobs to taxing and spending. Eventually, just like now in Greece, representatives from the government will come to your home to get "their" money... How can it be any other way?
    The color of my sky is blue or gray when it's cloudy. The color of money is the real question here, it's looking a bit faded to me.
  12. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 09, 2012 10:34 am
    I just wonder how anyone can honestly look at our spending, our representatives, both Republican and Democrat, and our unfunded liabilities and draw the conclusion that just a few more percent in taxes will fix everything.
    We are going to print money, borrow money... No one will say no to the Docs when they demand more cash to treat Medicare patients, no one will say no to the federal, state, county and municipal employees when they come to get their million dollar retirements , no one will ever say "no!" to any spending... If anyone does they will quickly be replaced with some one who says "yes"...
    Think of the way the Roman emperors were chosen as the empire fell, the job went to the highest bidder, the one who promised the greatest donative to the Praetorian Guard...
    Maybe we are not there yet but we are getting closer and closer.
    I think the best course of action is serenity, no one can stop this train wreck. It's going to be a spectacular sight, we will survive.
  13. southernboy
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    southernboy - December 05, 2012 8:17 pm
    what color is the sky in your peoples world

  14. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 05, 2012 5:15 pm
    I think it is ironic how this small group of posters each sees the world, like a group of blind men describing the elephant they are all touching.
    One says " we can raise taxes a bit more and last a little longer.... everything is fine!" from his seat high up on the elephant's back. Another says "I don't think I can last much longer" from his vantage point below the foot off the elephant. Yet another says, "I just don't think it's worth going on like this" from his position, just below the elephants raised tail.
    I am optimistic about the future overall, I think that people live wonderful lives as their governments grow into grasping giants, they have coffee, fall in love, live their lives dancing about, going along, getting along but I think that we need to be ready to shrug our shoulders when the rest of the world turns up their noses at our bonds or laughs when we present dollars for payment. Guns and butter have sunk many empires .... Sa la vie
  15. SRLaBelle
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    SRLaBelle - December 05, 2012 5:01 pm
    I think that we are on an unsustainable path. No politician can say "no" to spending, it is political suicide. It is easy to raise taxes but the problem is people will simply stop bothering to make more money if taxes go too high. We hear a lot about the high rates decades ago but if you were there for those high rates you will remember the incredible loopholes, the writing off of all interest, the income averaging and a thousand other outs. Now, with the alternative minimum tax, there is no way out. We are being crushed by taxes, sales, property, gas, income, Medicare, social security, the employer's half of the payroll taxes, unemployment compensation taxes, Capitol gains taxes, fees of every sort.. Etc., etc.
    Smart people will adjust their lives to avoid taxation.. Wealthy people will simply sit on their assets and minimize their incomes.
    This is the tragedy of the commons, we will all dip our spoons and watch as the public sector grows and collapses under it's own weight.
  16. youknowme
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    youknowme - December 05, 2012 4:07 pm

    Checkmate everybody
  17. EC-Reader
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    EC-Reader - December 05, 2012 2:03 pm
    90% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the population. You can't take 90% of the options off the table and expect a balanced result.
  18. ChippewaFallsWisconsin
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    ChippewaFallsWisconsin - December 05, 2012 1:18 pm
    If we would have gone with Romney's plan we would be Greece in 4 years. He would have loosened the regulations, and put us right back where Bush put us. Obama didn't create the mess. Granted, he's not doing much to help the issue, but it's a start. Everybody wants more faster, but Romney's plan wouldn't have been magically fixed in 4 years. Rome wasn't built in a day, and Bush didn't put us in this predicament in a day. It will take years to fix, no matter who has control. YRR's idea is that Obama's plan won the majority of voters, deal with it. We have to deal with Walker's half-brained ideas, so the right has to deal with Obama's. It's hypocritical to think otherwise. This country is based on the idea of the majority. The majority in WI is the right, so we will live by their hands for years to come. The country will have to live by the left's hands. This isn't new.
  19. ChippewaFallsWisconsin
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    ChippewaFallsWisconsin - December 05, 2012 1:13 pm
    We all love a good debate, and we all want to make the other believe what we believe in. Obviously we don't agree on most things, but that's why they call it a debate. What michaelj just wrote is ridiculous and should be deleted because it makes this blog look silly to others.
  20. ChippewaFallsWisconsin
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    ChippewaFallsWisconsin - December 05, 2012 1:11 pm
    I have lived in this what you call Utopia for over 50 years. I know a thing or two about taxes, and what Romney was saying and Ryan is that half the country doesn't pay taxes, that is a lie. They pay taxes. Not as much as Romney, but half the country are not millionaires. I have paid taxes my whole life, and I am in that half that Romney wrote off. I am part of that half, and I don't get back on my 1040 what I paid throughout the year. Most don't get it all back.
  21. youknowme
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    youknowme - December 05, 2012 9:44 am
    Nothing I said was opinion. I used numbers that are facts that aren't debatable. I would never want to be mean to you but it seems you may be a little off base with your tax understanding. Of course taxes are deducted out of every paycheck. The tax in question that Obama rails about and says the rich need to pay more is the Federal income tax. Sure it comes out at the time of pay but it is true 47% have no Federal income tax liability. Meaning the refund they get at the end of the year is equal to or greater than the Federal tax paid out of every paycheck over the year. These are not "scare tactics" and they do not "pay a higher rate." I know you are not making it that easy for me to debunk you but you need to get over a few hurdles. Look around, look at the facts of job prospects, the rate of GDP, the deficit, the spending, real life numbers. Absorb it and realize Utopia is not what liberals can achieve.
  22. ChippewaFallsWisconsin
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    ChippewaFallsWisconsin - December 05, 2012 8:13 am
    And Merlin, I'm disappointed in your lack of understanding of taxes. You love to quote Romney and say half of the people don't pay taxes. That is the most false statement you have ever made. The half of taxpayers your party so call claims doesn't pay taxes do pay taxes, it comes out of their paycheck. Even someone receiving minimum wage pays Federal Income Tax. If you ever worked a job at minimum wage you would understand that. They do pay taxes. On their taxes they get credits so they don't show as paying federal tax, on their 1040. But each paycheck, it's taken out. Please stop with the overdramatic accusations that half this country doesn't pay taxes, they do. They also pay state tax, income tax, homeowners tax, county and sales tax. And they pay a higher rate than the rich.
  23. ChippewaFallsWisconsin
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    ChippewaFallsWisconsin - December 05, 2012 8:09 am
    Merlin and YKM, both are just using scare tactics. You seem to know exactly what is going to happen, even more than the president. You say the left blindly follows, but that's exactly what you're doing. You're quoting almost word for word what Romney campaigned about. How about some fresh perspective instead of just repeating what the right said, and lost. Yes merlin, the majority rejected Romney's plan. You say we are the whining ones, take a look in the mirror. Boo hoo we lost, now we're going to complain for the next 4 years about it. Everything you talk about is opinion.
  24. Merlin
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    Merlin - December 05, 2012 7:20 am
    at all will it? What about those companies granted "waivers"? What about their "fair share"? Oh, I forgot, they donated to the Obama campaign - so that's different.

    You are a walking contradiction CFW (and your pal YRR isn't far behind).

    You want "fair"? Tax EVERYONE 15% of their income and call it good, THAT is fair - you aren't interested in "fair", you are out for yourself and what you can get for "free".

    You blindly support progressiveness as long as someone TELLS you that it doesn't affect you. I hope you don't consume anything and are self sufficient, because if you aren't, than you are ignorant of what is happening all around you. Milk goes up $.05 and you don't even bat an eye, but over the course of a year it goes up $.75, soon it's $1. Why? The very trickle down taxation that you refuse to believe happens.

    Nothing is "free" and you will pay for it, one way or another, regardless of what your politicians tell you, to believe otherwise is naive and foolish.
  25. Merlin
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    Merlin - December 05, 2012 7:12 am
    to help balance the budget or pay down the deficit. Buffet hasn't written one yet - but he says he pays less in taxes than his secretary - only if you completely ignore how much he pays and only look at "percentage".

    If 50% of the people pay no Federal Income Tax at all, then it's no wonder they want to tax everyone else - their percentage is ZERO.

    The sad part, the best example of how BAD this "trickle down taxation" is, you completely ignore the reality of it. That example is ObamaCare. Health Care costs of skyrocketed and will continue to do so under this law - yet, that is an "expense" you are willing to "sacrifice" so every one is covered with "insurance" - ignore the fact that HEALTH CARE is available to anyone. I wonder how much of that "sacrifice" you are really making?

    Inflation is going up, companies are looking to see how they can avoid paying enormous penalties and also, pass on the added costs of ObamaCare. But that won't affect the consumer and the employees ...
  26. Merlin
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    Merlin - December 05, 2012 7:06 am
    The American people "rejected" his plan? I didn't realize we voted on that.

    The American people "rejected" ObamaCare and yet it is still law and Obama is still President - kind of shoots a ton of holes in your theory doesn't it?

    I always find it entertaining to see how uninformed and uneducated the people on the left really are. It's painfully obvious that you believe everything the Democrats say while ignoring the totality of their actions.

    You disagree with trickle down economics, but embrace trickle down taxation - which is EXACTLY what happens when you raise taxes on the people who own the companies and create the jobs. They aren't going to pay more - they will make the necessary budget cuts, raise prices, and pass it all onto the rest of us.

    There is a point where the "rich" draw the line as to how much they are willing to eat of the tax bill. Obama loves to quote Warren Buffet which I find interesting since no one is preventing you from writing a check to the government..
  27. youknowme
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    youknowme - December 05, 2012 6:32 am
    So much insight and very productive debate.
  28. michaelj
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    michaelj - December 05, 2012 3:08 am
  29. youknowme
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    youknowme - December 04, 2012 11:40 pm
    You have fun when S.S. is no longer existent. Your argument is pointless. Foodstamp recipients don't want to lose their foodstamps, federal grant receivers don't want to lose grants, Solyndra doesn't want to lose its gov money. You see, it's endless. Few more years under B.O. we will be Greece. I'm soooo excited!!!
  30. Yellow River Rat
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    Yellow River Rat - December 04, 2012 8:14 pm
    What exactly does Ryan not understand that his budget was totally rejected by the American people. Rejected. He lost. He could not bring Wisconsin voters to Romney. He acts like he won. The people do not want his budget. They do not want to lose their Medicaid and have penny-ante politicians mess with Social Security.
  31. youknowme
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    youknowme - December 04, 2012 5:35 pm
    Oh his plan hurts the middle class and seniors...wah wah wah. So does Obamacare and every promise he has broken...proven. What else is proven is the tax rate increase Obama is stalling over is enough to run the government for 8 days...yes 8 days. You won't hear that though from your news sources. It is not a revenue problem. October revenue was up 26% yet October's deficit was at another record. Weird how revenues could be up when there hasn't been any tax increases yet...hmmm. Obama will not accept any cuts whatsoever. Cuts are the only thing that will work when it's not a revenue problem. When there's cuts it's going to hurt someone. It's going to hurt the someone that has become dependent on a bloated federal government. Once again, it's not a revenue problem nor will the rich's taxes be able to fix it.
  32. ChippewaFallsWisconsin
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    ChippewaFallsWisconsin - December 04, 2012 2:54 pm
    It doesn't matter what his ideas are, his ideas are a large part why Romney lost the election. His cuts hurt the middle class and the senior citizens, proven. The only reason the budget hasn't been settled it is for one reason, the upper 2%. Obama will do basically whatever the right wants, except give the higher 2% tax breaks. Instead, the right is going to let 100% of the country see higher taxes. This isn't news, Obama has said it for the past year, and during the elections. People voted for him knowing he will not let the wealthy get the tax breaks. Ryan lost, but he acts like he won. Rep. Cory Gardner of Colorado says he knows he can win on a message that is right, here's a message, he lost. Time to conceed to the one thing that will pass the budget with large cuts. Let's see if the right has the guts to do what's right, not what their party says is right.
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