www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-ryan-budget-20120323,0,2882564.story

baltimoresun.com

Ryan budget is the only serious deficit reduction plan

11:15 AM EDT, March 23, 2012

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Your editorial on Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal demonstrates why it will be so difficult to restore fiscal discipline to the federal budget ("Ryan's song and dance," March 21). Unfortunately, you have picked the wrong culprit.

While criticizing Representative Ryan in his effort to balance the budget, The Sun glosses over President Obama's utter failure to make any serious effort at reducing government spending. You mention the president's "bipartisan deficit commission" but conveniently leave out the fact that the president has refused to implement any of its recommendations.

This failure of leadership is unconscionable in light of the onerous debt we are placing on our children's and grandchildren's doorsteps. The Sun goes on to excuse the president for raising the deficit more in three years than it went up during the eight years of his predecessor by maintaining that Mr. Obama was forced to do so because of "the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression."

Not true. Nobody at The Sun seems to remember the "misery index" former president Jimmy Carter left Ronald Reagan, when we had double digit unemployment and double digit inflation at the same time. Under Mr. Reagan, tax cuts, a sound dollar and fiscal restraint brought on years of growth well above our current growth rates.

At the current rate of spending, our debt will exceed $20 trillion by the end of the decade, and interest payments on the debt — once they reach their natural level of 5 percent to 6 percent instead of being held at their current artificially low level — will be the single biggest government expenditure.

Apparently, The Sun would rather have the federal government spend money on interest payments than on Medicare or education. Instead of lambasting Mr. Ryan, we should be praising him for making a serious effort to reduce spending. That is more than can be said for President Obama.

Robert C. Erlandson, Lutherville