- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 14, 2012

No domestic issue, other than jobs and the economy, fuels more worry from America’s voters than the $5-trillion-plus debt President Obama has run up over the past four years.

No president has spent as much as Mr. Obama has or has had higher budget deficits or has wasted more of our tax dollars. He’s put America on a perilous fiscal course that threatens to impoverish our economy and engulf all of us in ruinous debt for generations to come.

That’s why Mitt Romney, in deciding who would be the best vice-presidential running mate, chose Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the penny-pinching chairman of the House Budget Committee, who has made America’s economic health the central cause of his political career.

With that one singular decision, Mr. Romney placed Mr. Obama’s irresponsible and out-of-control spending binge at the center of the coming campaign debate.

In a government that hungers for leadership, Mr. Ryan for the past four years has been decrying the unsustainable fiscal course we are on — now teetering on the edge of a black hole of annual trillion-dollar budget deficits and crushing debts that are larger than our entire economy.

Impressed with Mr. Ryan’s leadership abilities, Republicans bypassed more senior members and put him in charge of the powerful budget panel that is responsible for shaping the nation’s chief financial document.

Mr. Romney could have named safer running mates from a list of governors, but in picking Mr. Ryan, he chose a man who knows how to work across the aisle without abandoning his party’s principles or his country’s.

Mr. Obama thinks he will be able to demonize Mr. Ryan because of his plan to reform Medicare by making its cost structure sustainable for generations to come.

“His plan would end Medicare as we know it by turning it into a voucher system, shifting thousands of dollars in health care costs to seniors,” Mr. Obama said in a statement Saturday.

Like a lot of attacks Mr. Obama has leveled at Mr. Romney, this one is untrue, but you can expect the attacks to get even more vicious in the weeks to come. The Washington Post cites one Democratic ad that depicts Mr. Ryan “as physically pushing a senior citizen in a wheelchair off a cliff.”

In fact, Mr. Ryan has been collaborating on his plan with a lifelong liberal Democrat from Oregon, Sen. Ron Wyden. Their plan would turn Medicare into a premium-support system for financing Medicare. You won’t hear Mr. Obama mentioning Mr. Wyden’s role in the GOP plan.

Nor does Mr. Obama mention that he will pay for Obamacare by looting the Medicare budget of hundreds of billions of dollars, leaving it more insolvent than ever.

Would Mr. Ryan really destroy Medicare, as Mr. Obama and the Democrats say? The answer is an unequivocal no.

Under the Ryan-Wyden plan, “all Medicare beneficiaries would be guaranteed the level of benefits” now offered in traditional Medicare, says a new study of the proposal by Heritage Foundation health care analysts Bob Moffit and Rea Hederman.

Gone under their plan would be the waste-ridden price-control system that vastly overprices medical care costs, pushing Medicare spending through the roof. In its place would be a premium-support system not unlike the health care plans retirees purchase now.

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