Throwing Stones

A number of years ago, two of our Board Members, former Congressmen Charlie Stenholm (D-TX) and Jim Kolbe (R-AZ), developed a Social Security reform plan (still one of the best to date). 
Along with it, they made a deal: they and other members of Congress agreed not to attack any ideas that were put forward to help fix Social Security. If anyone in their group got criticized, they would all come to his or her defense. The point was to allow for a productive debate about the different approaches to fixing Social Security.
Fast forward to Paul Ryan’s Roadmap Plan. While broadly heralded as a courageous exercise in specificity in a time when few policymakers are ready to talk about realistic policy trade-offs, the plan has nonetheless been criticized by some Members of Congress because of its structural changes to entitlement programs.
The Kolbe-Stenholm principle should apply here as well: Though shalt not criticize the policies in another’s budget plan until at least you have come up with your own.
First an obvious point in defense of the specifics of the Ryan plan; entitlements programs, particularly Social Security and Medicare, are going to change. They have to. They are the driving problems behind long-term budget deficits. That a comprehensive plan to deal with long-term budget imbalances includes major changes to Social Security and Medicare should come as no surprise, but rather, a demonstration that it is a serious plan.
But beyond that, it is counterproductive to ever coming up with a reasonable budget compromise if specific ideas are beaten up as soon as they are presented. You don’t have to like every detail of the Ryan plan—or even any of them—but as a Member of Congress whose job it is to help be part of the solution, please refrain from criticizing until you have shown you can do better.


Big Bureaucracy

This is a great call for civility in Washington DC. Politicizing the entitlement crisis issues is like politicizing the national security - not in the nation's favor.


However, it is one thing to throw political jabs (this has to stop) - it is totally different to voice criticism of the Ryan's plan. He is young and passionate about his work. His plan I'm afraid is a no go, because people in America like their entitlements and his plan is trying to reform them in a way that requires people taking personal responsibility for their retirement.


Ryan's plan has the same chance to pass as Bush's Social Security reform - none. I hate to break it to the young and naive congressman, but the independent folks that are drinking tea today will start joining the Democrat's rally the second they sense that any Republican is trying to take away a piece of their Medicare heaven.


We are all for personal responsibility as long as we don't have to exercise it ourselves.


Honestly, Washington bureaucrats should turn their eyes to themselves. At the beginning US Senators used to do their business at one small desk inside the Old Senate Chamber - today they are lost in 3 buildings full of desks and desks and desks.


Here is my plan: Cut 10% of all the federal government (and by that I mean the programmes and activities besides the bureaucrats). All states but Washington DC would love that.

Greetings! Ellie from

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