Pat Toomey introduces budget that would balance the books in 10 years — but wouldn’t touch entitlements

posted at 7:02 pm on May 10, 2011 by Allahpundit

There’s already a nifty nine-page synopsis circulating. It looks fab on paper: No tax hikes, a modest surplus by 2021, and far less political risk for the GOP than Ryan’s budget insofar as Toomey’s plan would leave Medicare and Social Security unreformed. In fact, per page seven of the synopsis, his budget’s softer on Medicare than Obama’s is:

Medicare

This budget doesn’t reduce Medicare spending; it actually spends more on Medicare than either the president’s budget or the House-passed budget. This results from the fact that this budget permanently reforms the so-called “sustainable growth rate” so doctors do not face the prospect of devastating cuts each year. This plan also calls for medical malpractice reform.

So how do we get from $1.5 trillion in annual deficits to a surplus without touching entitlements? NRO was at the press conference for the rollout:

Pro-growth tax policies are at the heart of Toomey’s plan. His budget reaches balance by 2020 by lowering federal spending to 18.5 percent of gross domestic product, reforming the tax code, lowering marginal tax rates, and closing tax loopholes. It also reduces the corporate-tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent and indexes the alternative minimum tax for inflation…

“It is my view that a permanent solution to the fiscal challenges that we face will require broader reforms than what we have in this budget,” he said. “But this budget represents what we think of as a necessary first step; it reaches a balance.”

Toomey, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said that he would vote for Ryan’s budget if it was brought to the floor. His budget, he emphasized, was not a competing document. “I see this as a different focus,” he said. “[Ryan’s] goal is long-term, it’s permanent solvency, and he walks through the structural reforms that would achieve that.”

In other words, while Ryan’s plan seeks permanent fiscal sustainability by reforming entitlements over the course of decades, Toomey’s just trying to get us back to zero in 10 years and leaving the conversation on entitlements to a later date. But … when is that later date? If not now, after a tea-party landslide in November, then when? I’m exasperated by the uncertainty, as is Cavuto in the clip below. Toomey’s reply is that they’re handcuffed by having a Democratic president and Senate majority so there’s no sense in chasing the white whale of Medicare reform now. Okay, but after all the rhetoric from Ryan et al. about how the fiscal apocalypse is nigh unless we deal with entitlements immediately, Toomey’s plan now turns around and says not only do we hypothetically have another decade before we have to move on it, we can afford to go easier on Medicare than even Obama wants to in the short-term and find offsetting savings elsewhere. I guess Toomey’s thinking that public awareness of the problem is bound to grow over the next few years as more Boomers end up on the rolls, leaving the parties with no choice but to take on entitlements, or possibly he figures that the political landscape will be better after 2012 assuming the GOP picks up seats in the Senate. Even if Obama is reelected, he’ll be a lame duck and Republicans will (probably) control both chambers of Congress. The political risk for Democrats in having O compromise under those circumstances will be minimal.

Among the GOP heavy hitters who co-sponsored Toomey’s bill: Rubio, DeMint, and Mike Lee. (Cavuto asked him about Rand Paul. Watch the clip to see his response.) Meanwhile, in case you’re wondering, yes, the Democrats do have a budget of their own: $4 trillion in deficit reduction, fully half of which is funded by tax increases. It doesn’t have a prayer of passing, but Kent Conrad had to submit it in order to win proud socialist Bernie Sanders’s vote and move it out of committee. So that’s the state of seriousness in the majority party this fine spring day.



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maybe him and ryan will meet in the middle.

rob verdi on May 10, 2011 at 7:05 PM

Coward. He if you don’t make the small cuts now, the big cuts will be extremely painful. Right now, they won’t be that bad. Stupid RINO. This country is doomed.

andy85719 on May 10, 2011 at 7:05 PM

The true problem in the debt crisis is we have a president who doesnt even want to vote “present” on this.

Nothing the GOP can do will change that.

William Amos on May 10, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Toomey’s just trying to get us back to zero in 10 years and leaving the conversation on entitlements to a later date

feels like kicking the can down the road

gop lite? need to ponder some more

cmsinaz on May 10, 2011 at 7:12 PM

The answer to all of this is the Reagan answer. Growth of non government jobs via supply side.

If you cut taxes it increases job growth as businesses hire more people to do the work.

Themore people you have at work the more taxes it generates via productivity rather than demands on the system by the poor.

The more people you have working the fewer people you have poor. This decreases the entitlement crisis. More people paying into SS means more money for those over 65.

See this is where the democrats hurt America badly. When you increase the number on the welfare roles you increase government demand and decrease productivity. Its a downward poverty spiral. But that is what the democrats want because the more people are poor the more they are dependant on government to solve their problems.

No one ever got rich in a welfare line. Except the people that put them there.

William Amos on May 10, 2011 at 7:12 PM

I wonder if they will tell the American people that they could balance the budget with one No vote on the debt ceiling. Instand balance of the budget if that occurs. Why take 10 years when you can do it this month?

But it’s better than the dems budgets. Look 10 years or 5 year sis the politicians’ way of kicking things down the road. Do it quickly. Not 10 years down the road…

unseen on May 10, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Pretend and extend.

DFCtomm on May 10, 2011 at 7:13 PM

More people paying into SS means more money for those over 65.
William Amos on May 10, 2011 at 7:12 PM

not true it also depends on the wages of those working. 3 hamburger flippers might pay the same as the GM retired automworker paid before.

unseen on May 10, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Ten YEARS?

Do we even have ten MONTHS before this fiscal house of cards collapses?

PappyD61 on May 10, 2011 at 7:15 PM

It banks on “growth”. But if we promote growth AND cuts to entitlements, we actually eliminate the DEBT. Toomey, you spineless weasel.

Nethicus on May 10, 2011 at 7:15 PM

So how do we get from $1.5 trillion in annual deficits to a surplus without touching entitlements?

There’s also this little gem from the summary – the Toomey plan assumes a faster annual growth of GDP (4.84%) than Ryan’s plan (4.75%). That is, however, slower than Obama’s wild-eyed 5.05%.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:16 PM

not true it also depends on the wages of those working. 3 hamburger flippers might pay the same as the GM retired automworker paid before.

unseen on May 10, 2011 at 7:14 PM

3 hamburger flippers pay more taxes than 1000 people on welfare.

William Amos on May 10, 2011 at 7:16 PM

leaving the parties with no choice but to take on entitlements, or possibly he figures that the political landscape will be better after 2012 assuming the GOP picks up seats in the Senate.

methinks he is dreaming

cmsinaz on May 10, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:16 PM

ok now I know he is dreaming

cmsinaz on May 10, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Among the GOP heavy hitters who co-sponsored Toomey’s bill: Rubio, DeMint, and Mike Lee.

That’s a pretty good list of co-sponsors.

LastRick on May 10, 2011 at 7:19 PM

ok now I know he is dreaming

cmsinaz on May 10, 2011 at 7:17 PM

Obamacare wrecks any growth for a decade.

William Amos on May 10, 2011 at 7:19 PM

There’s also this little gem from the summary – the Toomey plan assumes a faster annual growth of GDP (4.84%) than Ryan’s plan (4.75%). That is, however, slower than Obama’s wild-eyed 5.05%.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Toomey 4.84%
Ryan 4.75%
Obama 5.05%

None of those growth rates sound realistic to me at this point. Not with a looming $14 trillion in debt along with the European instability.

sharrukin on May 10, 2011 at 7:23 PM

That poor can, getting kicked down the road for how many decades now?

Bishop on May 10, 2011 at 7:23 PM

That poor can, getting kicked down the road for how many decades now?

Bishop on May 10, 2011 at 7:23 PM

I think they’re running out of road.

DFCtomm on May 10, 2011 at 7:25 PM

I think they’re running out of road.
DFCtomm on May 10, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Quit harshin’ the groove, man, haven’t you seen the deep deep abyss at the end of that road; the can could fall forever once it gets kicked over the edge.

Bishop on May 10, 2011 at 7:28 PM

More people paying into SS means more money for those over 65.

William Amos on May 10, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Only to a certain, limited point that does not even begin to address the long-term problem of demographics. Since SocSecurity is a pay-as-you-go system, where (subject to bend points) the amount one puts in is related to the amount one is scheduled to take out, more money into the system now merely means more money paid out of the system later.

I really need to do a full post on this, but I’ll summarize now to illustrate my point. SocSecurity reached its first tipping point of taxes not equalling expenses at roughly the same time it was expected to do so in the 1997 Trustees’ Report. Indeed, if one adjusts the predictions in the 2009 Trustees’ Report with the performance of SocSecurity in 2009 and 2010, the “trust fund” exhaustion date is right where it was in 1997 – 2031. The much-larger-than-anticipated taxes, and resulting much-larger-than-anticipated “trust fund” between 1997 and 2008, in the end, did not change the dates predicted in 1997.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Kicking the can down the road to serfdom.

astonerii on May 10, 2011 at 7:29 PM

Toomey 4.84%
Ryan 4.75%
Obama 5.05%

None of those growth rates sound realistic to me at this point. Not with a looming $14 trillion in debt along with the European instability.

sharrukin on May 10, 2011 at 7:23 PM

Well I can do better than them… I project a growth rate of 10%! That should make the numbers come out much better.

GRRRRRR this is frustrating!

petunia on May 10, 2011 at 7:29 PM

With Babyboomers, entitlements are what’s going to eventually sink the country.

Unless ObamaCare becomes legal and all the old folks die off quickly. In that case, problem solved!

GarandFan on May 10, 2011 at 7:30 PM

Among the GOP heavy hitters who co-sponsored Toomey’s bill: Rubio, DeMint, and Mike Lee.

That’s a pretty good list of co-sponsors.

LastRick on May 10, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Good point. I am not sure I can trust any of them however.

petunia on May 10, 2011 at 7:32 PM

Toomey 4.84%
Ryan 4.75%
Obama 5.05%

Well I can do better than them… I project a growth rate of 10%! That should make the numbers come out much better.

GRRRRRR this is frustrating!

petunia on May 10, 2011 at 7:29 PM

This is the thing. None of these guys are serious about cutting anything or dealing with the overspending. They just want political cover so THEY don’t have to deal with it.

sharrukin on May 10, 2011 at 7:32 PM

William Amos on May 10, 2011 at 7:19 PM

you ain’t kidding

cmsinaz on May 10, 2011 at 7:33 PM

I think they’re running out of road.

DFCtomm on May 10, 2011 at 7:25 PM

Quit harshin’ the groove, man, haven’t you seen the deep deep abyss at the end of that road; the can could fall forever once it gets kicked over the edge.

Bishop on May 10, 2011 at 7:28 PM

If that poor can wasn’t poor before, going into said abyss will make it unrecognizable.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:34 PM

This is the thing. None of these guys are serious about cutting anything or dealing with the overspending. They just want political cover so THEY don’t have to deal with it.

sharrukin on May 10, 2011 at 7:32 PM

The problem is, neither is 80% of America.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Discretionary spending is the problem? You could eliminate all discretionary spending and you won’t balance the budget. What is it about that simple fact that these politicians don’t understand?

lowandslow on May 10, 2011 at 7:38 PM

The problem is, neither is 80% of America.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Most of them have never been told the truth by anyone.

They have their own lives to live and don’t pay the kind of attention we do on sites like this. I think we need to find someone who will level with them and basically, trust the people. If that doesn’t work then nothing will, but at least we could try?

sharrukin on May 10, 2011 at 7:42 PM

Its not just entitlements, but the entire government that needs to be cut down to size. The ‘Reagan Solution’ did not address the size of government, and the idea of lowering taxes got more revenue which made government which: smaller or larger?

Did the spending go: higher or lower?

In the way of regulations do we have: far fewer or far more?

If you increase revenue they WILL spend it, and they will spend it on authoritarian government agencies that will grow and create brandy-new missions for themselves. Until a plan comes forward that puts the good faith effort in to get rid of entire agencies, I will not believe one single, solitary word coming out of the mouths of these Congresscritters. The entitlements will kill the budget and SSA is already in the red. And if you don’t cut out the junk accumulated in the 20th century, then we will be far worse off with a booming economy and larger, more intrusive government that believes it can fix all problems.

Go back to Coolidge and cut the SIZE of government, not just its SPENDING.

And get rid of the Fed, Fannie, Freddie, Ginnie, Sallie, EPA, FDA, Energy, Education, Agriculture, FCC… these are destroying the economy by distorting it to what government wants, not to what the people want.

And instead of some restructuring of the tax code, how about we extend it to the majority that pay no federal taxes? Even a set amount, and then discount it starting at the poverty line but exempt NO ONE from it. This is our government and we all must learn its burden by supporting it directly… look at what NOT doing that has gotten us. And if the argument is that even a token amount will hurt the poor, then perhaps we should have a smaller and less burdensome government instead of expecting others to carry the poor along: the poor citizen is still a citizen and should be expected to behave like one and act responsibly to get themselves out of that condition of poverty. Heaven help us trying to make the rich the keepers of the poor via this horrific tax system. No good is coming of it and the end will be purely evil.

ajacksonian on May 10, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Discretionary spending is the problem? You could eliminate all discretionary spending and you won’t balance the budget. What is it about that simple fact that these politicians don’t understand?

lowandslow on May 10, 2011 at 7:38 PM

That there’s no money.

Seriously, the reason why that tipping point got here a few years early is because the over-emphasis on taxing The Rich cratered tax revenues far more than the drop in the POR Economy (™ Tom Blumer) would otherwise suggest.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:46 PM

This is the thing. None of these guys are serious about cutting anything or dealing with the overspending. They just want political cover so THEY don’t have to deal with it.

sharrukin on May 10, 2011 at 7:32 PM

The problem is, neither is 80% of America.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Nothing is going to be done, until something happens. It’s going to be like those chemistry demonstrations you got in high school. You know the ones where a supersaturated solution undergoes rapid crystallization. Every thing is normal one minute but then one little seed starts a near instant reaction and then everything is changed. That’s what’s waiting for us.

DFCtomm on May 10, 2011 at 7:46 PM

The problem is, neither is 80% of America.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:35 PM

ding ding ding….

sad :(

cmsinaz on May 10, 2011 at 7:53 PM

What about the debt?

huckleberryfriend on May 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Seriously, the reason why that tipping point got here a few years early is because the over-emphasis on taxing The Rich cratered tax revenues far more than the drop in the POR Economy (™ Tom Blumer) would otherwise suggest.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:46 PM

The problem is, we’re past the point of growing out of this. We could increase GDP 6% a year and we won’t keep up with the increasing entitlement and debt burdens. I understand Toomey and Ryan using these scenario to try and sell something, anything but it’s still nothing but bull sh*t. Bottom line is we can’t grow our way out of the entitlement problem this country faces. The sooner people understand that, the sooner we can fix it.

lowandslow on May 10, 2011 at 8:00 PM

We don’t have ten years.

Mark this on you’re calender, by the end of the year the Dollar will no longer be the worlds reserve. By july 2012 our currency will not be worth the paper it’s printed on.

QE3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are just around the corner. The Fed is going to destroy us to try to save wallstreet.

MadDogF on May 10, 2011 at 8:27 PM

We don’t have 10 years!!!

Start now with entitlements for the lazy class. Those Americans who suck off the system by sitting on their butts waiting for Obamachecks. How?

1. You want your monthly entitlement check? Drug test.

2. You want to ride in the ambulance for the sniffles and bill Medicaid? Drug test. (children not included)

3. You want your food stamp and EBT card re-loaded? You know, that sweet little card that buys you cigarettes, candy, junk food? Drug test.

4. Defund ALL entitlement programs for illegal aliens.

a. Are you on welfare or any form of public assistance? E-Verify.

b. If your fake SSN that you bought for $50 in North Carolina or any of our other (57) states doesn’t match the system? No re-load

5. Are you an illegal alien that is over the age of 65 and collecting Medicare? E-Verify. You don’t check out? You get off the program.

Ohhh, there are ways to reduce the deficit immediately by enforcing the laws already on the books.

6. Are you an employer that is working illegal aliens to boost your profits? You’re out of business.

These ideas are not new, they are not draconian; these are common sense solutions to an immediate problem that would likely reduce our deficit by $1T

And, no sanctuary cities. That is rediculous.

Key West Reader on May 10, 2011 at 8:33 PM

obaka isn’t going to sign anything that you guys want, even if the Senate was to pass it. Accept that. We may have to settle for little cuts and work at gettin obaka OUT, which means some of us are going to have to hold our noses and vote for the GOP candidate regardless of who it is.

And I don’t like it any better than the rest of you.

ladyingray on May 10, 2011 at 8:51 PM

According to Toomey, we give up on entitlement reform since we don’t own all the branches of government and it just isn’t worth it.

According to Allen West, we give up on Obamacare repeal since we don’t own all branches of government and it just isn’t worth it.

catmman on May 10, 2011 at 8:55 PM

The stupid Republicans have been listening to the Democrats rag on the Ryan Budget. They’ve watched the Democrats put their astroturf protestors into the town hall meetings. All of a sudden they have no spine. The Democrats do this so easily with the complicity of the press. Remember the tea parties and the protests, where was the media on that? They did everything in their power to make them appear to be nothing. NOw, with the shoe on the other foot, they’re playing up the obvious rent-a-mob tactic the Democrats are using to make it appear more than it is.

The Senate Republicans need to grow a pair and show what they’re made of. I want to know where Marco Rubio stands on this….

bflat879 on May 10, 2011 at 9:13 PM

not true it also depends on the wages of those working. 3 hamburger flippers might pay the same as the GM retired automworker paid before.

unseen on May 10, 2011 at 7:14 PM

3 hamburger flippers pay more taxes than 1000 people on welfare.

William Amos on May 10, 2011 at 7:16 PM

Post of the decade!

98ZJUSMC on May 10, 2011 at 9:43 PM

The guy’s sort of a douche, but he had a point…there’s not much support for going after these big entitlement programs.

Could be that they’re just too entrenched in our society. Pretty sure the Leftists are well aware of this, that’s why they’re creating even more every chance they get.

Easier to “give” folks entitlements than it is to take them away.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 10, 2011 at 9:59 PM

The problem is, neither is 80% of America.

Steve Eggleston on May 10, 2011 at 7:35 PM

Most of them have never been told the truth by anyone.

They have their own lives to live and don’t pay the kind of attention we do on sites like this. I think we need to find someone who will level with them and basically, trust the people. If that doesn’t work then nothing will, but at least we could try?

sharrukin on May 10, 2011 at 7:42 PM

I have seen that first hand, in my own family. They are way too busy to peruse the net. I try to send them links, but they usually just sit there until deleted. Way too busy so, they end up getting it from mostly FOX.

However, they are still dumbstruck when I bring up what is really going on. They know things……superficially, only

98ZJUSMC on May 10, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Toomey’s just trying to get us back to zero in 10 years and leaving the conversation on entitlements to a later date.

Getting back to zero is not enough.

Mandatory spending should include not only interest payments on the debt, but debt reduction payments as well.

rukiddingme on May 10, 2011 at 10:32 PM

We need to win the next election and this is an interesting proposal. It could be feasable or it could be a page from the dems playbook. Overestimate and spin your way to victory.

After the election, if we control the house and senate, I’ll take my chances on gettin g entitlement reform even if Obama is still President.

Vince on May 10, 2011 at 10:45 PM

The Senate Republicans need to grow a pair and show what they’re made of. I want to know where Marco Rubio stands on this….

bflat879 on May 10, 2011 at 9:13 PM

He’s a co-sponser.

Vince on May 10, 2011 at 10:47 PM

Toomey is fiscally sharp. He is the one that Huckabee attacked, calling Toomey’s Club for Growth the Club for Greed. Toomey has a young family. Like Paul Ryan, Toomey is not looking to saddle his children with burdensome debt.

Toomey also knows that increasing the debt ceiling is not necessary. He has introduced legislation that destroys Geithner’s foolishness.

I like Ryan, and I like Toomey. Between the two of them, they are powerhouses in getting us back to prosperity.

In a related subject, I received a letter from the Mercatus Center of George Mason University– that’s Dr. Walter E, Williams’s school, I believe. The letter discusses its “One-Cent Solution.” It claims that by saving (not spending) one cent for every dollar spent by government, the country’s budget would balance within ten years…without raising taxes. This is real growth, not inflationary growth. There is probably more detailed information at the website: http://www.mercatus.org. The ideas are truly revolutionary and tested to good results reining in government spending in New Zealand.

onlineanalyst on May 10, 2011 at 11:31 PM

I wonder if they will tell the American people that they could balance the budget with one No vote on the debt ceiling. Instand balance of the budget if that occurs. Why take 10 years when you can do it this month?

unseen

I hope not, because that would be a lie. If it were true, the budget would be balanced now.

Refusing to raise the debt ceiling won’t instantly balance the budget, it merely keeps the debt ceiling where it is now, which is more than enough to create a huge budget deficit.

xblade on May 11, 2011 at 2:49 AM

This won’t work either. Businesses are not going to invest on the promise that taxes will be cut and stay cut as we continue to borrow trillions more each year.

There is only one politically and economically viable way to balance the budget: Balance the budget.

Pass a bill that cuts every department’s spending by roughly 30% first. Then get to work on legislation that shifts monies between departments and revises their mandates and missions so that they can be most effective with what they have left.

Since this hits all special interests equally, no one can get away with waging class warfare to sabotage it. It’s benefits and costs will be understood immediately. Businesses will respond by investing and hiring.

Everything else is misguided twiddle by people who’ve invested their lives in it.

elfman on May 11, 2011 at 10:10 AM

How can he say this bill lowers spending to below 18.5% of GDP, when it has already been projected that Medicare and SS will eat up more than that in the coming decade

Further what is the projected growth rate they are using, Obama and Ryan have both used pie in the sky growth rates to “balance” their budgets.

Any “plan” that does not reform social program is no plan… period

the_ancient on May 11, 2011 at 11:11 AM