A friend who wishes to go by Lane Meyer sent an e-mail pointing out an excellent passage from Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger’s piece, A Ronald Reagan Budget.
But the Obama prescriptions reflected Democratic Party politics of our time, which insists that prosperity begins inside someone’s head in Washington and then flows out to the country. The country is a taker of what Washington creates or allows—whether the Obama health-care plan or anti-carbon regulations. Reagan-Ryan argues that prosperity is born inside the heads of several hundred million citizens, and that the government’s first responsibility is not to kill the yeast.
Both the Beltway Democrats and the conservative deficit hawks share the conceit that the nation’s future revolves completely around what they do in Washington. This reduces the people to bystanders. That may work for Europe’s parliamentary systems, but it’s not the way things work here. Successful politics here draws people into its drama, and that means offering something bigger to believe in than deficit reduction. And guess what, progressives: The “safety net” isn’t what moves a nation, either. Think bigger.
Paul Ryan’s budget is inevitably about what Washington does (or refuses to do). But its underlying rationale is to reorder the relationship between Washington and the American people—country first, Washington behind.
It would be tough to word that any better.
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