Not surprisingly, there was some difference in emphasis in the remarks offered by conservatives and liberals. For instance:
Brian Riedl, a Heritage budget expert, described a "spending spree" since 2001, noting widespread waste and ineffective programs.On the other hand:
Joseph Minarik, vice president and director of research for the Committee for Economic Development, noted that the swing from budgetary surplus in 2000 to deficit today has been 6% of GDP, and 80% of that has come from declining revenues, although most future deficit growth will result from health-care and other spending growth.(Emphasis added.)
The issue that is beginning to seep into the mainstream of political discourse is whether the party that created a massive budget deficit by passing irresponsible tax cuts for the rich and extremely rich can be trusted to make the hard policy decisions that lay ahead. By way of example, it is becoming obvious that, if only from the standpoint of international economic competitiveness, we need to overhaul the way in which health care is paid for. This means that there have to be radical changes made in the way health care is funded. Diversionary issues, such as placing a large share of the blame for rising health care costs on medical malpractice claims, simply won't cut it anymore.
If the Democrats want a platform to run on, it's this: "We can make the hard choices. There will be burdens to be borne, but we'll see that these burdens are borne equitably."