Paul Ryan? No, Congress should listen to Mark Pocan
As the U.S. House has debated budget priorities in recent days, two Wisconsinites have been in the limelight.
One is Capitol Hill careerist Paul Ryan, the Janesville Republican who came to Washington almost a quarter century ago and whose experience in the private sector would be generously described as “slim.”
The other is Mark Pocan, a small-business owner who has created jobs and balanced budgets in the private and public sectors.
Ryan’s got a “new” budget plan, which is really a retread of his old plans to have America do something that has never been done: Cut our way to prosperity. Ryan wants to restructure Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security in ways that — conveniently — would enrich his campaign donors in the insurance, pharmaceutical and financial-services industries. And he wants to cut needed programs with an austerity agenda every bit as ill-thought-out as what we’ve seen in Europe.
Pocan, the guy who actually knows something about making payrolls, and who as a former co-chair of the Wisconsin Legislative Joint Finance Committee actually balanced state budgets, rejects Ryan’s premises.
Speaking of Ryan’s budget plan, Pocan told the House: “This is a budget based on bad math and unrealistic assumptions. We need to balance the budget responsibly by getting people back to work — that’s the best way to reduce our deficit. I urge my colleagues to reject the backward-looking plan from our friends on the other side of the aisle, and instead embrace a forward-looking plan on job growth.”
Like Ryan, Pocan serves on the House Budget Committee.
Unlike Ryan, Pocan understands that budget choices are not just theoretical. They influence the economy. And Pocan recognizes that “the best way to reduce our deficit is to get the people of Wisconsin and the nation back to work.” That’s why, while Ryan proposes austerity cuts, Pocan supports a Congressional Progressive Caucus “Back to Work” budget that makes smart cuts in Pentagon bloat, closes tax loopholes for the wealthy and invests in education, research and development, and infrastructure.
Those investments promote job growth, as does Pocan’s plan to provide incentives for companies to create jobs in the United States.
Members of Congress have a choice of Wisconsinites to listen to.
Instead of deferring to the D.C. insider who is so out of touch that he still believes the austerity lies that the rest of the world has seen through, they should pay attention to the small-business owner who knows how to create jobs and balance budgets.