Today, the 2012 budget battle begins in earnest. Rep. Paul Ryan has introduced  his budget proposal in an article in today’s Wall Street Journal and it’s a humdinger. In fact, it is probably the most ambitious and complete fiscal plan we’ve seen in this country since the Reagan administration. Not only will it cut the deficit hard, but it will also rein in Medicare and Medicaid and overhaul the tax code. The detailed plan will come out later, and that’s when the real analysis will begin, but the outline is impressive.

My only qualm is that it still leaves Federal spending above 20 percent of GDP. That figure needs to be at least two percentage points lower if we have any hope of reducing the deficit to nothing. If we want to whittle away at the national debt, it’s going to have to be even lower still. I’m hopeful that the Republicans will treat this plan as their opening bid, not the ideal that will be chipped away by hundreds of tiny craven compromises. If they do that, we might see some real deficit reduction very soon.

Also don’t forget about the live show tonight — 9:30 P.M. Eastern!

And now, links!

  • It’s no surprise that air travelers hate the airlines. Who would like being treated as little more than a source of cash rather than as a valuable customer whose return business airlines crave and for which they will fight viciously?
  • Chalk one up for the Laffer Curve. It’s not lost on me that England is rediscovering capitalism and personal freedom just when our government is taking us in exactly the opposite direction.
  • The number of Obamacare waivers is now up to 1,168. Tell me again how wonderful government-run health care is? I can’t quite hear for all the stampeding away from it.
  • I’m not entirely sure there’s corruption going on in Wisconsin, but it sure looks like a few Democrats are trying to discourage citizens from getting information they have a right to possess.
  • You know where plenty of public employees won’t find the union label? On their paychecks.
  • I’m looking forward to the upcoming A Game of Thrones series. Unfortunately, I don’t get HBO, so I’ll have to wait until it’s available on Netflix or DVD. However, I’ll enjoy this 12-minute clip from the pilot episode.
  • Red. Velvet. Sheet. Cake.
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