Republicans acted on the message voters sent in the 2010 congressional elections when they elected more than enough members of the House to control that body; they tackled the scandal of out-of-control spending, and the voters responded.
So far, they have shoved a poison pill down the throats of spending-happy House Democrats, chopping a cool $38 billion from the 2011 federal budget. They now face a new challenge in enacting a budget for 2012 by passing the one introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), which begins to put the nation's fiscal house in order.
That should be job one for Congress. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the U.S. is set to run up the largest budget deficit of all major developed economies this year. The IMF recommended that the nation needs to tighten its belt now, rather than face tough adjustments in the next two years.
In a new report, the IMF warned that the U.S. shortfall will reach 10.8 percent of its gross domestic product this year, putting it ahead of Japan and the United Kingdom. The IMF has estimated that President Barack Obama will have to cut the deficit by 5 percentage points of GDP in the next two fiscal years, making it the largest adjustment in "at least half a century," to meet his pledge of halving it by the end of his four-year term.
"Market concerns about sustainability remain subdued in the U.S., but a further delay of action could be fiscally costly, with deficit increases exacerbated by rising yields," the IMF wrote in its Fiscal Monitor report, published several times a year to analyze public finance development.
The IMF recommended "a down payment" in the form of deficit reduction this year that would make the government goal "compatible with a less abrupt withdrawal of stimulus later."
These are somber warnings which should alert the Obama administration -- and both the House and Senate -- that they must put the brakes on spending money the U.S. doesn't have, rather than forcing us to either print more paper dollars or borrow more money from China.
The House must pass Rep. Ryan's proposed budget promptly and send it over to the Senate to pass and send it to the White House for the president's signature.
The Heritage Foundation has written very favorably of the Ryan budget proposal, which "for the first time in recent memory, sets our nation on a different and better path. It tackles the massive spending excesses of the recent past and the entitlement crisis that is beginning to command our fiscal future. It rejects the politics of government dependence, massively higher taxes and the inevitability of national decline."
His budget "pares back non-security discretionary spending -- the small part of the budget that Congress actually writes a budget for -- and tackles other parts of the budget, such as farm subsidies and the federal bureaucracy."
It also repeals Obamacare, the federal government's invasion of the nation's health-care system, which has given America the world's finest health-care system.
"Most crucially," Heritage notes, "Ryan's budget tackles entitlement programs with transformative changes in Medicare and a solid approach to controlling Medicaid's spiraling costs. These changes will result in a stronger and bigger economy with more job creation, more savings and investment, and higher household incomes."
As Heritage has pointed out, America desperately needs to change course: "Our current direction is fiscally and economically unsustainable and politically and culturally bankrupting. It is threatening the well-being and future of our country."
Congress needs to get off the dime and pass Ryan's budget before the nation drowns in an ocean of red ink.
Michael Reagan is the elder son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. E-mail comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com.