Ernest Istook: “it’s time to put away childish things” and tackle deficit, will Senator Mark Pryor do it?

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor at the 2009 DPA J-J Dinner

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor at the 2009 Democratic Party Jefferson Jackson Dinner, Arkansas’s largest annual political event. (Did you notice that besides Mike Ross, EVERY OTHER DEMOCRAT THAT PRYOR MENTIONS DOING SUCH A GREAT JOB IN WASHINGTON IS NO LONGER IN OFFICE, SNYDER, LINCOLN, and BERRY)


Ernest Istook at the Saint Paul Tea Party Rally 4/16/2011 Part 1

Ernest Istook, US Congressman, Heritage Foundation,, spoke at the Saint Paul Tea Party Rally 4/16/2011. Hosted by North Star Tea Party Patriots, and Sue Jeffers.


Several weeks ago I heard Republican Congressman Tim Griffin say that it was time for the people in Congress to put on their grown-up pants  and tackle the federal spending problem. I wondered where he got that phrase, but now I know. The one thing that remains to be discovered is will Senator Pryor ( Arkansas’ only Democrat left in Washington) follow suit with the other five from Arkansas and support a solution to the federal spending problem?

This month’s KARN/AFP-Arkansas Conservative Luncheon Series will feature the Heritage Foundation’s Ernest Istook. 

As usual, the lunch will kick-off at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 29 at the Hilton Little Rock Metro Center (925 South University Ave). Ernest Istook wrote a great article, “America’s Budget Debate is a time for Grown-ups,” Heritage Foundation, April 11, 2011. It reflects my views on the federal spending debate.

The liberals in Arkansas have all have kept their heads in sand concerning the future of our nation concerning the entitlements. John Brummett, Pat Lynch, Gene Lyons, and Max Brantley have all acted like Paul Ryan is a nut for even addressing the issue. Mark Pryor says he wants to put everything on the table concerning possible cuts, but then he has voiced much criticism to the Ryan plan. We are still waiting on his plan, but while we wait we will hear criticism of Ryan’s plan by Senator Pryor:

“A budget reflects our priorities as a nation, and I strongly believe that caring for the elderly should remain a core value of America. The Ryan plan takes a different approach, destroying Medicare as we know it. Dismantling this safety net for our seniors is unacceptable, but providing tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans on the backs of our seniors is inexcusable. I will oppose this plan,”


It is my view that Paul Ryan’s plan takes a serious look at our nation’s problems and confronts them. Below is an article by Ernest Istook that is excellent:

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) has proposed a budget for grown-ups.

Washington’s big spenders have responded with the tired clichés we expect from defenders of big government:

“Pulling the rug out from under seniors,” says Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI).

“Waging war on American workers,” says Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA).

“A path to poverty for America’s seniors and children,” claims House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).

“The tea party has hijacked the Republican caucus,” says House Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

Pee Wee Herman could have delivered more creative comebacks. But adult conversations about serious issues are lacking in Washington, D.C. Ryan’s plan should be rated at least R for Realism, while the dismissive comments are PG for Politically Guided.

Ryan’s plan is a big deal. A very big deal. Its proposed $6.2 trillion of savings (compared to Obama’s budget) over ten years is literally 100 times larger than the $61 billion that the GOP tried to cut this year — and that Democrats fought against ferociously.

Changing Medicare to a defined contribution plan is a good course to pursue, and of course a tough sell. But it makes a huge difference in controlling spending and reducing deficits. The same with revising Medicaid to give states flexibility to deliver care more efficiently — yet with limited federal outlays. 

As The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Dependency notes, dependence on government is skyrocketing. Ryan’s plan would address that.

Spending limitations, rollbacks and freezes. Repeal of Obamacare. Cutting corporate welfare (including farm subsidies) as well as overly generous giveaways to individuals. Structural reform for federal health care programs, which are the biggest runaway spending items. Ryan is serious in a way that few other politicians are.

But his “Path to Prosperity” is about economic growth, not just spending. Tax simplification is one aspect, and so is lowering corporate taxes so businesses are not pushed overseas by what is now the world’s highest rate. A Heritage Foundation analysis finds this would create a million jobs a year for starters, and double that rate in short order.

It’s not perfect. Our national defense needs are greater than Ryan projects. Social Security’s problems are not addressed. And welfare reform should go beyond what he lays out.

But Ryan’s proposal is good, tough stuff — strong medicine that we need, not politically correct placebos that the plan’s opponents are already peddling.

We live in a time when cute sound bites substitute for debate and false claims are used to justify inaction despite our fiscal crisis. While most of his critics carp without offering any alternatives, Ryan has delivered a needed challenge before we fall totally over the fiscal cliff.

Paul Ryan respects Americans — especially taxpayers. He speaks to us like adults. For the rest of Washington, it’s time to put away childish things.

Ernest Istook is a distinguished fellow at The Heritage Foundation.

I respect Senator Pryor’s political instincts, and I do think he will find his political views moving more to the conservative side of many of the issues because Arkansas is now turning more conservative than ever.  

On Wednesday April 19th at the Political Animals Club in Little Rock, Senator Mark Pryor said he will not vote to raise the federal government’s borrowing limit unless there is a “real and meaningful commitment” to debt reduction by cutting spending and overhauling the tax code.

Is Senator Pryor  starting to be more conservative in his political views? It probably did not go without notice that of the five federal offices up for election in November of 2010, only the one Democrat Mike Ross was able to get re-elected. In fact, Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln was not even able to get 36% of the vote. 

Senator Pryor has asked for spending cut ideas, and I have sent him  several dozen ideas myself. I have received two generic replies. On May 24th Senator Pryor wrote: 

“I am deeply concerned about current spending levels and our ever-growing national debt. I have consistently said that everything must be on the table when it comes to reducing our debt and deficit, and I mean it… I believe we can create a long-term budget plan that significantly reduces our national debt while maintaining adequate funding for our nation’s priorities. This challenge must include reducing spending, addressing entitlement programs, and reforming the tax code.”  

It is my view that cutting spending is the only way to balance the budget. Currently the tax revenues are around 2.1 billion and spending is over 3.7 billion. Senator John Boozman favors a balanced budget amendment, but Senator Pryor opposes it. 

Federal spending has grown 62 percent faster than inflation since 2000. Anti-poverty spending has surged 89 percent faster than inflation since 2000. Nearly half of this increase occurred in the past two years. Since 2000, Medicaid and Food Stamp rolls have expanded by nearly 20 million. This has resulted in increased government dependency. 

If Senator does get re-elected he may find that he is the only Democratic Senator from the South left in the Senate after the elections of 2014. It will be interesting to see how the drama plays out this summer concerning the effort to  raise the federal government’s borrowing limit above 14.3 trillion.

Below are some of the previous posts I have made about Senator Pryor:

 The Debt Bomb: A Decade of DC Spending is Driving America Closer to an Economic Apocalypse Alexis Garcia reports on America’s exploding debt. Experts blame entitlements like Social Security and government spending. But what is the solution? Can we raise taxes without crushing the economy and the middle class? Does Obama really want to lower […]

Balanced Budget Amendment the answer? Boozman says yes, Pryor no, Part 32 (Input from Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute Part 4)

Mark Levin discusses the two amendments needed to re-establish Constitutionalism as well as other things that need to be done to fix the issues facing the nation. Mark is brilliant at keep his eye on the objective and does this every night on This excerpt is from 1/27/2011. Steve Brawner in his article “Safer […]

Balanced Budget Amendment the answer? Boozman says yes, Pryor no, Part 31 (Input from Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute Part 3)(Milton Friedman worked with Senator Hatch on amendment)

Mark Levin interviews Senator Hatch 1/27/2011 about the balanced budget amendment. Mark is very excited about the balanced budget amendment being proposed by Senator Orin Hatch and John Cornyn and he discusses the amendment with Senator Hatch. Senator Hatch explains the bill it’s ramifications and limitations. Senator Hatch actually worked on this bill with renowned […]

Balanced Budget Amendment the answer? Boozman says yes, Pryor no, Part 29 (Input from Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute Part 1)(Milton Friedman past posts)

By Everette Hatcher III | Also posted in Cato Institute | Edit | Comments (0)

Brummett:We must increase debt ceiling or disaster will occur (Part 3) (Royal Wedding Part 7)

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