[I]magine 2016 in the unlikely but not completely impossible event that a budget surplus does materialize [in 2015]. Republican elevation of the deficit issue will allow the Obama administration and its Democratic allies to declare “mission accomplished,” all without taking the blame for entitlement reform. The House-passed budget that promised a balanced budget within the ten-year budget window by making unrealistically deep cuts in Medicaid and domestic discretionary spending will continue to be hung around the necks of congressional Republicans. One hopes that one or several of the GOP presidential candidates will devise a more compelling economic message and reform agenda. But this will have to be done in a near-vacuum, as conservative lawmakers have been emphasizing deficit reduction above almost everything else.
Justin Green encourages the GOP to restructure its agenda “no matter what the fiscal outlook looks like over the next three years:
The Republican coalition is shrinking because its solutions are less and less pertinent to the needs of actual voters. While it can be comforting to retreat to tried and true during midterm elections that favor conservative purists, the long-term demographic numbers are not great for committed conservatives.
That’s why it’s so important that Republicans look to 21st century ideas such as helping alleviate the woes of student debt, making it easier for young people to form healthy and stable families, and looking to different ways to ease peoples’ tax burdens and ensure they too will be able to count on a secure retirement.