Ok, this may be turning into “Paul Ryan Appreciation Week” here at JohnBrodigan.com, but I can never turn down an article from Reason Magazine. And no, he’s not really running for President. I just couldn’t think of a title.
It’s funny, because I was just having a conversation with a friend who agrees with me more than he doesn’t, but said something along the lines of not knowing who is right all the time: conservative or liberals. Obviously I feel the former, but I also joking said that I use libertarians as the tie-breaker, specifically mentioning Below the Beltway and Reason.
So now Ryan is getting covered in the top libertarian magazine, one that advocates many of the ideas conservatives agree with, but from a serious policy angle as opposed to an “Obama sucks” angle. Here’s what they had to say aboot him, or more specifically, hos “Roadmap for America’s Future….”
Energetic and athletic (he worked part time as a fitness instructor before running for office and maintains a punishing workout routine), Ryan is surprisingly cheerful for a man who worries constantly about fiscal disaster. Without substantial policy changes, Ryan warns, “entitlements will collapse our economy.” And so he has made it his mission to “fix the country’s fiscal problem.” Many congressmen have sounded warnings about America’s precarious fiscal condition over the years. But unlike any other sitting legislator, Republican or Democrat, Ryan has actually put forward a solution—a plan that, at least in theory, could actually work.
According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which produces Congress’ official projections about the long-term fiscal effects of legislation, Ryan’s “Roadmap for America’s Future” would balance the budget by 2063 and reduce Medicare’s expected share of the economy from a currently projected 14.3 percent in 2080 to a mere 4 percent. It would also transform Medicare itself, using vouchers to push health care decisions toward the individual as it drastically cuts government spending. It calls as well for a substantial simplification of the tax code and the replacement of the corporate income tax with an 8.5 percent business consumption tax.
CBO’s projections are inherently uncertain—even the most competent economic forecasters can only guess at how the world will change over 50 years, and the plan’s revenue assumptions have already come under fire. But Ryan’s roadmap is, at the very least, a compelling vision of a fiscally sound future. It is also a reflection of Ryan’s wonky streak. In the 1990s, he worked both for Bill Bennett’s conservative policy shop Empower America and as legislative director for Sen. Sam Brownback (R–Kan.). Today, according to his staff, he works out many of the details in his own legislation, a rarity on the Hill. He also brags about being “able to spend lots of time with the actuaries at HHS, with Social Security and CBO.”
In short, Ryan is as passionate about policy details as he is about his broader principles. That’s the combination that produced the roadmap. “I look at numbers, and I have deeply held principles and beliefs,” he says. “And all of those are on a collision course.”
Give the whole article a read because it also looks at criticism of some of Rep. Ryan’s recent votes, but also how many in the Republican Party, while adovcating for spending cuts, never seem to want to specifically mention anything they’ll actually cut. Paul Ryan actually puts it all out there.