Paul Ryan: Big, Bold Solutions for Young Americans
by Dan Horning | GWU
It’s official. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and representative for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional district, will be the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States.
The reaction to the decision is mixed. Conservatives and Tea Party activists are generally very pleased with the choice, excited that a fiscal conservative who has gone head to head with President Obama on Federal spending will be on the ticket. Democrats are also excited, as the author of the most polarizing budget in modern memory, the Path to Prosperity, will become the center of the campaign instead of their failing candidate, 8.3% unemployment, and a $16 trillion national debt.
Others are concerned that a 42 year old who has never run in a state-wide race and who is largely a numbers specialist could be a heartbeat away from the Presidency. And some conservatives, fearing that Mitt Romney will lose in November, aren’t happy that the biggest gamble of the campaign is being taken on their bright, rising star. A loss in November could ruin Paul Ryan and his brand for years to come.
For all the worrying and guessing and commenting that pundits on TV will engage in, for Generation Y, Paul Ryan is just the candidate we have been waiting for. He is the only candidate who truly understands the crisis that our generation is facing, he isn’t afraid to tackle it head on, and he’s willing to listen to all sides while trying to find a solution.
The choice of Paul Ryan shows that Mitt Romney and the GOP are committed to tackling the looming fiscal Armageddon. Taxes are slated to increase by $494 billion in 2013. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are all in major trouble. The national debt now is near $16 trillion and is greater than 100% of the national GDP.
Annual budget deficits continue to exceed $1 trillion, even though President Obama promised to cut annual deficits in half by the end of his first term. Unemployment is at 8.3%; more disturbing, half of those who have graduated college since 2006 are unemployed. To say the least, this isn’t a pretty picture for us.
The choice of Ryan moves this election away from silly attacks and TV sound bytes to a national referendum on who we are as a people, a country, and where we want to go. Do we want to continue the expansion of the government cradle, and how will it be paid for? Or do we want to move away from the nanny state and towards greater personal responsibility, towards a limited approach to government? If so, what happens to those who are already dependent on the government for help, or society’s most vulnerable? What happens to all the money young people and middle-aged workers have already paid into the system?
Paul Ryan forces Democrats and President Obama to talk about the budget and Federal spending. In that respect, Romney has already won. Obama has nothing to stand on when talking about his budgetary record. His health care law inclues one of the largest tax increases in U.S. history. Obama has proposed hiking taxes on small businesses, because “You didn’t build that.” He championed Dodd-Frank, which legalizes ‘too big to fail’ and puts the government on the hook for future bailouts. He has favored Wall Street over Main Street, allowing bankers and lawyers to write the complex regulations and rules that only giant firms, the ones that are too big to fail, can understand and afford a compliance department for.
The central case for and against Paul Ryan will be his budget, The Path to Prosperity. I spoke about why the Democrats are lying out their teeth about this budget in a previous article. The Path to Prosperity closes corporate loopholes and creates a level playing field, cleaning up the complicated and antiquated tax code. He re-organizes tax brackets into two: 10% and 25%, repeals the AMT, and lowers the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%. His budget cuts spending by $5 trillion over the next 10 years, balancing the budget by 2040.
The Ryan plan repeals the new, unelected board of bureaucrats (Independent Payment Advisory Board) created under the President’s health care law, the same group that would have unilateral power to cut Medicare funding. The Ryan plan also block grants Medicaid to the states, and forces insurance companies to compete for business, hence driving down costs and ensuring that Medicaid costs remain low and don’t drain the entire Federal budget. The Ryan plan creates an environment for our generation to find meaningful employment, save for our retirement, and recapture the American Dream, a dream that has hit a ceiling under the Obama administration.
During his acceptance speech on Saturday morning, August 11, Paul Ryan said the following:
President Obama, and too many like him in Washington, have refused to make difficult decisions because they are more worried about their next election than they are about the next generation. We might have been able to get away with that before, but not now. We’re in a different, and dangerous, moment. We’re running out of time — and we can’t afford 4 more years of this.
Every generation has a defining moment, a moment when we rise up and change the course of history. The Civil Rights movement, World War II, and the volunteerism after 9/11 serve as examples of when young people seized the moment and delivered. We are at that moment yet again. We are on an unsustainable fiscal path that threatens our national security and our generation’s future.
Paul Ryan will be the leader we need to confront these challenges. Is his model blueprint perfect? No. Even Ryan admits that. But it’s a start. Since he is one of the few statesmen who has actually proposed a detailed plan, our generation should rally around him and join in the fight.
Plus, who can say they don’t want to see Joe Biden and Paul Ryan debate each other? That will make for a great drinking game.Dan Horning is a Philadelphia native and senior at The George Washington University. An International Affairs major concentrating in international development and international economics, Dan has worked on a number of political campaigns and is a self described public policy nerd.