Tag Archives: Paul Ryan

The Race to Define Rep. Paul Ryan

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Rep. Paul Ryan has been chosen as Mitt Romney’s running mate. The success or failure of the Romney 2012 campaign may come down to how Ryan is perceived by American voters.

As was the case in 2008, the left, moderates, and some on the right will vilify the VP candidate. The socially-conservative Sarah Palin took the brunt of the blame for the McCain loss in the previous election although the campaign and McCain himself were far more the issue.

In this election, there is a fiscally-conservative VP choice – the sharks are circling. Should the Romney-Ryan ticket lose, no future GOP candidate will choose anyone associated with the TEA Party or strong Conservative values again. Two losses with TEA Party favorites as running-mates will serve to moderate the GOP even further making it impossible to tell the difference between the GOP ticket and the DNC ticket in future elections.

The Romney-Ryan ticket does dump some much-needed electricity into the previously flat Romney run. Ryan is a lightning rod for criticism and accolades. The Saturday morning news is full of both signaling a more-exciting race for Americans to watch.

The left is bringing back “right-wing social engineering” in reference to the Ryan budget plan. Labelling Rep. Ryan as the enemy to seniors and women, liberals are elated at the VP pick and Americans won’t have to wait very long to see granny going over the cliff again. Aptly applying a Conservative tag to Ryan then showing him as a monster will be the order of the day for Democrat pundits, campaign staff and PACs. DCCC Chaiman Steve Israel said of the Romney-Ryan ticket, “They’ll be a nightmare for seniors who’ve earned their Medicare benefits.” The President of Planned Parenthood is painting Ryan’s vote to de-fund the abortion giant as a testament to the Congressman being “out of touch and wrong for women.”

Many Conservatives are excited to have someone that can talk about entitlement reform and fiscal sanity. The contrast between the President’s budgets, which have failed to garner any votes at all, and Ryan’s serious proposals could benefit Romney in an election year when deficits and the economy could come into the picture. Popular with TEA party Conservatives, Ryan will help bring along many from the fiscally-Conservative crowd and will likely help deliver Wisconsin to the Romney side.

The American Conservative Union released a statement this morning on the Ryan pick saying that “this bold choice is resonating throughout the conservative movement and will give Mitt Romney very important momentum heading into the Convention and ultimately to victory in November. Gov. Romney’s selection unifies conservatives, defines our message of bringing fiscal sanity back to our government, and brings a youthful enthusiasm to the ticket as we embark on an important debate of ideas which will define America for generations to come.”

Not all Conservatives are excited about the Ryan nod. Some say he’s not fiscally conservative enough, others think that he’s too socially-conservative – some are just ticked-off that their pick for VP didn’t get chosen. Some have gone so far as to report that the selection of Ryan will ultimately cost Romney the election.

Whether left, right or middle, American voters were largely undecided on Ryan or don’t know who he is according to a recent Rasmussen Reports poll. Thus begins the race, by both sides, to define him.

Paul Ryan: 2012 Vice Presidential Profile

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August 11, 2012: GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney made the announcement that Wisconsin GOP Rep. Paul Ryan is his Vice Presidential running mate for the 2012 Election.

PERSONAL INFORMATION

Paul Davis Ryan, Jr. was born January 29, 1970, the youngest of  four children of Betty and Paul Murray Ryan.  His father (now deceased) was a lawyer, and his mother is an outdoorsy lady who kept her family busy on hiking and skiing trips.

Congressman Ryan is a fifth-generation Wisconsin and native of Janesville, where he was born and raised. He is the great-grandson of Patrick W. Ryan, who founded the Ryan Incorporated Central Construction Business in  1884.

Family
Congressman Paul Ryan and his wife Janna (Little) Ryan married in December of 2000, and they now have three children- a daughter and two sons.

Education
Joseph A. Craig High School
1992- Graduated Miami University in Oxford, Ohio with a B.A. in economics and political science

Religion
Catholic
A member of St. John Vianney’s Parish.

The Ryan Family Heart
Congressman Ryan was just sixteen-years-old when he found his father in bed, deceased at the age of 55, from a heart attack. Congressman Ryan’s grandfather also died of a heart attack at the age of 57, and his great-grandfather also died of a heart attack at the age of 59.

Organizations
Delta Tau Delta- Social Fraternity (was a member in college)
Ducks Unlimited- Member
Janesville Bowmen, Incorporated- Member
Rock County Junior Achievement- Board Member

Political Affiliations
Republican
Member of the House Republican Young Guns

Private Sector Career
Oscar Mayer- In college, he was a Wienermobile driver
Marketing Consultant for an earth moving company
Economic Policy Analyst
Ryan Incorporated- Former President

Political Career
1999 to Present- Congressman from the 1st Congressional District of Wisconsin- Currently serving his 7th term
Jack Kemp Vice Presidential Campaign- Former Speechwriter
Office of the Director of National Drug Control Policy- Former Speechwriter
Senator Bob Kasten, United States Senate- Former Staff

Bi-Partisan
In 1999, new to the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan sought advise from other members of the House on how to be an effective Congressman. It was none other than the very liberal Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts that gave him the advise that has defined him.

Be a specialist, not a generalist. Pick two or three issues and really focus on them rather than being a yard wide.

His Motto
“Inquire, inquire, inquire, read, read, read.”

Committees
Chairman of the House Budget Committee
House Ways and Means Committee- Senior Member
Subcommittee on Health- Ways and Means Committee- Member

Non-Legislative Committees
Community Solutions and Initiatives Coalition- Member
Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus- Co-Chair

The Ryan Plan
“The Path to Prosperity- Restoring America’s Promise”
The Plan- a 2012 budget resolution would:

  • End “uncontrolled government spending” and “crushing levels of taxes
  • Repeal the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010
  • Turn Medicare into a private health insurance system
  • Lowering the tax rates for top-earning individuals and corporations from 35 to 25%

Congressman Ryan wrote this plan

“to tackle our looming fiscal crisis, driven by the explosion of entitlement spending. ‘The Path to Prosperity’ helps spur job creation today, stops spending money the government doesn’t have, and lifts the crushing burden of debt. This plan puts the budget on the path to balance and the economy on the path to prosperity.”

Political Accomplishments
An expert on the budget, taxes, and health care.
He “knows more about the federal budget than anyone else on Capitol Hill and talks about it more fluently”

Political Positions
Pro-Life voting record
Pro-Family voting record
Pro-Business voting record
Pro-Free Trade voting record
Pro-Military voting record
Pro-gun rights voting record
Pro-Israel– committed to unbreakable U.S.-Israel bond.
Supports the requiring all laws to cite Constitutional authorization
Supports the elimination of the federal estate tax
Supports The United States military action in Afghanistan
Supports privatizing elements of Social Security
Supports domestic oil drilling
Supports drilling in ANWR
Supports Sealed Border
Supports Immigration Reform, DOES NOT support amnesty
Believes marriage should only be between one man and one woman
Tough On Crime- Believes in Consequences for actions  (Voting record reflect anti-rehabilitation crime votes)
“Hard On Drugs” Stance

Anti-public health voting record
Anti-union voting record
OPPOSES progressive taxation
DOES NOT support using government funds in an effort to stimulate and improve the economy
DOES NOT support restrictions on the purchase and possession of guns
DOES NOT support a publicly-administered health insurance option
DOES NOT support a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants
DOES NOT support National Education Association, earning him an “anti-public education” from the NEA

** To see Congressman Paul Ryan’s voting record on the issues, visit Project Vote Smart and On The Issues. Direct links to Congressman Ryan’s voting record are found at the bottom of this page. **

Throwing Grandma Off the Cliff
The infamous “Paul Ryan Throwing Grandma Off the Cliff” commercial, sponsored by the liberal group “The Agenda Project”.

A comment by Todd Aldrich on this video says it perfectly:

“The majority of Americans believe the LIE that Democrats have put out. The fact of the matter is that NO ONE 55 or older will have ANY changes and the rest of us will get a choice from what ever plan WE want – EXACTLY like congress has. This is to be paid for out of block grants INDEXED for inflation so people are guaranteed their benefits.

The Democrats? They have offered NOTHING, and by doing so they are GUARANTEEING that NO ONE will have those benefits before long.”

ARA (Alliance for Retired Americans- who’s mission statement is “to ensure social and economic justice and full civil rights for all citizens so that they may enjoy lives of dignity, personal and family fulfillment and security”) indicates an “anti-senior” voting record. If you read Mr. Ryan’s plan, you will see he has a plan to save Medicare, proving he is NOT “anti-senior”.  **

Obamacare
 Drudge Report ran this video, with the headline: “Paul Ryan took apart Obama and Obamacare — in 6 minutes!”

 


On The Web
Congressman Paul Ryan’s Official Website
Congressman Paul Ryan on Facebook
Congressman Paul Ryan on Twitter
A Road Map For America’s Future
“The Path To Prosperity- Restoring America’s Promise” 

Paul Ryan In The News
Ryan’s Charge Up Entitlement Hill
Knowledge Is Power
Mr. Ryan Goes To Wisconsin
Obama’s Economic Experiment Has Failed- Time To Get Back To What Works
Stop The Raid; Repeal Rationing Board; Save Medicare
Paul Ryan on Meet The Press: Leadership Needed To Save Medicare, Lift Debt Burden, Grow Economy
Paul Ryan Makes The Case to Save and Strengthen Medicare

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Sources:
Congresswoman Paul Ryan’s Official Website
Ask.com
OnTheIssues.org
VoteSmart.org
The Weekly Standard 

 

 

Mitt Chooses Paul Ryan!

Rep. Paul Ryan

Rep. Paul Ryan

The long wait is over.  Mitt Romney has selected Rep. Paul Ryan to be his running mate.  The weeks leading to this moment was beyond stressful for conservatives.  Will Romney go bold and pick Ryan, Jindal, or Rubio– or be boring and select Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio or former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty.  I’ve been against picking members that constitute the point of the lance of the conservative moment for the number two spot for the simple reason that, historically, the VP position is where political careers go an die.  We are going to need Jindal, Ryan, and Rubio, who are all very young, to fight the left-wing dependency agenda in the future and cannibalizing their political careers didn’t seem like a rational choice.

At the time, Romney and Obama were tied in the polls. It wasn’t like the 2008 hail mary pass McCain took with Sarah Palin to boost support– a move that turned out to be the only good decision his team made during that tumultuous campaign.  However, with Obama leading by nine in the most recent poll, it was time to be bold.  While I still feel the American people like the president personally, which explains his lead, it was not a time to over-analyze.

With Mr. Ryan, Romney has chosen a running mate who is intelligent, vibrant, and articulate. Ryan is a conservative candidate who understands the philosophy and disseminates its message well.  I’m confident he won’t have any ‘Andrea Saul’ moments. This is a key element for the conservative base, who are still apprehensive about Romney’s “severely” conservative credentials.  Ryan is also  the brainchild for the Roadmap that will get this nation back on a track to fiscal health.   He knows the budget. He knows that popular programs will need to be heavily reformed, cut, or dissolved.  He’s bold.  As a result,  I expect the Vice-Presidential debate to nothing short of entertaining.

Ryan will also certainly beef up the vision of America Mitt Romney is trying to illustrate– as a nation still committed to the Madisonian experiment of limited government.  Lastly, according to Business Insider last July, a Romney/Ryan ticket could win the youth vote.

Here’s an interesting find from Public Policy Polling in its Wisconsin poll out WednesdayRep. Paul Ryan could be an asset to Mitt Romney as a vice presidential pick.

Though President Barack Obama has a 6-point lead in Wisconsin over Romney, Ryan narrows the gap to a statistical dead heat in the crucial state.

Here’s an even more surprising finding: the 42-year-old Ryan could help Romney win the youth vote, at least in Wisconsin.

PPP found that a Romney-Ryan ticket would actually win the 18-to-45 age group in Wisconsin over an Obama-Biden ticket. This is the first poll that has found that Ryan would have a substantial effect on the youth vote.

Mitt Romney Paul Ryan

Public Policy Polling

Part of the reason is that Wisconsinites view Ryan favorably, whereas state and national polling has found Romney with an overall negative favorability rating. Forty-four percent of Wisconsinites say they have a favorable opinion of Ryan, compared with 39 percent that do not. He has a 45 percent favorability rating with Independents. And 52 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds view him favorably.

Obama leads the head-to-head race in Wisconsin, 49 percent to 43 percent. But when Ryan is added to the theoretical ticket, the gap narrows significantly. An Obama-Biden ticket would only lead a Romney-Ryan ticket by a single point: 47 percent to 46 percent.

Mr. Ryan is an excellent choice.  I still may not like the timing, but he’s certainly dynamic and qualified for the position.

While many sources expected an announcement this morning, the story was unable to be contained.  As Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman of Politco reported on August 10:

Mitt Romney has selected House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis) as his running mate, and will unveil the ticket at an event in Norfolk, Va. Saturday morning, Republican sources confirmed…The move is a bold choice for Romney and one that a number of conservatives had urged him to make in recent weeks, with some of the loudest calls coming from the pages of the Weekly Standard and the Wall Street Journal.

Wisconsin, Ryan’s home state, has been ground zero for one of the major fights over public-sector unions — and it’s a state where, after Scott Walker defied a gubernatorial recall effort, Republicans are hoping to succeed in the fall. He is the first House member to be selected as a vice presidential contender since Geraldine Ferraro in 1984.

Late Friday night, the announcement was previewed in a press release from the Romney campaign and a tweet from Romney’s communications director. The Ryan unveiling will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday morning as Romney, presumably with the 42-year-old congressman by his side, launches a four-day bus tour through Virginia, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio.

Late Friday night, as speculation gathered that Ryan was the pick, a source deeply involved in the vetting process said “the obvious clue is in the Romney press release” — alluding to the Norfolk event taking place at the USS Wisconsin.

Pressed, this source said: “all signs point to Ryan.”

This same source indicated that Romney had made his decision some time ago and that the other finalists had been playing the role of decoys.

By announcing now, at a moment when he’s dropping in the polls and facing rising criticism, Romney has the opportunity to change the conversation about his campaign. And in tapping Ryan, who is serving his 7th term in the House, the GOP nominee will immediately put a stop to conservative second-guessing about his campaign’s strategy.

The Hill documented the timeline of speculation that led to this moment:

In May, Ryan showed off his attack-dog skills in a highly visible speech at the Reagan Library, where he repeatedly attacked President Obama, calling him “just another Washington politician.”

In June, Ryan was one of several possible vice presidential contenders who joined Romney on his bus tour, which was seen as a running mate tryout. Romney made one stop in Wisconsin on that tour — to Janesville, Ryan’s hometown.

Wisconsin is one of 12 swing states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2012 election. Obama leads by 5 points there, according to the Real Clear Politics average, but the selection of Ryan turns the state into a toss-up.

A July survey from Public Policy Polling showed Obama leading Romney in Wisconsin 50 percent to 44 percent, but that lead would shrink to 47 to 46 percent with Ryan on the ticket.

A rising star in the Republican Party, Ryan became a nation figure with his budget proposal, which called for reducing the federal deficit almost entirely through spending cuts.

The left is probably rejoicing  at the news and lusting to smear Ryan as a person who wants to kill grandma.  However, what does the Obama team have to offer to curb the programs that are about to bankrupt the country?  As Guy Benson of Townhall.com noted today:

Medicare’s own bookkeepers warn that the program will be insolvent within 12 years without meaningful reforms.  Barack Obama has no plan on this front, aside from robbing $500 Billion from Medicare to pay for Obamacare, and empowering an unelected panel of bureaucrats to ration care.  Paul Ryan is very adept at making this case, and every bit of that skill will be essential over the coming three months.  Barack Obama’s reckless budgets have been unanimously defeated for two consecutive years, and the Senate has not produced a budget in over 1,200 days.  The president — by his own administration’s admission — has no plan to deal with our long term debt, which threatens to swallow our economy and change the very nature of the American idea. Whether we like it or not, this is a debate America must have.  Paul Ryan is one of the very best — if not the best — conservative communicators on the biggest issue of our time.  Buckle up, guys.  This is going to get intense. 

In all, we have a solid conservative to balance the ticket.  With eighty-six days until November 6th, it’s time for Mitt, with the help of  Ryan, to unleash the fury on Obama. In doing so–I’m sure victory will be assured on Election Day.  Romney/Ryan 2012! Visit romneyryan.com for more details.

P.S. I’m sure Ali Akbar and Robert Stacy McCain are beyond ecstatic.

3 Strikes: Why Paul Ryan Is A Bad Choice For Veep

Paul Ryan

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”
~Albert Einstein~

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The buzz is deafening.

Social Media, the Mainstream Media, and seemingly everyone in-between is buzzing with excitement at Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan being named as Mitt Romney’s possible selection for the Vice Presidential nominee on the GOP ballot this November.

Sure, Paul Ryan is young, handsome, and intelligent.  However, his voting record is not as appealing.

Ryan’s voting record is pock-marked with questionable votes, but there are three major “YES” votes that should concern every voter.  Moreover, the selection of Paul Ryan should further call into question the decision-making abilities of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney.
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STRIKE 1
The USA Patriot Act of 2001 – http://t-j.cc/TqrWJb

– Eleven years after The Patriot Act was passed, the controversy and stigma has not diminished.  The Patriot Act was a gross attack on the 1st and 4th Amendment protections of all Americans.  A number of the provisions included the original bill signed by President Bush were overturned by the US Supreme Court as unconstitutional, while most of the remaining statutes have been extended multiple times by Congress.

 

STRIKE 2
Medicare Part D (Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement & Modernization Act of 2003) –  http://t-j.cc/Tqscry

– Medicare Part D – which has existed for less than a decade – is already one of the greatest unfunded liabilities on the government’s ledger, as it will surpass $21,000,000,000,000 ($21 Trillion) within a matter of weeks from the date of this article.  This means that Medicare Part D is currently $5 Trillion more than our National Debt ($15.9 Trillion), and $5.1 Trillion larger than the liability of the 77 year-old Social Security program – which stands at $15.8 Trillion.

 

STRIKE 3
Iraq War (Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002) – http://t-j.cc/TqsA9C

– Nearly 4,500 American soldiers dead in a “war” that was initiated on lies and/or faulty intelligence.  Enough said.

 

Three strikes and you’re out, right?

Apparently, that rule only applies in baseball.

 

“I hope they don’t look at my voting record”

Only in the toxic, sulfuric political atmosphere that currently resides in America, can these votes be rewarded with an appointment as the Vice Presidential candidate.

We aren’t even taking into account the abysmal “Ryan Plan” that was released to be a “blueprint for American renewal”, which had the US Government racking up large annual deficits until the year 2040.

The “Ryan Plan” wasn’t only about the budget, but it also included plans to reform the Medicare program.  Due to this, many people believe that as VP Candidate, Paul Ryan would bring entitlement reform to the table.

Wait.  Do people actually expect the same man who voted for the $21 Trillion Medicare Part D catastrophe to discuss or propose reforms that will improve Medicare itself, as well as cut costs?

Is that not akin to entrusting a known burglar to install your home security system?

With the track record that Paul Ryan brings with him, how can this be viewed as positive for America – much less the GOP and the Romney campaign?  The record shows that Paul Ryan is unable to be trusted to make proper decisions on important issues that affect the lives of the American public, and the forthcoming generations.

 

 

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This post is the opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of CDN, Anomalous Media, its staff or other contributors.

AP Reporting Romney Has Chosen Paul Ryan For VP

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It is now being reported by the Associated Press that a “Republican with knowledge” has stated that Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan will be the Vice Presidential running mate for Governor Mitt Romney.

The Romney Campaign has not verified this information, but has issued a statement saying that his running mate would be announced on Saturday morning, August 11, at 8:45 am in Norfolk, Virginia.

The AP Article states:

“The official spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because this person was not authorized to disclose the decision.”

Other reports have noted that the URL RomneyRyan.com started leading to a page entitled “America’s Comeback Team” showing a silhouetted Romney.

David Plouffe: Truth Assassin

Congratulations to Mackenzie Weinger and Reid J. Epstien for accurately reporting the news about White House senior adviser David Plouffe’s trip through television’s Sunday morning talk show circuit. It is truly a pity that Plouffe and those in the White House who oversee his talking points script cannot demonstrate the same accuracy.

Plouffe stated that Republicans want “huge tax cuts for the wealthy, more war, more debt.” As is the case with most “progressive” propaganda, this allegation is completely unsubstantiated.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/politico-live/2012/06/plouffe-republicans-want-more-war-126391.html

Republicans, be they Rep. Paul Ryan or GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, have said repeatedly and on the record that their plans are to institute tax reform, not to pass “huge tax cuts for the wealthy”.

The stated Republican position of letting Generals on the ground in combat zones determine the pace of troop withdrawals is more responsible than pulling troops out based on partisan, politically driven timetables. Withdrawing security forces from countries before they are prepared to assume the burden on their own increases the likelihood that future conflicts will arise. It also sends a signal to America’s enemies that the United States is in retreat. Using history as the measure, signaling weakness through retreat only invites further aggression.

Saying Republicans want “more debt” is based on the incorrect “progressive” assumption that higher tax rates result in more revenue to the IRS. This false notion has been so thoroughly discredited that even Plouffe’s boss in the White House admitted tax cuts lead to increased IRS collections, and that plans to hike taxes on the rich were a matter of “fairness”, not to increase revenues. Tax reform that eliminates loopholes and subsidies for those in the highest income brackets, along with a lowering of tax rates across the board will stimulate economic growth and lead to more money going to the IRS. This will lead to less debt, not more.

Plouffe continued with the White House’s aggressive misinformation campaign by stating Republicans “want to return us back to the same policies that caused the recession”. This is the biggest lie of the last four years. One that has been oft repeated since Nancy Pelosi, Barney Franks, Chris Dodd and Harry Reid first started spreading it the day Henry Paulson’s ill-advised, disastrous TARP bill passed through Congress. With the exception of Republican support for a bill to repeal Glass Steagall (a bill that enjoyed bipartisan support in the House and Senate before being signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1999) the legislation that created to the housing bubble was “progressive” social engineering in America’s housing market. That is what caused the world’s 2008 economic crash. The housing bubble that led to global fiscal meltdown is smothered in “progressive” fingerprints. From HUD, to the Community Re-investment Act, to “progressive” support of and Bill Clinton’s signature on the repeal of Glass Steagall, to “progressives” cooking the books at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to “progressive” Senator Dodd and “progressive” Rep. Franks protecting Fannie and Freddie from regulation.

Plouffe said the White House did not declassify national security information recently leaked in news stories. When pressed on the issue of an investigation of the leaks being conducted by two U.S. attorneys, Plouffe stuck to his talking points, repeating “Everyone in our administration is going to cooperate with this investigation”.

http://www.politico.com/blogs/politico-live/2012/06/plouffe-obama-didnt-leak-information-126384.html

Of course, it would be much easier to believe what Plouffe and his boss are saying if they didn’t insist on continuously assassinating the truth in pathological fashion.

http://mjfellright.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/david-plouffe-truth-assassin/

The Coming Entitlement Crisis

SS number

In February of last year, conservative commentator  George Will gave a great lecture at the Navy War College in Rhode Island.  In that lecture, he detailed two major battles we will face in the coming election, which are taxes and entitlement reform. Despite what the liberal media says about conservatives, we are not trying to destroy Medicare. We are trying to salvage it.  It’s the same for Social Security.  The math simply doesn’t work anymore.  People are living longer through the advancements in medicine. This is a good thing, but it is also incredibly expensive.

When Social Security was instituted, the average length of time from retirement to death was two years.   That is no longer true.  The fastest growing demographic in the U.S. is the very elderly who are people aged 85 or older.  Furthermore, baby-boomers are retiring in droves at a rate of 10,000 a day, every day for the next two decades. This is causing unbearable tension on the already stressed Medicare and Social Security payrolls.

By 2025, there will be a paltry two workers per retiree versus the fourteen workers per retiree in 1950. 

The retirement age will have to go up and keep going up in increments to ensure solvency.  We will have to discuss the possibility of creating private retirement accounts to decrease the burden on the system.  The introduction of choice and subsequent competition are usually effective in reducing costs.  The Heritage Foundation has also released policy prescriptions for Medicare that suggests, amongst many things, raising the eligibility age to sixty-eight.  The premium support that is outlined in Congressman Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity is essential.  It injects choice, personal responsibility, and fiscal discipline into a rigid system that incentivizes waste.  In short, recipients receive a voucher to buy a plan that fits their critical needs.  It is not a wasteful one size fits all approach. With this, Americans have more of a stake in how their money is spent on their insurance and reestablishes discipline and responsibility. This is not an alien concept.  During the Kennedy Administration, the average recipient paid forty-seven cents for every dollar of Medicare spending.  Medicare, of all entitlements, is the one that needs priority attention since it carries  $37 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities, which will fiscally destroy us if it is not dealt with soon.

Now, Grandma and Grandpa will fight hard to keep their welfare state intact.  They vote more often than the younger generation and will oust any politician who seeks to make these critical changes.  Democrats will try to co-opt seniors, since admitting Medicare as an insolvent program invalidates their liberal ideology, and paint Republicans as heartless. However, the “gravy train” is over.  It may have been great for our parents’ parents, but it has become a gross transfer of wealth from the young to the elderly, which in the end leaves almost nothing for succeeding generations.

In fact, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stated that Social Security is solvent for only another 20 years.   After which, full benefits payouts to recipients will not be possible.  Moreover, the Trustees Report also included the insolvency of Medicare that will be unable to cover seniors’ hospital bills by 2024, which is three years earlier than what was projected last year.

George Will asks, succinctly, how much wealth are we willing to spend subsidizing the last twenty-five years of American life.  That is a tough question, but with new fiscally disciplined and conservative Republicans in the House, under the leadership of Congressman Ryan, we have a solution.  We are still waiting on President Obama’s proposals to seriously deal with this fiscal disaster.  So far, none have materialized.  In the meantime,  America’s young and vibrant workers are at risk of becoming trapped in a gerontocracy.

Retirement Programs-Running on Empty

Government trustees report this week reveal that Social Security and Medicare will run out of money sooner than expected. Medicare is looking at a shortage beginning 2024 but Social Security for Disabled (SSI) will be out of funds just around the corner in 2016. All agree that by 2030 there will only be enough money to cover 75% of the need.

The closer Baby Boomers get to retirement age the more worrisome these gloom and doom headlines become. For the most part we pay into these retirement programs with the expectation they will be there to supplement our future needs. We should be taking note. Something has to be done. And now.

Last year Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) presented a plan to reduce the debt and continue retirement programs well into the future. You recall, he was greeted with a barrage of criticism from the left and seniors were given the impression that they would suffer severely. (Remember, throw Granny off a cliff?) Nothing ended up being done by Congress last year except to further kick the can down the road. This year Ryan again has presented a budget and appears better prepared to argue his plan.

Many will argue that this “Path to Prosperity: Saving Medicare” has faults. Many will argue that there are other solutions. Others assure us that removing the FICA cap (which would be a cost increase for those making over $106,800) should be a large part of the solution.  There are questions how moving funding from federal to state governments will affect low income Medicaid recipients. Additionally, there is discussion whether the new Affordable Health Care law is funded in part through cuts to the Medicare budget.

All the above are good questions. The type that should be debated and compromised on in open meetings in Congress. And yet… there is no plan from the Obama administration. In fact, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner reacted to the funding shortfall, not by offering an answer or compromise, but instead to further criticizing the Ryan Plan. As a reminder, it is over three years since the Democratic controlled Senate has even produced a budget.

There appears no attempt to find a resolution. It’s hard not to agree with Stuart Varney on this issue.  The government says: We don’t like your plan. We don’t have a plan but we know we don’t like yours. Is it any wonder people are looking for a change in administration?

Throwing Granny Off The Cliff: Part 2

 

Remember this?

Following Representative Paul Ryan’s budget proposal progressives tried to scare seniors into believing that Medicare services were in danger and Republicans didn’t care about the elderly.

This year conservatives are taking a proactive position. Poor granny again finds herself in a precarious position. But this time it’s the man behind ObamaCare doing the throwing.

Some will say the ad goes to far; that it’s not nice granny actually is tossed and that they shouldn’t use the likeness of the president. Personally, I’d rather have seen, then, Speaker Pelosi who famously told Congress they’d have to sign the bill to learn what was in it. A strong argument could be made that Team Pelosi were the ones who did sacrifice Medicare to pay for ObamaCare.

In any case, I’ll be watching with great interest the Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality of the individual mandate. And no matter the outcome, I’ll be voting in November.

The GOP Budget: Hope for a Fiscally Conservative Future

The federal government has few constitutional powers and responsibilities. One of those responsibilities that made the Founding Father’s very short list is that Congress shall pass a budget every year. Given how much time our elected officials spend on Capitol Hill, you would think that this responsibility would not be overwhelming.

Apparently, it is. As Conservative Daily News reported last week, it has been over a thousand days since the U.S. Senate passed a budget, and it looks like they will derelict on their constitutional duty this year again.

By refusing to live up to its constitutional responsibility, the Senate leadership has effectively handed the budgeting authority over from the legislative branch to the executive branch. Given that the federal government controls more than one fifth of our economy (including cash entitlement programs like Social Security) this is a serious matter. It is an unconstitutional transfer of power from one branch of government to the other in direct violation of the checks-and-balances principle.

The Senate’s budgetary AWOL strategy is aggravated by the fact that the federal government effectively controls the budgets of almost every state, and indirectly a big part our local government budgets. The fiscal powers thus concentrated (but not vested) in the hands of the president thereby extend to another 15 percent of the economy.

One of the consequences of this breakdown of checks and balances in the budget process is that the executive branch effectively can spend as much as it wants on credit. Congress has not yet punted on its right to tax the American people, and the balance between the Republican-led House and the Democrat-controlled Senate has prevented taxes from going up. But since the White House now de facto has full control over the budget they can choose to spend as much as they want. All they have to do is borrow what they don’t get from taxes.

In short: by refusing to let the Senate pass a budget, the senatorial leadership actively contributes to the nation’s already very serious debt problems.

But there is hope. In the midst of the complete irresponsibility exhibited by Senate Democrats and the apparent desire by President Obama to spend as much as he can get his hands on, House Republicans have actually produced a pretty decent budget for the 2013 fiscal year.

In fact, the new GOP budget is probably the most compelling fiscal-policy documents produced by Republicans in Congress since the 1990s welfare reform. Its main architect, Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), deserves credit and respect for a bill that actually tackles the very driving forces of excessive government spending.

What really gives us hope for the future is the fact that Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has a budget bill that suggests reforms that in many ways mimic what is in the House budget bill. If both chambers of Congress actually get a fiscally conservative majority after the election in November, things could take a turn for the better very soon in 2013.

One of the most important features of the GOP House budget is that it draws an ideological line in the sand. It wants to break away from the Obama administration’s ambitions to continue America’s march into a European-style welfare state and instead restore the American tradition of limited government.

Conservative cynics will say that Paul Ryan’s efforts are too little, too slow. That is a valid point. However, the main hurdle in the way of returning to limited government is the welfare state. The welfare state is the key cost problem of the federal government. It took liberals decades to build it, and it won’t go away overnight. The GOP budget takes two first steps, though.

The first is, again, a recognition that there are two distinctly different ambitions for the role of government in America:

The first responsibility of the federal government is the safety and security of all Americans. … This overarching governmental responsibility – securing the inherent rights of all Americans to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – is the principle and the purpose that informs this entire federal budget.

The budget then outlines the difference between a redistributive, Scandinavian-style welfare state and a no-fault government safety net. In the Scandinavian model, government takes from one group of citizens and gives to another on a permanent basis, regardless of whether the entitlement recipients can provide for themselves or not.

A no-fault model, by contrast, limits government to providing a safety net for the poor and needy. Two rules determine when benefits kick in:

  • It is established that it is fault of your own that you are suffering financial hardship, and
  • All private options for support and help have been exhausted.

One particularly important point in the GOP budget is expressed on page 37:

[Some] aspects of the [current] safety net impose barriers of their own. For instance, the elimination of certain benefits as income rises has the effect of imposing a tax that discourages some low-income Americans from seeking lives of independence and self-sufficiency. … In particular, it is essential to prevent benefits structures from becoming barriers to upward mobility.

This is precisely what the redistributive, Scandinavian-style welfare state does: it traps the poor in poverty and turns them into perennial welfare consumers.

What makes the GOP budget so compelling is that it also makes an honest effort to turn this good analysis into actionable policy. It echoes some ideas from 1990s welfare reform by emphasizing job training as a way out of life long welfare dependency (p. 41):

If government is to require able-bodied recipients of aid to find work, as it should, then it must also help them return to productive working lives. To that end, federal education and job-training programs need to be modernized to keep the workforce competitive in a 21st century, global economy. Government must do a better job of targeting resources to make sure that America’s workforce can successfully pursue new opportunities and adopt new skills, if necessary.

It also wants to introduce block grants for federally sponsored, state-run welfare programs. There is also a spelled-out ambition to reform Medicare and to keep federal spending within 20 percent of GDP.

Taken together, these proposed policy reforms obviously will not eliminate big government in a hurry. But, again, if you are driving toward the edge of a cliff, it is better to at least stop and turn the car around than to continue straight ahead.

Our current policies are taking us straight into the dungeon that has swallowed Greece, Spain and other European fiscal disasters. The GOP budget shows that we are within reach of evading that dungeon. A fiscally conservative majority in Congress working with a president willing to listen to them could actually get some true spending reform done.

And make sure that America’s future once again is brighter than her past.

Romney's Christmas Gift To Voters: A VAT Tax

Mitt Romney gave an interview to The Wall Street Journal over the weekend, discussing his concepts on tax policy. I think the mere fact that Romney used the tactic of concealing the discussion, not just in a “Friday night news dump” way, but in a Friday-before-Christmas-news-dump, should tell the reader everything they need to know about what Romney had to say on taxes.

So, what did he say, you ask?

In typical Romney fashion, he didn’t say much. From the WSJ interview:

…it’s hard not to conclude that the candidate is trying to avoid offering any details that might become a political target. And he all but admits as much. “I happen to also recognize,” he says, “that if you go out with a tax proposal which conforms to your philosophy but it hasn’t been thoroughly analyzed, vetted, put through models and calculated in detail, that you’re gonna get hit by the demagogues in the general election.”

This is perfectly in keeping with Romney’s 59-point plan, which I broke down in this post. Not a single point of the 59-point plan could be described as “bold”, “controversial”, or “original”. It’s a plan designed to be the least-offensive to the largest number of people.

Romney’s tax proposal is equally vague and inoffensive:

“What I like—I mean, I like the simplification of a flat tax. I also like removing the distortion in our tax code for certain classes of investment. And the advantage of a flat tax is getting rid of some of those distortions.”

He says this in regard to either a consumption tax or a “true flat tax”.

In other words, he’s playing both sides of the tax debate- some people like consumption taxes, some (like me) like flat income taxation, so Romney says he likes either.

Here’s the interesting part:

He says he doesn’t “like the idea” of layering a VAT onto the current income tax system. But he adds that, philosophically speaking, a VAT might work as a replacement for some part of the tax code, “particularly at the corporate level,” as Paul Ryan proposed several years ago. What he doesn’t do is rule a VAT out.

I think it’s important to pause here and give the reader a refresher on the VAT. I hate to say this, but it’s true: The extent of the average American’s knowledge of the VAT tax can be summed up as “VAT = Europe” and “Europe = Good (for a Democrat) or Bad (for a Republican)”.

I know of no better explanation of the VAT and its dangers than this discussion with Murray Rothbard (via Reason.com, and I highly encourage the reader to read the entire article):

The VAT is essentially a national sales tax, levied in proportion to the goods and services produced and sold. But its delightful concealment comes from the fact that the VAT is levied at each step of the way in the production process: on farmer, manufacturer, jobber and wholesaler, and only slightly on the retailer.

The difference is that when a consumer pays a 7 percent sales tax on every purchase, his indignation rises and he points the finger of resentment at the politicians in charge of government; but if the 7 percent tax is hidden and paid by every firm rather than just at retail, the inevitably higher prices will be charged, not to the government where it belongs, but to grasping businessmen and avaricious trade unions.

While consumers, businessmen, and unions all blame each other for inflation like Kilkenny cats, Papa government is able to preserve its lofty moral purity, and to join in denouncing all of these groups for “causing inflation.”

It is now easy to see the enthusiasm of the federal government and its economic advisers for the new scheme for a VAT. It allows the government to extract many more funds from the public — to bring about higher prices, lower production, and lower incomes —and yet totally escape the blame, which can easily be loaded on business, unions, or the consumer as the particular administration sees fit.

As you can see, it’s no surprise that VAT taxes are instruments of big socialist states.

The question, then, is whether or not Romney is proposing a VAT tax, but avoiding the conservative slings and arrows of such a proposal (by pointing out that Paul Ryan proposed a VAT at one point)?

Jim Pethokoukis believes so:

You can have a value-added tax that is economically efficient and pro-growth but does not have the transparency issues that Norquist and other small-government advocates worry about. Many flat taxers, for instance, like the 19 percent Hall-Rabushka flat tax, a plan which has served as the model for many flat tax proposals. As with the X tax, businesses under a Hall-Rabushka system would deduct cash wages from the cash flow on which they calculate the VAT.

Being a flat taxer, and one who has recommended Hall and Rabushka’s book in a previous post, I have to make a point on this subject: The VAT-like effect of their plan comes from the fact that they propose taxing business expenses, something most flat taxers (in my experience) find objectionable. This is, in fact, my principal disagreement with the Hall-Rabushka plan (and one of my several disagreements with consumption taxes of all forms)- taxing business expenses creates a barrier to entering self-employment, and a barrier to small businesses’ ability to compete against large businesses. There’s no way to make this barrier “gentler”.

By this standard, the Forbes flat tax– which includes a deduction for business expenses- is definitely preferred by the majority of flat taxers I know (though it’s possible there’s a large community of flat taxers somewhere, whom I haven’t met, and who favor taxing businesses in this fashion).

And on the subject of Paul Ryan: I like the man, but I am not a Paul Ryan cheerleader like some others, precisely because some of his proposals aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Let’s remember that, in addition to propising a European-style VAT, he recently partnered with Ron Wyden (D-OR) to craft a new Medicare proposal, which Dean Clancy aptly described as “Obamacare for Seniors“. Romney’s name-dropping effort shows that Ryan’s name recognition among Republican voters is far greater than his plan recognition.

In sum: Mitt Romneycare used Christmas weekend, when nobody reads or watches political news, to announce- in a vague and weasly way- his support of a VAT tax. And no matter how you slice it, VAT- in any form- is a bad idea.

FAILED: Balanced Budget Amendment Does Not Pass House Vote

Just days after the national debt hit $15 trillion, in what Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, describes as the “last line of defense against Congress’ unending desire to overspend and overtax”, the proposed balanced budget amendment failed to pass the vote in the House today.

The Conservative Congress members have spent months seeking support for the proposal, saying that this is the only way to force Congress to put this nations financial house in order. The proposed amendment to the Constitution, which would require Congress to balance the nations budget, actually won a majority of the vote, with 261 votes supporting the proposal and 165 opposing it. However, the amendment did not pass, because it fell  short of the required two-thirds majority vote, which is 284 votes.

While the vote was largely along party lines, with most Republicans voting for the proposal and most Democrats voting against it, Speaker of the House John Boehner lays the blame on Democrats in the House for the proposal not passing. There were, however, four Republicans who voted against it as well. In a statement after the failed vote, Speaker Boehner said:

“It’s unfortunate that Democrats still don’t recognize the urgency of stopping Washington’s job-crushing spending binge. A number of economists and experts support a Balanced Budget Amendment because it would help create a better environment for private-sector job growth.”

The four Republicans who voted against the proposal were:

Representative David Dreier, R-California
Representative Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin
Representative Justin Amash, R-Michigan
Representative Louie Gohmert, R-Texas

Representative Paul Ryan said he voted against the proposal because the actual draft of the amendment voted on was much different from the one Conservatives had drafted, which would have set solid spending limits, and would have required a super-majority to raise taxes. He said he believes the proposal which was actually voted on today would make it “more likely” that the way a balanced budget would be reached would be by just raising taxes, rather than actually cutting spending. “In a statement explaining why he voted against the measure, he said:

“Without a limit on government spending, I cannot support this amendment.”

There was obvious disappointment among those who voted for the proposal. Freshman Representative Steve Womack, R-Arksansas, said:

“In the 10 plus months I’ve been here, I consider this vote the most important vote I will have because it’s the vote that has the most impact on the future of my grandson. It is sad that Congress does not have the discipline to live within its means, and I strongly believe the only way to constrain an undisciplined Congress is to enshrine its obligation in the Constitution.”

Representative Candice Miller, R- Michigan, who also voted for today’s proposal, said:

“It is time for this Congress to use the tools our Founding Fathers gave us to amend the Constitution to save further generations from the shackles of unsustainable debt.”

One of the few Democrats who voted for the proposal, Representative Mike Ross, D- Arkansas, said:

“I’m very disappointed the House failed to pass this amendment, because, as a fiscal conservative, I have helped introduce a balanced budget amendment in each and every session of Congress since I first arrived. Deficit spending is nothing new, and both parties share the blame, but our deficits have become unsustainable and it’s past time to restore fiscal discipline and accountability to our government.”

Today’s proposal is a softer version of the proposal of the original, as an attempt to win more Democrat votes. While the original draft  set solid spending limits, the proposal voted on today would have required total spending for any fiscal year not exceed total receipts. It did, however, provided for some flexibility, such as in times of war. To raise the debt ceiling or a waiver of the balanced budget amendment in a given year, a three-fifths majority vote would have been required.

Critics on the Democratic side of the aisle argued that the amendment still would require cuts in Medicare and other entitlement programs if the economy puts the budget in the red.

If the proposal would have passed in today’s vote, it would not have immediately solved our nations financial problems. The bill would still face a fierce battle in the Senate, which it would likely not pass. However, in the event it had passed in both houses, it would still have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. This process would not be complete until 2015. The proposal then allowed 2 additional years for the bill to go into effect, bringing us to 2017, to allow Congress time to bring the budget into balance.

This is the first time a balanced budget amendment has been proposed since 1995, but it too failed to pass. The 1995 proposal passed in the House, but failed to pass the Senate by one single vote.

 

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