|Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI)|
"Many polls show that the vast majority of Americans have no idea of the true composition of federal spending. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, just 35% of Americans know that Social Security, Medicare and national defense spending constitute more than 50% of the federal budget. A 2001 poll showed that half of all Americans thought foreign aid comprised at least 20% of the budget, and the average response was 25%. In fact, foreign aid is less than 1% of the budget and has been for decades."
- Medicare: current Medicare recipients and those enrolling in the next decade would continue under today's program, though wealthier recipients would pay somewhat higher premiums. In 2021, Medicare would become a voucher program for new recipients (those today 54 or younger). With vouchers, recipients would buy Medicare-certified private insurance. In today's dollars, the vouchers would ultimately grow to $11,000. Eligibility ages for Medicare and Social Security would slowly increase toward 69 and 70, respectively.
- Medicaid: modernizes Medicaid and strengthens the health care safety net by reforming high-risk pools, giving states maximum flexibility to tailor Medicaid programs to the specific needs of their populations. Allows Medicaid recipients to take part in the same variety of options and high-quality care available to everyone through the tax credit option.
- Social Security: for those 55 or older today, the program would remain unchanged. For those younger, benefits would be reduced, with no cuts for the poorest workers. Workers 55 or younger in 2011 could establish individual investment accounts that would be funded with part of their payroll taxes. Government would guarantee a return equal to inflation.
- Tax Reform: taxpayers could choose between today's incomprehensible tax system and a streamlined replacement having no deductions and virtually no special tax breaks. Above a tax-free amount of $39,000 for a family of four, taxpayers would pay only two rates: 10 percent up to $100,000 for joint filers and 25 percent on income greater than $100,000.
“…But it is also impressive. I wouldn't balance the budget in anything like the way Ryan proposes. His solution works by making care less affordable for seniors. I'd prefer to aggressively reform the system itself so the care becomes cheaper, even if that causes significant pain to providers. I also wouldn't waste money by moving to a private system when the public system is cheaper. But his proposal is among the few I've seen that's willing to propose solutions in proportion to the problem. Whether or not you like his answer, you have to give him credit for stepping up to the chalkboard.”
“…But the larger point is that Ryan is trying to start a conversation on the desirable role and limits of government. He's trying to make it possible to talk about sensitive issues -- mainly Social Security and Medicare -- without being vilified. President Obama recognized that when he called Ryan's plan a "serious proposal." But since then, Democrats have resorted to ritualistic denunciations of him as pillaging Social Security and Medicare. Legitimate debate becomes impossible. If Democrats don't like Ryan's vision, the proper response is to design and defend their own plan. The fact that they don't have one is a national embarrassment."
"The Republican budget provides tax breaks for the wealthy, ends Medicare as we know it and privatizes Social Security. Here they go again, rehashing the same failed Bush policies."
“The Ryan plan is, of course, politically ludicrous. It would be impossible to get Congress to even implement one of its major provisions, let alone all of them simultaneously. And I say this as someone who in principle supports many of the ideas in his plan. For example, I believe we must raise the retirement age, and it's hard to see how we can meaningfully reform the health system to reduce cost inflation as long as health insurance is free of taxation. But I don't delude myself that it is possible to implement such changes absent a major transformation in political attitudes or conditions that do not now exist."
(1) ever-rising levels of government spending that will overwhelm the Federal budget and the U.S. economy with crushing burdens of debt and higher taxes and a future in which America’s best century is the past century or (2) a second future- one in which the principles that created America’s freedom and prosperity are restored.