Tuesday, February 23, 2010

RyanCare: A Republican Fix for the Mess We're In

I found this over at There's My Two Cents and it's way too good not to pass along:
Imagine your family's finances if you spent and borrowed like Washington: you'd owe $60 in credit-card loans for every $100 of income. Every month you'd pay back a little but borrow even more. In 10 years, you'd owe $87 for every $100 you made. At some point you'd hand off the debt to your kids. If they worked until 2035, they'd owe more than $180 for every $100 they earned. In 2050, your grandkids would owe more than $320. By 2080 they'd owe seven times their earnings. Of course, lenders would cut them off well before then, and your family would be ruined. But this is the path your government is on right now.
The author of this remarkably clear picture of our country's catastrophic indebtedness is Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

Medicare, he pointed out, "is short $38 trillion of what it promises to provide your parents, you, and your kids. In five years, the hole will grow to $52 trillion. Your family's share: $458,000." Let's not even discuss Medicaid.
With Social Security's surplus "already gone" we're looking at 30% higher payroll taxes or 25% less in Social Security benefits.

Ryan has proposed a solution to our debt woes, which he calls "A Roadmap for America's Future." According to this plan, individuals (not the employer or government) would own their own health plans, helped by tax credits. People over 55 would remain in the current Medicare program, but those under 55 would join a health-care program "like the one enjoyed by members of Congress," in which they would buy into insurance programs that suit their needs. Folks with lower incomes and higher health costs would get government help. Those over 55 also would remain in the existing Social Security program, but those under 55 could either stay in the current program or "invest more than a third of their payroll taxes into savings accounts they will own." Under Ryan's plans, eligibility ages for both Medicare and Social Security would gradually increase.

Americans would also have the option to pay "a simple, low-rate, two-tier personal income tax"--no loopholes, no double taxation of savings and investment. Corporations would pay "a simple 8.5 percent business consumption tax."

Wow. As Ryan writes:
The plan unapologetically applies our nation's founding principles—individual liberty, limited government, and free enterprise—to the challenges of today. And the Roadmap does this in a way that honors our historic commitment to strengthening the social safety net for those who need it most.
For what it's worth, Ryan actually worked in the private sector, for a short while at least, as an economic analyst. Toby Harndon, the US editor of the UK Telegraph, recently tagged him the 9th "most influential US conservative":
Paul Ryan has it all – including time on his side. He entered Congress at the tender age of 28 and doesn’t turn 40 until this year. A budget hawk, he is now the senior Republican on the House Budget Committee and is holding the Obama administration’s feet to the fire just as he challenged the Bush administration to return to fiscal conservatism. Undoubtedly a future presidential prospect, he hails from a swing state and won re-election in 2008 even though his district went for Obama – an illustration of his powerful crossover appeal. A Catholic and strong social conservative, Ryan is happily married with three children and is a keen bow hunter and fisherman. His website Americanroadmap.org outlines his plans to rewrite the entire federal tax, healthcare and Social Security system. 

Increasingly a national figure, he recently endorsed Marco Rubio in the Florida Senate primary, saying that “Marco’s record of conservative leadership offers convincing evidence that he will hold Washington accountable, prevent government from wasting our tax dollars and lead a new generation of Republicans”. Showed he is not afraid to go against his party’s hierarchy. A former Senate aide, he wrote speeches for Jack Kemp, Republican vice-presidential candidate in 1996. He is the fifth generation of his family to live in Janesville, Wisconsin. Used to hold constituency hours in an old truck that he would drive to remote towns and villages. Has a populist touch, recently penning an essay for Forbes entitled Down With Big Business, railing against lobbyists, “crony capitalism” and the “record profits” of rescued banks.
Get a closer look at Ryan's plan at americanroadmap.org.

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