Calling all Republicans: Pay attention to Paul Ryan. You need him. You are in quicksand. And he’s got the policy and rhetorical ropes to save the party from being perceived as insular and irrelevant on the issues—most notably the implementation of Obamacare—which will drive the next couple of election cycles.
Unlike many of his GOP colleagues, Ryan, a six-term House member from Wisconsin, is not a “just say no” Republican. A ranking member of the House Budget Committee and senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee, Ryan is a thoughtful, measured, policy-focused and positive force who has been a clear and consistent voice for Republicans on many issues—especially on health care, offering substantive, real and practical alternative solutions. Ryan was the GOP star of the show when Obama spoke to the Republican caucus and held the health-care summit.
Ryan fans describe him as Jack Kemp on steroids. He believes that unbridled individual initiative, innovation, and industriousness lead to competitive advantage and national greatness.
Congressman Ryan’s initiative starts with his “Roadmap for America’s Future.”
Among the things his plan would do:
• Simplify the tax code: 10 percent of incomes up to $100,000 for joint filers and $50,000. for single filers; 25 percent on higher incomes (or you can continue to pay under current system). No deductions.
• Eliminate taxes on interest, capital gains, dividends and death.
• Preserve Medicare and Social Security benefits for anyone currently 55 or older, but replace Medicare benefits for people under 55 with a voucher that would average $11,000 a year that people could use to buy private insurance.
• Achieve universal access to affordable health care with guaranteed refundable tax credits ($2,300 for individuals, $5,700 for families) for portable coverage in any state.
• Allow workers 55 and under to invest more than one-third of Social Security taxes in personal retirement accounts.
• Raise the retirement age. Finally, we’ve got a politician bold enough to propose this obvious solution.
Paul also is a hawk regarding healthcare.
“The true shame of this debate is that there are real problems in health care that need to be fixed. Almost a year ago, I introduced the Patients’ Choice Act to fix what’s broken in health care, without breaking what’s working. I’ve spoken with Wisconsinites for years about patient-centered reforms that would make possible universal access to quality, affordable health care with the patient and the doctor—not the government or insurance companies—as the nucleus of the health-care market. These alternatives were ignored by Democratic leaders in Washington—and the concerns from Wisconsinites and an engaged American public were dismissed by Washington’s political class.
“The yearlong partisan crusade—right through its ugly conclusion—revealed that this debate was never about policy but rather a paternalistic ideology at odds with our historic commitment to individual liberty, limited government, and entrepreneurial dynamism. The proponents of this legislation reject an opportunity society and instead assume you are stuck in your station in life and the role of government is to help you cope with it.”
Paul Ryan has what it takes to revive the GOP if they listen. Now if only he’d run for President in 2012.
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