06 Apr 2011

Not Just Your Politics As Usual

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My preferred choice for 2012 GOP candidate.

The budget plan introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan actually represents a serious effort to fix the entitlements crisis and close the enormous gap between government income and expenditures. I do not believe that I have ever seen, in my lifetime, so courageous a piece of legislation. Wall Street Journal

One can see the dramatic impact of this one hundred degree shift in politics in the fact that it immediately forced the New York Time’s substitute-for-a-conservative David Brooks right off the fence, and transformed him into a full-throated supporter.

Over the past few weeks, a number of groups, including the ex-chairmen of the Council of Economic Advisers and 64 prominent budget experts, have issued letters arguing that the debt situation is so dire that doing nothing is not a survivable option. What they lacked was courageous political leadership — a powerful elected official willing to issue a proposal, willing to take a stand, willing to face the political perils.

The country lacked that leadership until today. Today, Paul Ryan, the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee, is scheduled to release the most comprehensive and most courageous budget reform proposal any of us have seen in our lifetimes. Ryan is expected to leap into the vacuum left by the president’s passivity. The Ryan budget will not be enacted this year, but it will immediately reframe the domestic policy debate.

His proposal will set the standard of seriousness for anybody who wants to play in this discussion. It will become the 2012 Republican platform, no matter who is the nominee. Any candidate hoping to win that nomination will have to be able to talk about government programs with this degree of specificity, so it will improve the G.O.P. primary race.

The Ryan proposal will help settle the fight over the government shutdown and the 2011 budget because it will remind everybody that the real argument is not about cutting a few billion here or there. It is about the underlying architecture of domestic programs in 2012 and beyond.

The Ryan budget will put all future arguments in the proper context: The current welfare state is simply unsustainable and anybody who is serious, on left or right, has to have a new vision of the social contract.

The democrat-controlled Senate will probably decline to endorse moving to a sustainable federal government, but Congressman Ryan has framed the 2012 Electoral Debate. This is a budget that Republicans can campaign on.

2 Feedbacks on "Not Just Your Politics As Usual"


If I were Mr. Ryan, I would focus in the near term on his Medicaid reform. Block granting would allow states to run their own programs, innovate, and implement needed reforms. If a state can operate its program more efficiently, it can keep the leftover federal dollars. Incentives are aligned properly versus the current structure that incents states to ADD to Medicaid rolls.
We already know what happens when you do this because it models the repeal of AFDC in the 1990s.


Heh. “one hundred degree shift in politics”. I’m trying to figure out whether that means the difference between facing twelve o’clock and 3:15, or the difference between the freezing and boiling points of water. I think I’ll get my coffee now….


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