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  • Hopefully Not A Road Less Traveled

    There is no threat to our nation’s fiscal health greater than the coming deficits from unrestrained growth in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Already Social Security and Medicare consume 7.5% of our GDP. Unless changes are made that figure will jump to 13% by 2030.

    Bravely stepping in to offer a policy solution, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has introduced a plan he calls “A Roadmap for America’s Future.” The four major components of the plan, outlined in today’s Wall Street Journal, include:

    • Health Insurance. The bill provides universal access to affordable health insurance, by shifting the ownership of health coverage from the government and employers to individuals. It provides a refundable tax credit – $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families – to purchase coverage.
    • Medicaid and Medicare. The bill modernizes Medicaid by giving states maximum flexibility to tailor their Medicaid programs to the specific needs of their populations. It also allows Medicaid recipients to avail themselves of the health-coverage options open to everyone else through the tax-credit option.
    • Social Security. Workers under 55 will have the option of investing over one-third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts. These personal accounts are likely to grow faster than the traditional benefit. They are also the property of the individual, and are thus fully inheritable. The bill includes a guarantee that no one’s total Social Security benefits from the personal accounts will be less than if he had chosen to say in the current system.
    • Tax Reform. The bill first of all offers individuals a choice of how to pay their taxes – either through the existing law, or through a simplified code with a tax return that fits on a postcard … The rates in the simplified code are 10% on income up to $100,000 for joint filers ($50,000 for single filers); and 25% on taxable income above these amounts. … On the business side, the bill gets rid of our uncompetitive corporate tax – currently the second highest in the industrialized world – and replaces it with a business consumption tax of 8.5%, which is half the average industrialized world rate.

    While not necessarily embracing every item in his package, this is a serious reform proposal to address the surging middle-class entitlements that threaten our children’s economic future. Congressman Ryan has offered a long-term solution that avoids tax increases. The Heritage Foundation has offered proposals along similar lines. We challenge those who disagree with his approach to offer their own long-term solution.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Hopefully Not A Road Less Traveled

    1. Ronald Musacchia, De says:

      I applaud "A Roadmap for America's Future"!

      It is a starting place for conservative Americans to get back on track.

    2. Vincent R. Bickler, says:

      Three cheers for Rep. Ryan's bold plan that is needed to counter the crazy ideas spouted by the lefty Democrats in this great country. The plan requires a ground swell of support by the quiet conservatives in the Land. We are tolorating way too much, and not standing up to the nuts in political power in our states and on the national level. Come on, fellow conservatives! Get with the program, and speak up for America and our children's future.

    3. Richard Beaudoin, Es says:

      How do we go about initiating a "contract with America" style initiative using Rep. Ryan's principals?

    4. Brandy Gebhardt, Lov says:

      It is about time a Republican has the courage to stand up and provide a plan that conservatives can get behind. My hat is off to Rep. Ryan. It takes a lot of courage to step out, away from the main stream of Washington. Something very few Republicans seem to be willing or courageous enough to do!

    5. PHILLIP SCHULTZ ,LAS says:

      HERE WE GO

      1)RETARD CONGRESS'PAY TO 75,000 PERIOD

      2)TAKE AWAY ALL OF CONGRESS' PERKS. IE RETIREMENT FOR LIFE (including spouses),FREE INSURANCE, POSTAGE ETC.

      3)MAKE CONGRESS PAY FOR THEIR OWN INSURANCE PACKAGES LIKE THE HARD WORKING AMERICANS DO,DEDUCTABLES,MEDS,EXAMS,LABS ETC.

      4)NO MORE LEASED CARS. IF YOU NEED TO GO SOMEWHERE USE PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION OR YOUR OWN CAR,AND PAY YOUR OWN INSURANCE.

      5) TERM LIMITS TO 2. THAT WAY NO ONE HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE "FRIENDS" LIKE THE CHICOMS,OR BECOME BEHOLDEN TO ANY SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP TO INFLUENCE VOTES FOR REGULATIONS (aclu,sierra club)

      6)STOP PORK BARREL ENTITLEMENTS NOW, FORCE CONGRESS TO SPEND WITHIN THE BUDGET.

      7)FLAT TAX 17% ACROSS THE BOARD

      8)GET GOVT. FINGERS OUT OF PRIVATE ENTERPRISE REMOVE ALL RESTRICTIONS AS TO DRILLING AND REFINING OUR OWN OIL AND START BUILDING MORE NUKE PLANTS.

      NOW WE HAVE THE MONEY AND ENERGY INDEPENDENCE TO BE FREE AND PROSPER AND NO NEED FOR RYANS PIPE DREAM PLAN THAT WONT DO ANYTHING.

    6. Edward says:

      A few years ago my lady and I had to lay out $700 a month for health care. That comes to $8400 a year. A far cry from $5000. Any suggestions as to where the additional $4000 will come from? I say $4000 because I'm sure it's more than $700 a month now.

    7. William P Dannevik, says:

      I like it all except tax reform. That should be "The Fair Tax" H25/S1025. Get with it!

    8. William P Dannevik, says:

      Greed – My dictionary definition is “excessive desire for getting or having wealth” or more than one needs or deserves of a property. That is, of course, a subjective definition that is counter to a capitalistic economy in the United States of America. A Capitalist cannot accept the idea that “having wealth or property” is greed, unless the person also is lazy, indolent or slothful, which is hypocritical.

      Who is greedy? If a capitalist is not greedy with his wealth, who is? Maybe those who accumulate wealth in other, non-productive ways. The taxes government extract from producers, create a tempting pool of interest free money for those who buy pass free market controls in favor of regulations. How much “wealth” does a government (those who use tax money) need? Only the amount allowed by the United States Constitution. Any more, is greed.

      Another form of greed is greed for power, which is more detrimental than greed for wealth, though some equate the two. Greed for wealth is naturally regulated by capital principles, but requires discipline. Greed for power is a function of government. The less government the less greed.

      In order to reduce the greed temptations of non-producers, taxes should be levied on consumption instead. Tax revenue should not be used to punish capitalism. A law to facilitate this change is HR 25/S1025. It is well researched, and should be implemented as soon a possible.

    9. David Glise, Fond du says:

      Being from Wisconsin I am familiar with Congressman Ryan and his work. I've heard him speak on several occasions,and even though he is not my representive, I've been impressed with his ideas. My comment is this. Before any meaningful change takes place, as a country, we have to have a frank, honest discussion on what each of our tax responsibilities are as citizens. My family and I are solidly middle class. Two incomes, two teenage kids, one home mortgage. In 2007 my federal, state, local and FICA tax liability along with assorted fees and service charges (license fees, etc.) totaled over 53% of my income. Way too much in my opinion. I am 50 years old and I have never been under the impression that FICA would be there for my retirement. I just pay it as a forced tax. In addition, I have never been under the impression that I would be able to retire before I was 67. I save religously and invest judiciously. I am planning on doing my retirement on my own. I, however, distrust my government and the bureaucracy it has created. I believe by the time I should be able to retire my 401k, Roth or pension plan will be taxed aggressively to pay for benefits of those who were not so thrifty. Statistics tell us as a nation we are not saving enough. Debt statistics tell us we will never be out of debt. Our government runs deficit spending every year and does nothing to pay down its own debt. In fact, the bureaucrats continue to give themselves raises, fatten their benefit packages and enhance their pensions each year, adding to the debt. As a citizen, I can only vote in an attempt to get rid of a representative. That representative needs to control the bureaucracy.

      Along with the changes that Congressman Ryan proposes, a systematic, top to bottom, fiscal review needs to take place of all of our levels of government. Fiscal responsibilty is the goal.

      Secondly, In additon to the tax system changes proposed, a rule of thumb should be if you work, you pay in, everybody pays something. No Free Rides. Corporate rates should be minimum(they just pass them on in price increases anyway) and no more not for profit organizations(sorry Heritage Foundation). The attempt of these changes would be to minimalize the under the table buck passing that has left the responsible, tax paying middle class holding the bag for the last 30 years. Obviously, we can't pay enough in to cover the liabilities. In conclusion, we still have hope for a better tomorrow for our children (the true American Dream), but only if we behave responsibly today.

    10. Harry - Chicago, IL says:

      I commend Rep. Ryan in coming up with one of the most common sense approaches to an array of problems facing this country. This is the type of bold, assertive leadership the Republican party has sorely lacked in the last decade or so. We are reaping what have sown over the last 10-15 years by electing non-conservative Republicans or shall I call them RINO's. The time has come to stand up for what we believe. Republicans own the issues but we can't find anyone to present them to the American people in a common sense type way. Perhaps Rep. Ryan is that person. At the bare minimum, I am pleased to see a Republican take a look at issues from a conservative point of view. The biggest obstacle of course is bringing this to the floor of the House for debate. San Fran Nan, I'm sure, will put an end to any of this. Well done Rep. Ryan, keep fighting the good fight and we will do what we can to help.

    11. Hugh Miller, Jonesbo says:

      This proposal as well as others on this blog makes one very important mistake: health care is NOT MARKET driven! All health care costs are determined by NOT WHAT IT TAKES TO DELIVER THE SERVICE BUT BY REIMBURSEMENT RATES!

      A real life example: My wife use to run a physical therapy operation for a hospital. In order to request a new therapist, she had to calculate the appropriate salary based not on the cost to deliver the service ( $35/hr salary + 20% benefits + overhead) but on the reimbursement rate expected from the various types of payors. This calculated into a hourly charge of $110.00/hr for the service to be delivered by the new hire.

      This is a simple example of how health care costs are determined and thus insurance rates.

      Before you describe reform, you need to study the system you want to reform. This so called "consumer based" market would not work because of a couple of very basic issues:

      1) as I already pointed out, costs are not market driven so insurance can not be market driven.

      2) insurance is usually based upon the size of the pool buying the insurance–that is why employer-based insurance is more cost efficient than individual purchased-the insurance company is basically a risk-management operation, lower cost insurance =larger risk pool.

      3) Increases in "personal choice" just means more payers thus more different reimbursement rates. This drives up the cost of health care.

      4) I'm not sure how a tax credit can help a family buy insurance when the credit only occurs at tax time but the premiums are due across the year? Seems to be a recipe for more consumer debt!

      The only way to lower heath care costs are to have fewer payers making deals with hospitals. Thus the drive for a single-payer system. This is not "socialized medicine" but is simply a move to remove all the various payers with their complicated reimbursement rates. What we are now paying to buy insurance would be directed to one operation (probably Medicare) and all costs would be billed to that one operation.

      With is type of arrangement, health care costs can be more based on the real cost for providing the service instead of a inflated fee based on the how much each insurance company, Medicaid,and Medicare will pay for the service.

    12. Katie Peyree, Salem says:

      It's about time that someone in the houses on the hill, came up with something that returns government ownership to the rightful owner, the private American Citizen. I love it, love it, love it. Where have you been Rep. Paul Ryan?!? Also, when are you going to pass this on to our Representatives in the congress from Oregon, David Wu – First District

      Greg Walden – Second District

      Earl Blumenauer – Third District

      Peter DeFazio – Fourth District

      Darlene Hooley – Fifth District (my worthless representative)

      And how about passing it on to my Senators, Ron Wyden and Gordon Smith. This kind of plan, if they really care about us, and not power, prestige and money, ought to go down pretty easily, aye?!? FIC, Katie Peyree

    13. Kathy Hoffman Linbur says:

      I have been very impressed by Paul Ryan. His proposal is far more thoughtful and serious about lowering our current horrendous deficit and offering sensible proposals regarding the system we have now. He seems to be one of the few people in government who is a knowledgeable and practical economist.

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