How to make a Republican squirm

By Tom Quiner

Congressman Paul Ryan

The Republicans are enjoying their opportunity to lambast the President and the Democratically-controlled Congress for the mess they’ve made of America.

Criticisms of Democrats’ fiscal irresponsibility are justified.  Growing unfunded entitlements have been characterized as a “fiscal train wreck” by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Do you want to make Republicans really uncomfortable?  Give them control of the House of Representatives again.  Vote Republican this November.  Do you know what would happen? Congressman Paul Ryan from Wisconsin would rise to Budget Chairman.

He would make life miserable for Republicans wanting to slip pork into legislation.

He would make life miserable for Democrats wanting to slip pork into legislation.

This guy is the real deal, a true fiscal conservative.  He has put together a detailed fiscal road map to America’s future. Thirteen Republicans have signed on to the plan.

Congressman Ryan went before the liberal Brookings Institute to present his plan. There, Alice Rivlin commented, “I think absolutely you’ve done a huge service in getting [the plan] out there.”  Ms. Rivlin was former President Clinton’s Economic Policy Adviser.

Ryan is critical of both Democrats and Republicans for refusing to deal responsibly on controversial issues like social security and entitlement spending.  A lot of Republicans think it’s dangerous politically to discuss too many details of Ryan’s plan. One who thinks otherwise is Fred Barnes, Executive Editor of the conservative Weekly Standard who says, “Think Big: Republicans should embrace Paul Ryan’s Road Map.”

America is scared.  There’s a realization sinking in that we’ve reaching a tipping point when it comes to national debt and long term financial obligations for America. Our greatness depends on righting the ship. Paul Ryan’s plan will right the ship. The CBO confirms his assumptions.  Let us look at only one aspect of Ryan’s, plan:  Social Security.  Here’s what the CBO says his plan will do:

• Traditional retirement benefits would be reduced below those scheduled under current law for many workers who are age 55 or younger in 2011. People with lower earnings would experience smaller reductions in benefits, and those with higher earnings would experience larger reductions. Current beneficiaries and workers who are age 55 or older in 2010 would experience no change in benefits.

• A system of individual accounts would be established in 2012. In that year, workers who are age 55 or younger would be able to participate in voluntary individual accounts, funded with a portion of their payroll taxes. As necessary, the government would make payments to account holders during their retirement to guarantee that their contributions earned a rate of return at least equal to the rate of inflation.

• A new special minimum benefit exceeding that under current law would be established for workers with at least 20 years of earnings that were less than or equal to the earnings of a full-time worker making the minimum wage.

The charts below, which again are produced by a non-partisan government agency, the CBO, show the non-sustainable path we’re on in the first chart, and the sustainable path we could be on if we adopt Mr. Ryan’s plan: