Paul Ryan and his roadmap to fiscal solvency scares the GOP

Rick Moran
Is Ryan's plan too radical? Certainly the Dems think so. The plan addresses social security, medicare, and medicaid with an eye toward drastic reform of the very way we look at and fund entitlements.

Robert Costa in NRO:

With fanfare, Ryan last year published "A Roadmap for America's Future," a comprehensive government-shrinking document that tackles the three main problems in the federal budget: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Its bold, data-fueled approach was the single best piece of evidence that Republicans were ready to address long-term liabilities.

Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, now the No. 2 and No. 3 Republicans in the House, went so far as to include a chapter about the measure in Young Guns, the best-selling campaign manifesto they coauthored with Ryan. Thirteen House Republicans signed on to the plan. Sarah Palin and former House majority leader Dick Armey urged the faithful to rally 'round.
But as Ryan preps for a spring budget battle, Cantor, House Speaker John Boehner, and others are not showing much eagerness to take up the roadmap's specifics. Ryan's project, which proposes we curb the looming debt crisis by moving toward a defined-contribution model for entitlements over the next several decades, languishes.

Nevertheless, with Ryan now holding real power, along with a burgeoning national profile, Republicans will be forced to choose how aggressively to act on his big ideas - even if it makes them uncomfortable. With a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic majority in the Senate, chances for major policy change are slim. But the public will eye how Republicans fight - to see if they're serious about finding a solution.

Perhaps it's not so much that the plan is radical as much as it's not practical at this time. With Democrats in the White House and in control of the senate, many members are thinking why go out on a limb to support this plan when there is zero chance it will even see the light of day in Congress?

Indeed, taking elements of the plan out of context (semi-privatizing Medicare immediately, leading to full privatization down the road) would scare enough old folks that a member might find themselves in jeopardy. What really matters is that the plan is busting with hard data which shows we will eventually have little alternative but to adopt something like it or go under.

But not yet. Freshmen members especially see no need to stick their necks out and embrace this kind of substantive reform. One might ask if not now, then when? I doubt you'll get any kind of answer.

It's a shame, really. Ryan is one of the few politicians in either party who is willing to address the crisis. It's a shame that even members of his own party tip toe away from him when the subject of entitlement reform comes up.


Is Ryan's plan too radical? Certainly the Dems think so. The plan addresses social security, medicare, and medicaid with an eye toward drastic reform of the very way we look at and fund entitlements.

Robert Costa in NRO:

With fanfare, Ryan last year published "A Roadmap for America's Future," a comprehensive government-shrinking document that tackles the three main problems in the federal budget: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Its bold, data-fueled approach was the single best piece of evidence that Republicans were ready to address long-term liabilities.

Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia and Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, now the No. 2 and No. 3 Republicans in the House, went so far as to include a chapter about the measure in Young Guns, the best-selling campaign manifesto they coauthored with Ryan. Thirteen House Republicans signed on to the plan. Sarah Palin and former House majority leader Dick Armey urged the faithful to rally 'round.

But as Ryan preps for a spring budget battle, Cantor, House Speaker John Boehner, and others are not showing much eagerness to take up the roadmap's specifics. Ryan's project, which proposes we curb the looming debt crisis by moving toward a defined-contribution model for entitlements over the next several decades, languishes.

Nevertheless, with Ryan now holding real power, along with a burgeoning national profile, Republicans will be forced to choose how aggressively to act on his big ideas - even if it makes them uncomfortable. With a Democrat in the White House and a Democratic majority in the Senate, chances for major policy change are slim. But the public will eye how Republicans fight - to see if they're serious about finding a solution.

Perhaps it's not so much that the plan is radical as much as it's not practical at this time. With Democrats in the White House and in control of the senate, many members are thinking why go out on a limb to support this plan when there is zero chance it will even see the light of day in Congress?

Indeed, taking elements of the plan out of context (semi-privatizing Medicare immediately, leading to full privatization down the road) would scare enough old folks that a member might find themselves in jeopardy. What really matters is that the plan is busting with hard data which shows we will eventually have little alternative but to adopt something like it or go under.

But not yet. Freshmen members especially see no need to stick their necks out and embrace this kind of substantive reform. One might ask if not now, then when? I doubt you'll get any kind of answer.

It's a shame, really. Ryan is one of the few politicians in either party who is willing to address the crisis. It's a shame that even members of his own party tip toe away from him when the subject of entitlement reform comes up.