Ryan’s Revival

Once in a while, I run across something that is so refreshing it makes me teary-eyed.  So it is with Paul Ryan’s recent budget proposal.  I may just add Ryan to my very short list of sane politicians.  Ryan has opened the closet door and let out the light-starved denizens within.

Of course, I am speaking of…shhhhhhh…entitlements.  As Republicrats make great noises about government shutdowns and a miniscule $33 billion budget cut, Ryan has been burning the midnight oil to bring a legitimate proposal to the table.  It redefines what we mean by “entitlement” and brings to sunlight the real problem with our “government-should-do-it” mentality–it cannot work.

I leave it to the reader to mine the details, but here are some general observations on this landmark.  First, Medicare.  Anyone who believes that Medicare will be here in twenty or thirty years is either dishonest or daft.  Even assuming we do not manage to crash the currency, the growing cost of this program will necessitate tax rates even a Democrat could hate or it will simply go bankrupt, leaving seniors with nothing.  Ryan proposes to subsidize premiums to private insurance carriers handled through a Federal exchange.  I despise even that much government intervention, but it beats the hell out of our present fantasy.

Among the lies that are already being told is that Ryan wants to balance the budget on the already bent backs of seniors.  Horsefeathers.  Ryan wants to deal forthrightly with the fact that we are lying to our seniors and about-to-be seniors on the solvency of the program.  Remarkably, he is doing so in a way designed to be the least disruptive.  In other words, no one retiring before 2022 is affected and those born in 1957 and after will have some time to plan.

Second, Ryan’s proposal has prompted a great wailing and gnashing of teeth among the “soak-the-rich” crowd.  Philosophically, it takes head-on the lie that taxing the rich is the key to prosperity.  It caps tax rates and encourages honest businesspeople to go out and do what they do best–make stuff for the rest of us to buy.  Oh, and create jobs in the process.  Democrats are already rolling on the floor in a fit, marveling that any self-respecting politician would let out this dirty little secret: the “rich” are the ones who contribute the most to our country’s economic well-being (excluding political entrepreneurs, who contribute little but increasingly clever methods of raiding the henhouse).

More enjoyable to me, however, is the predicament this puts Republicans in.  Now they have to decide whether they want to try to keep up the pretense that they favor less government or really come to Jesus and show it.  Tea Partiers are holding the line and just may prompt a conversion experience for the herd of RINOs now inhabiting the Halls of Congress.  I can’t wait to see the call.

About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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