Today in the wake of President Obama's State of the Union address, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan has been making the press rounds as the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee. Ryan contributed an op-ed piece to yesterday's Wall Street Journal:(http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703808904575025080017959478.html) Ryan has been visible throughout the day countering Mr. Obama's charge in his speech last night that Republicans have been the 'party of no' and that he (Mr. Obama) is open to any ideas to improve the economy and to assist him (Mr. Obama) in putting American 'on the right track'.
To Ryan's credit, he has been a bit contentious about the President's remarks and frankly, he should be. Ryan has gotten it 'right' more often than not, at least from a public policy and economics perspective and quite honestly, from the sentiment visible in the polls. For example, yesterday Ryan unveiled his Roadmap for American 2.0 (http://www.house.gov/ryan/roadmap/roadmap.htm). This plan is an update to his original Roadmap for America produced last year, contrary to Mr. Obama's claim that other alternative ideas have yet to come to his attention for the problems of health care and no job growth.
Congressman Ryan's plan is more economically feasible and practical from a public policy perspective than what the Administration has put forth to date and/or unveiled via the President's speech last evening. While I don't agree with every aspect of Ryan's plan, especially his approach to dealing with Medicare and Medicaid, he does offer solid ideas that are in-fact stimulating without raising taxes or increasing the federal deficit. The point about raising the deficit should not go unnoticed as the Senate today, strictly on a party-line vote, agreed to raise the federal debt limit by an additional $1.9 trillion placing the capacity of the deficit limit at $14.3 trillion.
Why Ryan gets it right is simple: He clearly has studied his basic economics. Mr. Obama and Wisconsin's present governor would be well advised to listen to Paul Ryan. What Ryan has done is to encapsulate the concepts of free market economics with real world policy ideas than can be put into place without the need for 2,000 plus pages of bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo. His proposals for health reform encompass all of six pages. In fact, the totality of his Roadmap plan is less than one-twentieth the length of the House or Senate versions of health reform and less than one-tenth the length of the Federal stimulus bill (ARRA). In other words, proof that getting it right takes far less verbiage than burying wrong ideas, wrongly configured.