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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Ryan’
August 20th, 2014 at 12:26 pm
Paul Ryan: Regulations Hurt the Poor

Conservatives typically – and correctly – fault the regulatory state for increasing the cost of doing business and impeding job creation. But what about the argument that businesses don’t pay taxes (or regulatory fees), people do?

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) is making a powerful case that the two go together in a way that could reduce the government’s footprint and decrease poverty.

“The regulatory part of Ryan’s anti-poverty plan goes after ‘regressive’ federal rules – those that have an outsize economic impact on low-income households,” reports The Hill. “Supporters of his plan say regulations are ultimately borne by ordinary consumers and households who pay extra when new restrictions are piled on to the products and services they use. The poor end up spending a greater share of their income to cover the added expense.”

The argument that regulations are regressive – that they take a bigger bite out of a poor family’s budget than anyone else’s – is an especially attractive one to liberals such as Cass Sunstein, the former chief of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Obama White House.

In a recent column, Sunstein said Ryan’s regulatory reforms “point in helpful directions, and they suggest the possibility of bipartisan cooperation on some important questions.” Among these is taking into consideration the human cost of regulations on a segment of society that can least afford it.

To be sure, neither Ryan nor Sunstein advocate eliminating all regulations, and how they would implement such reforms would likely differ substantially. Still, the fact that a well-known, serious conservative and his liberal counterpart see common ground on pulling back government and lifting up the poor is a development worth watching.

March 29th, 2014 at 2:09 pm
The Obama-Ryan Double Standard

“Is something less true if a white person says it about black people?”

That was the question liberal comedian Bill Maher asked on his show in relation to Paul Ryan’s recent comments about the link between poverty and culture.

Just prior Maher read a quote which he attributed to Ryan “about how lazy kids are these days and how they need to aspire to be more than ‘ballers’ and ‘rappers,’” reports Mediaite. But then Maher revealed he was quoting Michelle Obama – not Ryan.

The point Maher made was that black political figures get a pass for speaking hard truths on certain issues while their white counterparts do not.

Rich Lowry gives even more examples of this double-standard by quoting then-Senator Barack Obama.

Imagine the reaction from liberals if Ryan had said the following instead of the current president: “We know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households… We know the statistics – that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of school and twenty times more likely to end up in prison.”

Anyone who follows politics knows that had Ryan said this, the statement and the (completely unmerited) backlash that would greet it would likely define and limit the rest of his career. Aside from Barack Obama’s speechwriter at the time, no one else probably remembered he ever made these remarks until Lowry unearthed them.

The irony of the identity politics double-standard is that neither Barack Obama nor Paul Ryan has been able to speak truth to power and get results. Instead, Obama is ignored while Ryan gets flayed for motives he doesn’t have. The only way to break the logjam is for the president to defend Ryan’s diagnosis, even if he doesn’t agree with the House Budget chairman’s remedy.

Certainly then America would sit up and listen.

January 14th, 2014 at 6:10 pm
Obama’s “Pen-and-Phone” Strategy

Get ready for more presidential overreach.

Today, Barack Obama convened his first Cabinet meeting of the year. Unwilling to negotiate with Republicans in Congress, the President threatened to bypass the legislative process in order to impose his preferred policies through executive orders.

“I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone,” CBS’ DC affiliate quotes the President telling Cabinet members. “And I can use that pen to sign executive orders and administrative actions that move the ball forward in helping to make sure our kids are getting the best education possible, making sure that our businesses are getting the kind of support and help they need to grow and advance, to make sure that people are getting the skills that they need to get those jobs that our businesses are creating.”

Quick, grab the pen and unplug the phone!

What Obama is promising is to intervene in every stage of an American worker’s lifecycle, without any input from the 535 people elected to represent their diverse interests in Congress. Instead, he will rely on the accumulated wisdom of the bureaucratic and trade association elites to impose change in a centralized, top-down fashion.

It’s as if after five years of running annual trillion dollar deficits, destabilizing the health insurance market, destroying the coal industry and presiding over the largest increase in food stamp use in history the President thinks he needs to increase his influence over the nation’s economy.

It would be better if instead of rushing to issue a flurry of short-lived orders President Obama instead took the remainder of his lame duck tenure for what it is: An opportunity to see the big picture and exercise some humility.

Republicans are interested in talking about poverty reduction. Obama – whose upcoming State of the Union speech is rumored to include a section on income inequality – should meet them half way. Have a real conversation. In private and in public. Elevate thoughtful opponents like Paul Ryan so that the American people see two powerful intellects engaging a serious issue in a respectful way. In short, dabble in statesmanship.

Obama’s executive orders will expire the moment he leaves office. They will also incite partisan opposition, and rightly so since each will represent an end-run around the lawmaking process.

Mr. President, you can do a lot better than your so-called “pen-and-phone” strategy. America deserves it.

December 17th, 2013 at 6:53 pm
GOP to Strike Back on Debt Limit?

If you’re disappointed by Paul Ryan’s budget deal to avoid another government shutdown, the House Budget Chairman has a message for you.

Wait till February.

That’s when the debt limit will be reached and, according to Ryan, when Republicans in Congress will try to extract some meaningful concessions from Democrats.

Of course, Ryan didn’t divulge any specifics about what kind of concessions would qualify, likely because he’s waiting for the results from a GOP confab in the New Year to settle on a strategy.

I’m skeptical. Ryan’s budget deal takes most of the obvious targets off the table until 2015 – that is, after the midterm elections – making it hard to see what leverage he and other Republicans in Congress can exert on Democrats and President Barack Obama to curb their spending habits.

If recent history is any guide, the most likely scenario is that Republicans continue to fracture over fiscal issues while the Democrats get an assist from the mainstream media in raising the debt limit.

The bitter pill for conservatives to swallow is that House Republicans have almost no ability to make substantive changes in law or policy unless and until the party regains control of the Senate. If the upper chamber flips next year then the silver lining to Ryan’s budget deal and the likely debt ceiling capitulation it’s that they might be the last time the GOP negotiates from a position of weakness.

December 13th, 2013 at 1:55 pm
Ryan’s Rope and Boehner’s Blunder

At NRO this week, I made it clear that I really don’t like Paul Ryan’s budget deal. I now rush in to urge everybody, on all sides on the right, not to over-react. This admonition applies to Speaker John Boehner, too.

Background: While I haven’t always thought Boehner has strategized brilliantly or played his tactical cards wisely, I also think conservatives have frequently gone way overboard in portraying him as some sort of outrageous sellout, “squish,” or (in some cases) flat-out enemy. The man has very solid ratings from the American Conservative Union, and he is a far more effective, and far more conservative, Speaker than Dennis Hastert was; and in many ways he is steadier than Newt Gingrich was.

I’ve also been, over the course of many years, one of Paul Ryan’s foremost advocates, and while I have been far less happy with him this year, my prior post on him (before this deal) was far more in support than opposed.

The point is that I think both Ryan and Boehner are, or at least usually have been, trying their hardest, legitimately, to achieve conservative goals. I mostly do not question their intentions (although both are showing worrisome signs even on that front, but that’s for another day’s discussion), but I do question some of their decisions.

I also think Boehner has very good reason to feel very, very angry at the conservative groups that have portrayed him as being just this side of the devil incarnate, utterly failing to modulate their criticism to match the severity (or lack thereof) of his alleged crimes against ideological purity. It is an axiom of politics that if you treat somebody as an enemy, as the groups have treated Boehner, then eventually he actually starts seeing himself as your enemy — and treats you accordingly. (Conservatives did this to John McCain in the late 1990s, when his only apostasy was on campaign finance, taking positions that most conservatives had taken as recently as six years earlier, before George Will made opposition to McCain-like efforts a cause celebre. McCain was wrong, but he was otherwise solidly conservative and saw himself as one, until conservatives started treating him as an outright pariah — which of course, with his awful temperament, caused him to become increasingly opposed to us on all sorts of issues.)

None of which, though, excuses Boehner’s public conniption fits this week. Boehner’s job as a national leader on the right is to pull people together, not drive them apart. His job is to make it easier to unify to win elections, not to drive wedges that exacerbate cannibalism on the right. He should be trying to bring activists in, not drive them away.

And in this case, he also was wrong on substance in way overstating the case that Ryan’s deal is a win for conservatives and a move towards smaller government. Even if one accepts all of Ryan’s numbers — which, as I explained in the column linked above, are bogus numbers — the deficit reduction over ten years ($23 billion, or a paltry $2.3 billion per year) would amount to extremely small potatoes. The fact — and it is a fact — that the claimed reduction involves lots of smoke and mirrors makes the vehemence of Boehner’s claims even more out of line.

As for Ryan, I actually do think he sincerely thinks he has gotten the best deal he can. (He knows darn well, however, that he is using a lot of gimmicks to make the deal look better to conservatives than it actually is. So he’s not being fully honest — again — and he is also helping feed the impression that conservative hard-liners are unreasonable, which is a counterproductive impression for the long-term cause of good government.) But I think he was not just wrong, but asinine, in shutting out his Senate counterpart (and longtime ally) Jeff Sessions from negotiations that should have included Sessions. What happens when one shuts out Senate conservatives is that there is nobody to raise a red flag when Senate-specific issues come up that really, really make a difference for conservative governance. In this case, Ryan allowed the deal to include an absolutely horrible waiver of Senate budget rules, to the effect that, despite his staff’s pitiful claims to the contrary, really will make it easier for taxes to be raised in the future.

All in all, despite my NRO column, I do not think this deal was an absolutely horrible one; it was merely bad, not horrific, and it was a comparatively minor deal, not a major one. But, as Fred Barnes correctly wrote, we gave up a great deal when we breached the budgetary sequester — and we got precious little in return for it.

In sum (after lots of one-hand/other-hand discussion — sorry!), while conservatives are rightly angry at yet another policy defeat, and while Boehner’s intemperate remarks — in effect, a declaration of war against some of the conservative activist groups — were extraordinarily unwise, it still behooves all of us to take deep breaths and try to gain some perspective. We now do so in the knowledge that Paul Ryan is playing macro-political games that put his personal ambitions above those of the conservative movement, and that Boehner has been pushed to the verge of a McCain-like, all-out-war against the movement. These are not good developments.

Conservatives now can do two things. In the short term, we can encourage senators to join Sessions and Mitch McConnell in opposition to Ryan’s deal. It might still be defeatable. For the long run, I repeat the call I made here two months ago for a summit on the right, to try to pull people together and strategize better. We have an extraordinary opportunity in 2014 for electoral gains, in response to the debacle of ObamaCare. It would be inexcusable for continued warfare on the right to destroy that opportunity. Constructive criticism is fine. Cannibalism isn’t.

April 30th, 2013 at 2:00 pm
NRO: Time to Fix GOP’s ObamaCare Messaging

The editors at National Review Online give some much-needed advice to the congressional GOP:

“The basic outline of a workable strategy is easy to draw up. First, Republicans should explain why Obamacare is unlikely to work. Second, they should finally unite behind an alternative that would let at least as many people get coverage as Obamacare but without the law’s side-effects. Third, they should say that they plan to repeal and replace Obamacare as soon as they can do so — whether in one fell swoop, which could occur only under a new president in 2017, or one step at a time. Fourth, they should advance bills that both replace parts of Obamacare and highlight its flaws.”

The most perplexing thing about congressional Republicans is that no one has stepped forward to be the Paul Ryan of health care reform. Ryan spent years in the background learning the federal budget process to construct a clear, workable reform that slows down the growth of entitlement spending while making Medicare and Medicaid more market friendly.

With ObamaCare on the books since 2010, it’s a wonder that no Republican in the House or Senate has taken on the responsibility of putting together an alternative that the GOP can rally around. To my knowledge, no one – not the 16 Republican physicians in Congress or anyone on a relevant committee – is taking steps to make sure there’s a workable replacement in the event conservatives get their wish and repeal ObamaCare.

It’s not enough to be right that ObamaCare is wrong on the merits and impossible to implement. There’s also got to be a contrasting vision of health care reform that is better than ObamaCare.

As of now, we’re still waiting.

April 1st, 2013 at 2:49 pm
Indiana’s Pence Makes Progress with Innovative Medicaid Expansion

The Indianapolis Star reports that Indiana Republican Governor Mike Pence, a possible 2016 presidential candidate, cleared an important hurdle today when the state’s House Public Health Committee approved a bill to expand Medicaid eligibility without relying on ObamaCare’s open-ended spending incentives.

Pence’s plan would increase Indiana’s Medicaid enrollment by an estimated 400,000, but within the state’s Healthy Indiana initiative begun in 2007.  As a health savings account, Healthy Indiana allots a certain amount of money to qualifying Hoosiers who then shop for doctors and treatment options within their budget.  In effect, it transfers the decision making process for health care away from government bureaucrats to private citizens.  By capping the amount, Healthy Indiana also gives state budget writers more certainty about the cost of Medicaid expansion in future years.

Contrast this with the unlimited spending commitment envisioned by the Medicaid expansion system under ObamaCare, and conservatives will see why Pence’s proposal should be watched closely.  Under ObamaCare, states would pay no cost for expanding their eligibility pool up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line.  But starting in 2017, those that expanded enrollment would pay for 10 percent of the increase.  Though seemingly a small percentage, the costs will run into the billions, with even more likely if the federal government decides to reduce its 90 percent subsidy, as President Barack Obama has already hinted at doing.

The future of health insurance reform looks like it will include some mix of government-regulated exchanges, subsidies, and cost controls.  The question dividing conservatives like Mike Pence and Paul Ryan on one hand from liberals like Obama on the other, is who gets to make the lion’s share of the decisions on how health insurance dollars are spent.  Conservatives value individual choice, while liberals favor centrally planned mandates.

Ironically, if the President wants ObamaCare to be fiscally sustainable, he’ll have to accept that the only way to do it is allowing conservatives like Pence and Ryan to inject into it as much personal freedom as possible.

March 30th, 2013 at 9:42 pm
Obama Should Call an Audible with Late Budget Proposal

With President Barack Obama’s legally required budget proposal arriving two months late (April 10 when it was due February 4), here’s a suggestion to ensure the document is something other than a White House-approved paper weight.

Because of the President’s unprecedented delay, both the Republican House and Democratic Senate have passed budgets, each with only party-line support.  Now that both sides have put their opening bids on the table, it would be wise to make the White House version a kind of third way compromise that includes some elements that both sides like.

One example would be to incorporate Paul Ryan’s idea for putting Medicare plans on a state-based, federally-regulated health insurance exchange.  Then, make the now obvious point that this plan, coupled with ObamaCare’s exchange for non-seniors indicates bipartisan agreement on a major aspect of health insurance reform.  Doing that would help change the focus of the debate on what Republican and Democrats have in common when it comes to moving forward on this issue.

March 28th, 2013 at 12:55 pm
The Liberal Origins of Paul Ryan’s Pro-Market Medicare Reforms

Peter Ferrara, a budget expert at The Heartland Institute, a free market think tank, reminds us where many of Paul Ryan’s ideas on Medicare reform originally came from:

This Medicare reform plan was actually developed by President Clinton’s Medicare Commission, so it had bipartisan support at a time when the Democrat Party had grown ups in influential positions, rather than just adolescent, Marxist, revolutionaries posing in grown up drag.  The legislation providing for these reforms was actually introduced in the Senate by liberal Democrat Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon.  It has been endorsed by long time liberal academic Alice Rivlin, the Godmother of the CBO, serving as its first director.

Indeed, the plan was developed from an initial proposal in 1995 by two lifelong liberal scholars, Henry Aaron of the Brookings Institution, and former CBO Director Robert Reischauer.  They were the first to propose a premium support system for Medicare in a 1995 article in the journal Health Affairs.  The Reischauer/Aaron concept was later embodied in Medicare Parts C and D in the 2003 Medicare reforms, where they have already worked very effectively.

That’s right – Proposed by liberals, passed by conservatives.

With this in mind, who’s out of the mainstream now?

March 21st, 2013 at 8:54 pm
House Passes Ryan Budget 3.0

It’s a busy week on Capitol Hill for votes on the federal budget. Earlier today, House Republicans passed the third iteration of Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity plan, 221-207.

In past years, House passage of Ryan’s plan would be the first, and last, serious congressional action on the federal budget, since Senate Democrats refused to support President Barack Obama’s proposal or submit one of their own.

But not this year. Tomorrow, Senate Democrats will begin debate on their first budget outline in four years. As an added twist, the Democrats will offer amendments that resemble Ryan’s plan to see if Senate Republicans will go on the record to support it.

Voting will likely stretch into the wee hours of Saturday morning before Congress adjourns for a two week recess.

Politics aside, the Miami Herald shows just how far apart the sides are from a bipartisan resolution:

Total spending

Senate Democrats: $46.5 trillion

House Republicans: $41.7 trillion

Total revenue

Senate Democrats: $41.2 trillion

House Republicans: $40.2 trillion

10-year deficit

Senate Democrats: $5.4 trillion

House Republicans: $1.4 trillion

National debt at end of 2023

Senate Democrats: $24.4 trillion

House Republicans: $20.3 trillion

Social Security

Senate Democrats: $11.3 trillion

House Republicans: $11.3 trillion

Medicare

Senate Democrats: $6.8 trillion

House Republicans: $6.7 trillion

Health, including Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program

Senate Democrats: $6.6 trillion

House Republicans: $4.0 trillion

Check out the entire list here.

January 30th, 2013 at 5:37 pm
Another Home Run by Artur Davis

At NRO, former U.S. Rep. Artur Davis tells important truths to conservatives — namely, that we need to learn how to talk to people who aren’t already on our side and who are not of natural cultural affinity with us (not that they are necessarily culturally against us, but just that they aren’t automatically in cultural concert with us either).

Many of them work with their hands, and their backs and legs and feet hurt at the end of the day. They worry not about freedom, but about the depleted state of their savings. They don’t carry around a pocket copy of the Constitution, but they know that too many of their tax dollars go to Washington, and is it such a quaint thought that they want a return on their investment and want government to work for their interests?

What do we have to say to them, the people who work with their hands….?

Davis is right. Paul Ryan and Bobby Jindal are saying similar things, with Ryan naturally recalling the themes of his late, great mentor, Jack Kemp.

I’ll throw out an issue conservatives need to do better at. We, myself definitely included, have made lots of justifiable noise about the dangers of vote fraud. We cannot back down on that issue no matter how many media people spread cheap shots about how our real goal is “vote suppression.” BUT…. BUT…. BUT, we also must show that we are intensely interested in making sure that as many people who legitimately qualify to vote find it as easy as possible to register and vote — and we must particularly try to figure out how to make voting not such a chore, so that nobody is forced to stand in line for hours just to participate in the electoral process. If there are any left-leaning people who seriously want to reach out and find solutions rather than bash us, we should find them, and see if we can find common ground. If they will admit the indisputable fact that vote fraud is a problem, and help us fight against it, we should admit that our voting system is often too complicated or convoluted.

Anyway, that’s going astray from what Davis said. But it’s just one example, admittedly on a second-tier issue (for most people), of how conservatives should try to broaden our reach. More importantly, we should likewise try to broaden our reach on economics, on opportunity, and on health care, among other major topics.

I’ll end with by quoting Davis again:

The world that Obama does not see in his progressive manifesto, the world that he barely acknowledges or address, it is the space that we can occupy as conservatives if we will only claim it.

January 23rd, 2013 at 7:35 pm
Paul Ryan Heckler Works at Holder’s DOJ

Jim Treacher of The Daily Caller does a public service by compiling all the data points on the man who started the booing of Paul Ryan as the latter walked to Barack Obama’s second inauguration.

Dan Freeman, a civil service (i.e. technically non-political) hire at the Department of Justice’s Voting Rights section, said on his Facebook page that he “Just started the booing when Paul Ryan came out.”  Helpfully, Freeman gave his location as “United States Capitol.”

Sleuthing by the blogosphere netted biographical nuggets like Freeman’s involvement in the Yale Law Democrats, and internships for liberal activist groups.  Among his responsibilities was undermining the Bush Administration’s national security strategy by challenging the state secrets privilege in court.  He also helped defend terrorists at Guantanamo Bay.

If you’re wondering when Freeman had time to learn federal election law, he didn’t.  But at Eric Holder’s Justice Department, the relevant experience was met checking all the liberal activist boxes.

And, thanks to civil service protection, Freeman will have his position for as long as he wants it, regardless of who becomes the Attorney General, or for that matter, President of the United States.

January 14th, 2013 at 6:58 pm
Obama Misses Budget Deadline, Again

The Hill provides the text of a letter sent by the White House Office of Management and Budget to House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI).

In it, the OMB’s Deputy Director for Management blames the late resolution of the “fiscal cliff” negotiations for causing the White House to violate the law by missing the February 4 deadline for submitting a budget to Congress.

But as The Hill notes, that excuse is nonsense when considered in light of the Obama Administration’s record on budgets:

Under the law, President Obama must submit a budget by the first Monday in February, but he has met the deadline only once. The annual budget submission is supposed to start a congressional budgeting process, but that has also broken down. The Senate last passed a budget resolution in 2009.

Left out of that tidy little summation is the fact that the House Republicans have never failed to pass a budget resolution during the entire time Obama has been president.

The failure of Washington to “work” in the Obama Era is not a failure of substance; both parties are relatively clear about their policy visions.  What’s grinding the system to a halt is the liberal disregard of legal procedures like statutorily defined deadlines.  Throw out the rules, and suddenly no one knows how to play the game.  As I said last week, unless the budget process is amended to enact meaningful punishment on parties who violate it, nothing else is likely to change.

January 9th, 2013 at 1:50 pm
Amend Budget Act, Not Constitution to Cut Spending?

Here at CFIF we’ve promoted the idea of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would require Congress to pass balanced budgets every year with certain 60 percent supermajority thresholds for raising taxes or the debt ceiling.

The idea comes with a stellar pedigree since conservative icons like Ronald Reagan, Jack Kemp, and the Contract with America all supported various Balanced Budget Amendments.

Alas, the BBA has yet to become law, and with the current lineup of liberals running the U.S. Senate and White House, it will be awhile before such an idea can be seriously discussed in Washington.

That said, Byron York says that Republicans might have an opening in the coming fight over raising the debt ceiling to get closer to a balanced budget; albeit by amending a statute, not the Constitution.

On its face, the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 sets out a clear deadline for passing a budget by April 15 every year.  The problem, however, is that there is no enforcement mechanism to punish Congress if it fails to do so.  With Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Democrats failing to pass a budget for the last 1,351 days as of today, the budget law’s impotency is on full display.

York reports:

“The law doesn’t have teeth,” says a Senate aide involved in the fight.  “Sen. Sessions and others have proposed process reforms to give the budget law teeth (one reform would make it harder to pass spending bills without a budget), but the debt ceiling is the strongest leverage we have on this. This is the opportunity.”

In other words, it is precisely because the budget law has no enforcement provision that Republicans believe they need some other form of leverage, in this case the debt ceiling deadline, to force Reid and his fellow Democrats to move.  In addition, whatever happens in the debt ceiling standoff, it seems clear that the original budget law should be amended to include some sort of enforcement method.

This strategy strikes me as a great way to get real value in return for raising the nation’s debt ceiling.  Imagine how much different Obama’s first term would have been if instead of ignoring the House Republicans’ Paul Ryan-inspired budgets, the President and Senate Democrats had to negotiate its terms up against a hard deadline.  Liberals would have been forced to debate conservatives on specifics instead of substituting scare tactics for policy.

So far, Republicans have said they want entitlement reform in exchange for upping the ceiling, and for good reason since spending on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid alone account for about 44 percent of the federal budget (other entitlements push the total to 62 percent).  Moreover, since entitlement spending is not discretionary, meaning it isn’t determined in the normal appropriations process but by eligibility formulas, reining in federal spending will require statutory changes that can only be gotten when the stakes are very high.

But if York is right, then Republican strategists would be wise to include changes to the Congressional Budget Act along with spending reforms to entitlements.  Winning both would improve the nation’s long-term fiscal outlook by helping conservatives change the way Washington does business.

December 5th, 2012 at 8:40 am
Text of Paul Ryan’s Speech to Jack Kemp Foundation

Greta Van Susteren has the transcript of Rep. Paul Ryan’s keynote address to the Jack Kemp Foundation last night.  For fans of Kemp and his notion of The American Idea (i.e. broad-based economic growth, equal opportunity, and cultural renewal), Ryan’s speech is an inspiring formulation of Kemp’s program for the 21st century.  An excerpt:

Americans are a compassionate people. And there’s a consensus in this country about our obligations to the most vulnerable. Those obligations are beyond dispute. The real debate is how best we can meet them. It’s whether they are better met by private groups or by government – by voluntary action or by government action.

And I would add that it’s about finding the most cost-effective way to meet those obligations so that they are financially sustainable.  This is critically important for at least three reasons.  First, it means that promises made to today’s beneficiaries can be kept.  Second, it means that tomorrow’s taxpayers won’t be left with the short end of the stick, being made to pay more than they receive in benefits.  And third, it frees up money; both in the federal budget for other worthy spending, and as a greater share of income retained by taxpayers.  Long-term federal entitlements are the real social contracts in our nation, and Americans owe it to ourselves – through our elected representatives – to reform the entitlement system to ensure its stability and fundamental fairness.

October 30th, 2012 at 8:54 pm
If Electoral Tie, Would Biden Pick Ryan as Replacement?

If the Electoral College deadlocks at 269-269, Vice President Biden, in his role as President of the U.S. Senate, would get to decide the rules for picking the VP.  (The House would pick the President.)

Roll Call paints the picture:

One of the foremost experts on Senate rules said he sees no evidence of expedited procedures to avert a filibuster of that process.

“I have read the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, and I don’t see anything that requires the Senate to vote without debate on choosing a vice president,” former Senate Parliamentarian Robert B. Dove said. “Therefore, I don’t see what would stop Senators from speaking about who is going to be the vice president and, in effect, forcing a cloture vote.”

While the parliamentarian advises the presiding officer on procedural questions, Dove said, the responsibility to rule rests with the occupant of the chair. In the event of an Electoral College tie, that would be Biden (in his capacity of president of the Senate, until Jan. 20). Dove notes that Democratic Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey disregarded the parliamentarian’s guidance with some regularity.

Something tells me Good Ole’ Joe isn’t the kind to let a little conflict of interest get in the way of his hold on power.

October 25th, 2012 at 10:00 pm
Obama Second Term “A Cheesy Cheap Shot”

In case you haven’t read the Obama campaign’s 11-page brochure outlining the President’s (vague) agenda for a second term, A.B. Stoddard of The Hill saves you the trouble:

It’s not just that the plan is the first voters have heard of any Obama has for his second term — two weeks before Election Day — but that the brochure is about as cheesy a cheap shot as they come.

How, they asked the campaign, could the president possibly win a second term in such a tight race without having outlined an agenda for the next four years? And so an eleventh-hour glossy appeared to answer the charge that Obama had nothing in mind for 2013-2017, with pretty pictures and pabulum to prove it.

Paul Ryan couldn’t agree more.

October 12th, 2012 at 1:18 am
Ryan’s Best Line of the Night

“I think the vice president very well knows that sometimes the words don’t come out of your mouth the right way.”

True and well delivered.  The crowd loved it too.

October 4th, 2012 at 9:57 pm
Biden Trying to Replace Ryan on GOP Ticket?

If headlines earn a vice presidential candidate’s stripes, then Joe Biden may merit consideration as Mitt Romney’s most effective attack dog.

A few days ago Biden said the middle class has been “buried” during President Barack Obama’s economic stewardship.  Today, Obama’s self-immolating Vice President confirmed Mitt Romney’s charge that the Democratic incumbent would raise taxes if reelected:

Biden said Romney and other Republicans often say `Obama and Biden want to raise taxes by a trillion dollars.’ Guess what? Yes, we do in one regard: We want to let that trillion dollar tax cut expire so the middle class doesn’t have to bear the burden of all that money going to the super-wealthy. That’s not a tax raise. That’s called fairness where I come from.”

It’s true Biden is gaffe-prone, but these kinds of statements are too true to be unintentional.

Watch yourself, Paul Ryan – Good Ole’ Joe is gunning for your job!

H/T: Fox News

October 1st, 2012 at 5:35 pm
Romney and Ryan Say Holder Should Resign or Be Fired

The Daily Caller reports that “Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan agrees with presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s call for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign, or for President Barack Obama to fire him, over Operation Fast and Furious.”

Ryan is now the 131st member of Congress to say Holder should resign or be fired.

This is about more than politics.

Now that Univision has uncovered evidence that a massacre of 14 teenagers in Ciudad Juarez was perpetrated with Fast and Furious guns, and identified “57 more previously unreported firearms that were bought by straw purchasers monitored by ATF during Operation Fast and Furious, and then recovered in Mexico in sites related to murders, kidnappings, and at least one other massacre,” it is now impossible to let Holder escape responsibility for a program he claims he knew nothing about.

Even though the Department of Justice’s non-partisan Inspector General could find no direct evidence of Holder’s knowledge, the same IG told congressional investigators that “we struggle to understand how an operation of this size, of this importance, that impacted another country like it did, could not have been briefed up to the attorney general of the United states.  It should have been, in our view.  It was that kind of a case.”

And let’s not forget that Holder’s Contempt of Congress citation was directly linked to the White House’s dubious extension of executive privilege to cover a cabinet member.

So, either Eric Holder is being shielded from culpability because of the White House’s refusal to provide the relevant documents, or the U.S. Attorney General didn’t know about a major program that could, and did, jeopardize America’s relationship with Mexico.

Either way, Romney and Ryan would do voters a service by highlighting this colossal failure of leadership by key people in the Obama Administration.  If Holder’s job is safe, and the President is reelected, no one should be surprised if we get more of the same for the next four years.