THE choice of U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate is a clear sign that, for Mitt Romney, no issue in this presidential election campaign is more important then our exploding debt and its effect on the economy. Who better to help drive home that point than Ryan, an articulate budget expert with a personality?
Ryan is chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he has written budget plans that have caused Democrats' hair to stand on end because they include cost-saving changes to such budget-busting and unsustainable entitlement programs as Medicare. Release of Ryan's House GOP budget last year was followed by a TV ad that depicted him pushing a senior citizen over a cliff.
Expect more of the same from Democrats for the next three months. Within hours of Romney's announcement Saturday, President Barack Obama's campaign released an ad calling Ryan, R-Wis., the “mastermind behind the extreme GOP budget plan.”
If extreme means serious, then yes, Ryan is guilty as charged. Democrats, on the other hand, have been anything but serious about the budget during Obama's first term — indeed for three years, the Democrat-controlled Senate has skirted its constitutional mandate and not even submitted a budget for consideration.
One part of Ryan's budget plan would allow seniors to use their government premium support to buy either private insurance or traditional Medicare coverage. Even that is a bridge too far for most Democrats in Congress. They prefer the status quo, which has Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid eating up nearly half of the federal budget. That percentage will only grow in future years unless changes are made.
Ryan is a budget hawk, but also is seen as an advocate for pro-growth policies — his budgets would reduce the drag government creates on economic growth. And, his budgets would increase federal spending, just not at the unsustainable rates promoted by Democrats.
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