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Text of Paul Ryan's AEI Speech

12:23 PM, Apr 5, 2011 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Every year that Congress fails to act, the U.S. government gets closer to breaking promises to current retirees, while adding to a large and growing stack of empty promises made to future generations.


The flawed structure of our biggest government programs is by no means the only reason that we find ourselves facing a crisis.

The President and the last Congress enacted major increases in spending, diverted government agencies from their key missions, and failed to deliver on their promises to create jobs – the biggest step in the wrong direction being the creation of two new open-ended health care entitlements, which will accelerate the nation toward bankruptcy. 

Programs that make up the safety net for the poor are failing both the citizens who rely on them and the taxpayers who fund them.

And the tax code is riddled with complexities and inefficiencies, creating a drag on the very economic growth that is essential to a sustainable fiscal future.

The President’s recent budget proposal would accelerate America’s descent into a debt crisis. It doubles debt held by the public by the end of his first term and triples it by 2021. It imposes $1.5 trillion in new taxes, with spending that never falls below 23 percent of the economy. His budget permanently enlarges the size of government. It offers no reforms to save government health and retirement programs, and no leadership.

Our budget is very different. For starters, it cuts $6 trillion in spending from the President’s budget over the next ten years, reduces the debt as a percentage of the economy, and puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt. Our proposal brings federal spending back to 20 percent, consistent with the post-war average, and reduces deficits by $4.4 trillion.

Most important, our budget tackles the nation’s biggest fiscal challenges head-on. It is a plan for job creation and growth today – a plan that ensures that our children inherit an America stronger, more prosperous, and more free – as past generations have sacrificed to ensure for us.

There are four major aspects of this budget’s reform agenda:

·      First, this budget reforms government to make it more efficient, effective and responsible.  


·      Second, it builds on the state-led welfare reform successes of the 1990s to strengthen the social safety net. 


·      Third, this budget helps to fulfill the mission of health and retirement security for all Americans.


·      Fourth, it will reform the tax code to promote economic growth and job creation.

By removing the anchor of debt that weighs down our economy and advancing pro-growth tax reforms, this budget is a jobs budget. It sends a signal to investors, entrepreneurs and job creators that a brighter future is still possible – that America can still be the growth engine that it ought to be.

An estimate from the Heritage Center for Data Analysis projects The Path to Prosperity to help create nearly 1 million new private-sector jobs next year, bring the unemployment rate down to 4 percent by 2015, and result in 2.5 million additional private-sector jobs in the last year of the decade alone. It spurs economic growth, with $1.5 trillion in additional real GDP over the decade.  According to the Heritage analysis, this budget would result in $1.1 trillion in higher wages and an average of $1,000 in additional family income each year. This is a path to prosperity.

It begins by reforming government. The role of the federal government is both vital and limited. When government takes on too many tasks, it usually doesn’t do any of them very well.

This budget restores limits to government in order to reduce deficits, save money for taxpayers, and focus federal departments and agencies on critical missions.

The first job of government is to secure the safety and liberty of its citizens. Defense spending should be executed with greater efficiency and accountability, but our men and women in uniform should never be thought of as mere line items on a budget spreadsheet.

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