Paul Ryan is preparing to take the reins of the House Budget Committee, where he'll play a key role in the debate over taxes and spending in the post-November 2 era. Here are some links to bring you up to speed on Ryan and his revolutionary Roadmap for America's Future:
The ongoing bipartisan fiscal commission set up by Mr Obama, on which I serve, provides an opportunity to start making a dent in the spending problem. It is due to report shortly, and I remain hopeful that others will join me in finding ways to move the debate on the debt forward, from the commission and into Congress itself.
That said, we must not wait until the new Congress is sworn in to prevent the across-the-board tax rises set to hit all Americans on January 1. Mr Obama must now move quickly to join the growing bipartisan consensus calling for at least a two-year freeze on all current tax rates. He should also join us to address our shared concern with the unsustainable deficit and enact the spending cuts proposed in House Republicans’ “Pledge to America”. Our newly divided government has legislative limitations, but this move would send the right signal that both parties can work together.
At the heart of the Roadmap is a plan to transform Medicare into a system of fixed contributions toward the purchase of medical insurance. Advocates of this approach, like myself, believe that it will make Medicare sustainable over the long run. Critics are convinced that it represents the gutting of a cherished social program.
It’s hard to believe that Representative Ryan will achieve his goal in one fell swoop. But there is at least a chance that he might persuade the White House of the virtues of embracing a competitive pricing system for Medicare, as advocated by the economists Robert F. Coulam, Roger Feldman and Bryan E. Dowd. This would yield considerable savings.
Finally, AEI's Henry Olsen on why Ryan matters:
Paul did what no other conservative was willing to do: start to define the contours of a governing platform for a new majority. He’ll need many more to come on board, but necessity is the mother of invention, and the Republicans need a set of palatable yet aggressive ideas if they want to compete for leadership.... Paul Ryan is an example of how you can be true to yourself and true to politics simultaneously.
If Ryan plays his cards right, he'll end up the most important Republican figure in economic policy since Jack Kemp. And Olsen's encomium will be only the beginning.