GOP Candidates: What's Your Position on the Ryan Roadmap?

On Meet the Press last weekend, Dick Armey challenged Republicans to show some courage and get behind the "Ryan Roadmap". He even had a catchy line, expressing Tea Partiers' rightful disgust with "American public policy dominated by Democrats that don't care and Republicans that don't dare."

The "Roadmap" is Congressman Paul Ryan's proposal to restore fiscal sanity to Your Federal Government. You can read about it here. Although I suggest you Read The Whole Thing, here are some high points:

  • Big changes to the tax code, with the goal of keeping the tax burden to 19% of GDP, roughly the post-WW2 average. Most of the changes involve simplification. Two income tax rates, 10% and 25%. Zero taxes on interest, capital gains, and dividends. The AMT would be junked. Individuals (however) could opt to pay taxes under the old system, or (equally likely) to have their eyeballs gouged out with a rusty fork.

    (Just kidding about that last bit.)

  • Junk the corporate income tax; businesses pay an 8.5% "consumption tax".

  • Preserves Social Security for folks over 55, but allows those younger to sock away a third of their current taxes into private accounts. Makes retirement age increases and COLA fixes.

  • Preserves Medicare for over-55s, establishes an (approximate) $11K "payment" per year for others as they become eligible, indexed for inflation, allows greater use of tax-free Medical Savings Accounts.

  • Similar big changes for Medicaid.

  • Even with all these changes, the Roadmap doesn't forecast a balanced budget until 2063.

Think about that last point a bit. The Roadmap might be deemed "radical", but even with its radicalism, we don't get spending back into line with revenue for over 50 years. And the longer we wait, the more difficult it will be.

What that implies to me is: anything less radical will be unable to get spending under control at all. And closing one's eyes real tight and hoping the problem will magically vanish shouldn't be an option.

And what that further implies is that candidates for Federal office have an obligation to either say: "yeah, that Ryan Roadmap is a pretty good idea" or describe (to a similar level of detail) what they propose to do instead.

I can understand why candidates might be scared to embrace the Ryan Roadmap. It's easily demagogued (you can watch Governor J. Granholm do that at the link above). As long as you stay with comfortably vague proposals about "waste"—who's for waste?—you're not going to scare anyone. And if your top priority is simply to get your hands on political power, then you'd probably want to play it safe and avoid talking about the Roadmap.

But (on the other hand) you're not going to impress, let alone inspire, me. We in New Hampshire have a primary coming up on September 14 and, as a registered Republican in New Hampshire Congressional District 1, I'd prefer to vote for candidates for the Senate and House brave enough to support the Roadmap.

The state GOP has a candidate list with links to each candidate's website. Each website has either a contact web form or an e-mail address. I used each to ask all but one candidate:

I would like to know where [Candidate] stands on the "Ryan Roadmap". (http://www.roadmap.republicans.budget.house.gov/)
As I type, I've received two responses:
  • Congressional candidate Peter Bearse wrote:
    I like the roadmap and salute Rep. Ryan for his initiative and leadership.
    Good enough for me! In addition, Dr. Bearse suggested I check out his "Pledge to Constituents" and kindly provided two Microsoft Word docs (which I've posted here and here).

    Dr. Bearse is—how can I put this gently?—not a front runner. He's not getting invited to debates. He has some positions (primarily on campaign finance) that I find sketchy. But so far, because of this single issue, he's got my vote.

  • Jill Neunaber, political director for Senate candidate Ovide Lamontagne responded:
    Ovide is an enthusiastic supporter of Congressman Ryan's roadmap. Ovide met with the congressman during his last visit to New Hampshire and sites [sic] it frequently on the campaign trail.
    Again: good enough for me. Ms. Neunaber also suggests reading Ovide's—we are suppsed to call him Ovide, I guess— oath, a 15-point pledge to voters on what he will and won't do. I don't agree with everything there, but (again) because of this issue, he's so far got me.

If I get any more candidate responses, I'll post them.

Footnote: I didn't bother with Senate candidate Gerard Beloin, even though he's listed on the GOP site, because he seems to be, um, way out of my comfort zone. There are a few other candidates on the ballot that the GOP doesn't list at all. One of them is quoted here: "I am not a nut." See if you agree.


Last Modified 2010-08-30 1:10 PM EDT

It's An Oyster

… with two tickets to that thing you love:

  • Edmunds reports that used car prices are up by an average of 10.3% from last year, in some cases up 30%. They point their shaky fingers at Your Federal Government and its Cash For Clunkers program. I can't sum up better than Radley Balko:
    So we have a government program whose stated aim was to shore up huge, failed corporations by giving public money to mostly upper-income people that in the end will penalize low and middle-income people. But remember folks, it's the libertarians--who opposed C4C--who are greedy corporatists who hate the poor.

  • Here's something I didn't realize about the term "weasel word". It is:
    … a qualifier that sucks the meaning out of a phrase in the way that weasels supposedly suck the contents out of an egg.
    I thought it was less specific than that. Pun Salad will try to use the term correctly from here on out.

    Oh yeah: the link goes to analysis of a pro-ObamaCare propagandish TV spot. In which Andy Griffith—yes, Andy Griffith—uses weasel words to try to reassure his fellow geezers about the legislation. And it's all paid for by Your Federal Government.

    But by now, that's kind of a dog-bites-man story. Nothing new, ho-hum. I do appreciate knowing about the proper usage of "weasel word" though.

  • In other language news, Prof "City Mouse" Althouse will tell you everything you need to know about the correct pronunciation of teat.

    Oh yeah, the context. Alan Simpson making the (apt but misspelled) analogy about Social Security: "We've reached a point now where it's like a milk cow with 310 million tits!" The suckers are trying to get him in trouble…

  • Your faithful blogger got a credit at the WSJ's Best of the Web Today for submitting the Puffington Host headline:
    Glenn Beck Is Not Martin Luther King Jr.
    I thought it might make a good "Bottom Story of the Day", but the crack WSJ team realized it was a closer fit to their "News You Can Use" category.

    And for a third language note, BOTWT also uses the word "apophasis", for all I know correctly.

The Square

[4.0
stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

I've occasionally griped about movies that bill themselves as noir that don't really fit my (apparently too-strict) ideas of the genre. But The Square is the real deal, even if it's set in modern-day Australia, and is in color.

See if you don't agree. Raymond is a construction foreman, and he's got problems with both money and sex. Specifically, he's fooling around with Carla while they are both married to other people. He and Carla would like to run off (presumably to a different part of Australia) but they lack finances. So Raymond is arranging for kickbacks from subcontractors, but that's a slow process; what to do?

Well, Carla's hubby is kind of a shady sort; one day she notices him hiding a bag full of cash, no doubt illegally obtained. And even though it's Australian cash, it's still worth something. All they have to do, she tells Raymond, is grab the money and torch its hiding place. Problem solved!

Well, you know how these things turn out: nobody lives happily ever after, and some don't live ever after at all.

The movie has a devilishly twisty plot, and it doesn't help that these blokes are allegedly speaking English: you need subtitles. ("Guhnya" turns out to be "good on you".) I wound up watching it twice to figure out what was going on. I think I got most of it.

There is a very dark-humored microplot involving Raymond and Carla's doggies. It could inspire a new genre: canine noir.


Last Modified 2012-10-02 4:05 PM EDT