Economics

Ryan: Budget Fights Moral Decline as ‘Dependency and Passivity’ Weaken the Country

some textHouse Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan will warn at AEI today that the country is at a “tipping point” in its debt crisis that threatens to “curtail free enterprise” and lead to a “gradual moral-political decline as dependency and passivity weaken the nation’s character.”

The Wisconsin Republican detailed in today’s Wall Street Journal the magic numbers everyone has been waiting for: $6.2 trillion in cuts from President Obama’s budget over the next decade; $4.4 trillion in deficit reduction, as compared to Obama’s promised $1.1 trillion.

In his noontime AEI address, Ryan will argue that keeping the budget on the beaten path could “weaken our national identity in ways that may not be reversible.”

“This budget charts a new path,” Ryan will say. “It represents a new federal commitment, assuring this nation’s workers, investors and entrepreneurs that the new House majority recognizes the threat that unlimited government poses to the American way of life.”

Reining in the size and scope of government, he adds in prepared remarks, “should not be a partisan issue.”

Ryan will address four main aspects of “The Path to Prosperity” agenda: streamlining government to make it “more efficient, effective and responsible”; welfare reform to “build upon the success” of the bipartisan efforts during the 1990s; focusing on entitlement reform to save Medicare and require the president to submit a plan “for restoring balance” to Social Security; and tax reform that “starts not by asking what is the ‘right mix’ of tax increases and spending cuts to balance the budget, but by asking what is the purpose of government, and then raising only as much revenue as the government needs to fund the things it is supposed to be doing.”

The chairman, who references both Reagan and FDR in his speech, will introduce a tax reform plan that caps individual and corporate rates at 25 percent.

“Over time, additional brackets, credits and carve-outs have grown on the tax code like weeds,” Ryan’s prepared remarks state. “As with so many things, such as practicing the politics of optimism, we need to get back to the Reagan model – in this case, by implementing the policies of growth.”

He chides the current system as leaving America “on the brink of national bankruptcy” and exacerbating a debt crisis that could lead to “an unprecedented economic collapse.”

“The president, whose budget punted on the drivers of our debt, is not the first public official to have drifted down this perilous path,” Ryan will say, stressing that “both political parties have squandered the public’s trust.”

“The stakes in this debate are high … They transcend what fraction a government worker in Madison contributes to his benefits package. And they transcend what number between $33 billion and $61 billion we finally settle on as we try to repair this year’s broken budget process.”

The budget release comes a day after Obama announced his re-election campaign. Watch a livestream of Ryan’s address at noon here.

UPDATES: Watch the video of Ryan’s address and highlights here.

Full text of Ryan’s speech here; the “Path to Prosperity” GOP budget plan is here.

More coverage from AEI! “Ryan, Reality on Energy” by scholar Ken Green, “Paul Ryan, FDR’s Savior” from AEI VP Henry Olsen and “Paul Ryan: FDR’s Savior? Or Reagan’s?” by visiting fellow Jonah Goldberg

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