Ryan’s roadmap

This morning we introduce another outstanding piece from the new issue of the Claremont Review of Books (subscribe here). Yesterday we introduced CRB editor Charles Kesler’s “The stakes of Obamacare.” It is an important essay that also highlights the stakes of the elections on November 2.

William Voegeli is the author of Never Enough: America’s Limitless Welfare State, easily one of the books of the year. In a previous CRB issue Voegeli deliberated over the meaning of the Tea Party.

Voegeli now turns to “Paul Ryan’s Roadmap” and discusses the up-and-coming congressman’s plan to dig us out of our deep fiscal hole without raising taxes. Ryan should be taken seriously, says Voegeli, because he’s one of the few politicians who’s “serious about public policy without being strident about partisan politics.” His aim is to get government spending in line with revenues. It’s an “ambitious, even audacious plan to solve America’s fiscal problems–entirely on conservative terms.”

Voegeli distills the Ryan Roadmap into bullet points, then explores the effect Ryan’s changes would have on the economy. The changes are drastic, but America is in serious debt and severe spending reductions will be needed to cut the deficit. Voegeli commends Ryan for his direct and honest approach to the problem.

“Paul Ryan wants to get spending in line with revenues, and lays out clearly what that aspiration entails. His liberal detractors want to get revenues in line with spending, but are coy about the consequences,” he writes. They are coy because increasing revenues to match government spending means a drastic increase in taxes. Voegeli explains exactly what kind of taxes would be required to lower the deficit to 2 percent of GDP, and the results are staggering. The left’s other option is to ignore our record-setting deficit as if it isn’t a problem. Ryan proposes a third way, one that is realistic and responsible. Voegeli urges us to listen to him.

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