Ryan’s Response Hits the Right Note

by James Pethokoukis

My biggest reservation about Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” has been that it was an economic plan only Paul Ryan could sell. But the House Budget chairman’s non-wonky, plainspoken defense of the PTP today before the Economic Club of Chicago has put those concerns to rest. It was deep-dish speech that hit the spot for those of us hungry for a comprehensive response to the distortions and deceptions hurled at him and his blueprint.

Ryan highlighted four foundations of growth: 1) controlling health-care costs; 2) eliminating bad regulations; 3) keeping taxes low; and 4) getting the Federal Reserve to focus on stable prices rather than juicing job growth. Good stuff, but more interesting was his defense of his Medicare plan, savaged by Democrats and, recently, Newt Gingrich.

2012 GOP candidates should memorize this hunk:

The President’s plan begins with trillions of dollars in higher taxes, and it relies on a plan to control costs in Medicare that would give a board of 15 unelected bureaucrats in Washington the power to deeply ration care. This would disrupt the lives of those currently in retirement and lead to waiting lists for today’s seniors. … The disagreement isn’t really about the problem. It’s about the solution to controlling costs in Medicare.

And if I could sum up that disagreement in a couple of sentences, I would say this: Our plan is to give seniors the power to deny business to inefficient providers. Their plan is to give government the power to deny care to seniors.

… That’s the real class warfare that threatens us — a class of governing elites picking winners and losers, and determining our destinies for us.

Even better was his explanation of a key difference between Ryanomics and Obamanomics — an emphasis on creating prosperity and growth, not just muddling through the sort of perpetual austerity predicted by Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s IMF bureaucrats and Washington’s left-of-center consensus.

Ryan believes and persuasively argues that the American formula of bottom-up, entrepreneurial capitalism is still relevant. It’s why we’re still the Exceptional Nation. “Radical change?” What in the world was Gingrich talking about?