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Rep. Paul Ryan: Republicans Must Take Risks

By Ronald Kessler   |   Monday, 01 Dec 2008 05:19 PM

Republicans must take risks and push bold ideas if they are to regain power in Washington, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, a rising star of the GOP, tells Newsmax.

Ryan, who recently turned down colleagues’ requests that he run for House minority leader, says Republicans need to “fire all the political consultants who tell us don’t take risks.”

As Ryan sees it, “We have too many politicians afraid of embracing change and big ideas in our own party. What matters most is not whether we can come up with great sound bites or have soothing rhetoric. What matters is that we come up with the best ideas, based upon our principles that solve our problems.”

Dave Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union, says Ryan represents a younger generation of “bright and thoughtful conservatives” who can help the GOP reclaim its standing.

Ryan, 38, says he decided not to run for minority leader because, “I have a 3-, 5- and 6-year-old. The job generally requires so much more time away from home than my current job as a policy leader in the Congress. I literally just did not like the commitment that came with it, with respect to taking time away from my family.”

Republicans need to return to their fundamental principles — liberty, freedom, self-determination, free enterprise — and apply them to the problems and challenges of the day, Ryan says.

“For one reason or another we’ve failed to do that — part out of political fear, fear of our own ideas — and we’ve been politically timid,” he says. “We need to go to the American people with a very specific plan for how we keep American ideals alive. The question that remains to be answered is whether or not we’re going to embrace bold ideas and big solutions to get us out of the political wilderness.”

Ryan has introduced a bill enhancing health and retirement security and aiming to reduce debt and promote jobs and business competitiveness. The proposals are outlined in what Ryan calls “A Roadmap for America’s Future.”

Included in the proposals is a plan to ensure universal access to health insurance and make Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security permanently solvent.

The proposals also include a new tax code that would give taxpayers a choice: pay taxes according to the present system or pay according to a highly simplified code with just two rates that fit on a postcard.

The option comes with virtually no special tax deductions, credits, or exclusions. Sen. Jim DeMint, chairman of the Senate Steering Committee, has enthusiastically endorsed the ideas and plans to introduce similar legislation.

Ryan says the economic recovery plan being pushed by Democrats to build more roads and bridges is “more make-work that does not grow the economy.” Calling it ideologically driven, Ryan says Japan took the same approach in the 1990s and regretted it.

“They refer to the 1990s of Japan as the lost decade,” he says. “They had basically a decade of economic stagnation with these kinds of public works projects and tax rate increases on capital. And we should not be repeating the mistakes that they made just in the last decade.”

The Democrats’ approach is “more about members of Congress just cranking up spending programs than actually growing the economy,” Ryan says. “If we were serious about growing the economy, we would make permanent lower tax rates on capital savings and investment, rather than bake them in the cake or build in massive tax increases, which is hampering investment, which is lowering people’s expectations for our economy.

"It’s going to prolong our recession. But that’s not in the cards. It’s not where this new administration is going, and it’s not where this Congress is going.”

Ryan says the roadmap ”achieves the objective of health and retirement security, albeit through an individual defined-contribution-style system. It does so by keeping our government limited, so we can keep our freedom and pay off our debt. And it also makes our economy and our companies much more competitive in a global, 21st century economy.”

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
e-mail. Go here now.

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