I met Paul Ryan for the first time today at a lunch meeting. I would have said that my opinion of Ryan couldn’t get much higher, but it did. He was even more impressive in person than I expected: funny and passionate as well as superbly knowledgeable about fiscal issues. Ryan is a first-principles conservative, who draws a straight line from the Founding and the Declaration of Independence to our current debt/spending crisis.
I would summarize Ryan’s main themes as follows:
1) The United States has a brief time remaining when we can solve our budgetary crisis without drastic measures. Soon, our debt to GDP ratio will inhibit economic growth, the sheer magnitude of the debt will overwhelm efforts to get it under control, and rising interest rates will crush all other budgetary considerations. For now, we have an opportunity to solve the fiscal crisis without, for example, having to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits to existing seniors. This is what the House Republican budget seeks to do. But that window is rapidly closing.
2) Ever-increasing numbers of Americans are becoming dependent on the federal government. Currently around 40% are either “dependent” or “reliant” on federal checks, and 70% of the population takes more out of the federal government in benefits than it pays in taxes. The Democrats seek to accelerate these trends in order to perpetuate their own power (my paraphrase). But those numbers are somewhat misleading, as many are now dependent on government as a result of the current recession. The United States remains, for the time being, a center-right country, and a clear majority continues to favor freedom and opportunity over cradle to grave government control…
Read the rest at Power Line.
Update: Soros: The EU Crisis Has “Taken a Turn for the Worse.” “…the rules governing the eurozone have failed and need radical revision.”