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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel op-ed: Path to Prosperity offers best way forward.

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March 24, 2012 | comments

By Paul Ryan

On Wednesday, the House Budget Committee advanced "The Path to Prosperity," a budget for the federal government for Fiscal Year 2013 and moved one step closer to giving our nation a long overdue choice of two futures.

"The Path to Prosperity," which builds on reforms and bipartisan solutions offered over the past year, provides a future of economic prosperity and opportunity, a future where government delivers on the promises made to the American people and a future where we pay down our $15 trillion national debt and grow the economy.

House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) holds a copy of his budget plan,
Associated Press
House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) holds a copy of his budget plan, "The Path to Prosperity," Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

By contrast, the Senate has failed to pass a budget for more than 1,000 days, and the president's latest budget proposal calls for more spending, more borrowing and more taxes - ensuring a future of debt, doubt and decline.

House Republicans refuse to ignore the most predictable economic crisis our country has ever faced. We stand ready to address our generation's greatest challenge: reforming and modernizing government to prevent an explosion of debt from crippling our nation and robbing our children of their future.

We reject the broken politics of the past and hold firm to the belief that the American people deserve real solutions and honest leadership. That's why we are putting our trust in them to choose a bright future for generations to come.

Our budget:

Cuts government spending to protect hardworking taxpayers and reduces deficits by over $3 trillion, relative to the president's proposal.

Tackles the drivers of our debt so our troops don't pay the price for Washington's failure to take action.

Restores economic freedom and ensures a level playing field for all by putting an end to special-interest favoritism and corporate welfare.

Reverses the president's policies that drive up gas prices and instead promotes an all-of the-above strategy for unlocking American energy production to help lower costs, create jobs and reduce dependence on foreign oil.

Strengthens health and retirement security by taking power away from government bureaucrats and empowering patients instead with control over their own care.

Reforms our broken tax code to spur job creation and economic opportunity by lowering rates, closing loopholes and putting hardworking taxpayers ahead of special interests.

It is a plan of action that builds upon a bipartisan consensus for principled solutions: real spending discipline and restored economic freedom, patient-centered health care reform and pro-growth tax reform.

With respect to Medicare, the president's health care overhaul raids the program by $500 billion to create a brand-new entitlement and creates a board of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats to control health care costs. Alternatively, our plan repeals the president's health care law and empowers individuals by giving them greater choice in health care.

We propose to strengthen the Medicare guarantee for current seniors - making no changes for those 55 and older - and give future retirees the ability to choose between competing health care plans, including the traditional Medicare program, to find one that best meets their needs. By tailoring the system to the individual and by implementing other common-sense reforms, such as subsidizing recipients based on their income and health, we can ensure Medicare will deliver on the promise made to current and future generations.

In addition to tackling the drivers of our debt, "The Path to Prosperity" also proposes pro-growth reforms to our nation's tax code so it is simple, fair and competitive. Whereas the president's budget would raise taxes on successful Americans and job creators, our budget builds on bipartisan reforms that broaden the tax base, clean out special interest loopholes and deductions, and lower tax rates on all Americans as a result.

The president has put forth a budget proposal that results in an increasingly expansive federal government, the bankruptcy of our health and retirement security programs, the weakening of our social safety net and a diminished economic future. We believe Americans deserve better than empty promises from a broken government, and "The Path to Prosperity" shows how we can achieve this.

Two contrasting proposals have been put forth that would lead to two very different outcomes for our nation. The choice before us is clear. This week, the House of Representatives will consider this plan and take another step toward giving the nation a clear choice of two futures, but, ultimately, it will be the American people who determine on election day which path we take and what kind of nation we become.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is chairman of the House Budget Committee.


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