In January, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — who Glenn Beck says he loves — released his Roadmap for America’s Future, which would eliminate long-term deficits by essentially privatizing Medicare and Social Security and placing arbitrary, non-specific freezes on all non-discretionary spending. In an analysis of the plan, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities said Ryan’s plan “would result in a massive transfer of resources from the broad majority of Americans to the nation’s wealthiest individuals”:
The Roadmap would give the most affluent households a new round of very large, costly tax cuts by reducing income tax rates on high-income households; eliminating income taxes on capital gains, dividends, and interest; and abolishing the corporate income tax, the estate tax, and the alternative minimum tax. At the same time, the Ryan plan would raise taxes for most middle-income families, privatize a substantial portion of Social Security, eliminate the tax exclusion for employer-sponsored health insurance, end traditional Medicare and most of Medicaid, and terminate the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The plan would replace these health programs with a system of vouchers whose value would erode over time and thus would purchase health insurance that would cover fewer health care services as the years went by.
Though the Republican leadership have resisted embracing Ryan’s plan, hardcore conservatives are big fans. In an interview with The Weekly Standard yesterday, former Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), who is seeking retiring Sen. Evan Bayh’s (D-IN) seat, said he wanted a Social Security and Medicare policy “along the lines of what Paul Ryan has proposed”:
Coats stopped by THE WEEKLY STANDARD this afternoon to talk about his campaign and said that he wouldn’t be running if he wasn’t determined to bring “structural change” to the federal government. Lamenting that Republicans had lost their way “doing earmarks as hard as the other guys,” Coats says now there’s no more time to “kick the can down the road” on the federal debt.
He recalls that during one GOP candidate forum this spring, the candidates were asked what specifically they would do to rein in federal spending. While other candidates suggested slashing the Department of Education or a 1 percent across-the-board spending cut, Coats told the audience that those proposals simply “wouldn’t put a dent” in the federal debt. What we need to do, Coats says, is implement entitlement reform “along the lines of what Paul Ryan has proposed.”
Matt Yglesias calls the approach that Coats is endorsing “the Ryan Ripoff,” saying that “in a nutshell” it means “much lower taxes for the rich, higher taxes for ninety percent of Americans, and no balanced budget. All in the name of balancing the budget!”