Paul Ryan discusses "A Roadmap For America's Future."
"Hi, I'm Paul Ryan -- Congressman from Janesville, Wisconsin, and the Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee -- and I'd like to talk to you about an issue of historic importance for us, and for our children and grandchildren.
Today, America faces a choice between two economic futures.
Currently, we are on a path of unsustainable Federal Government spending. The main problem -- and greatest threat to our nation's economic future -- is the looming crisis of entitlement spending. The well-intentioned social insurance strategies of the past century -- particularly Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid -- are headed toward financial collapse.
And, as experts have long warned Congress, not only will these programs grow themselves right into extinction, they'll impose a crushing burden on our economy and budget -- piling massive amounts of debt on future generations, crippling our ability to compete in the international marketplace, and dramatically reducing Americans' standards of living.
In fact, by the time my three kids are my age, they will have to pay double the taxes we pay today -- just to keep the government afloat -- no new programs, no new spending -- double the taxes just to maintain the status quo.
Compounding this problem is a tax code that discourages work, savings, and investment -- and puts American companies at a significant competitive disadvantage with businesses overseas.
This is the future we face if we do nothing. I believe we can -- and must -- set a different course. If we begin to act immediately -- there remains the opportunity for a dramatically better American future. But the time for talk has passed. We need a plan.
Over the past few years, I've solicited input from many people -- policy experts, budget and economic analysts, and working people from throughout Wisconsin and the nation. And I've come up with a comprehensive plan to transform the Federal Government -- to fix healthcare, Medicare, Social Security, our trade imbalance, our tax system, and our growing debt.
My legislation -- A Roadmap for America's Future -- achieves the following:
First, it ensures universal access to health insurance; and rescues and strengthens Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security -- allowing them to fulfill their missions and making them permanently solvent.
Second, it returns Federal spending growth to sustainable levels, and removes the massive future debt burden.
And third, my plan promotes solid, sustained economic growth that provides an ever-increasing number of good-paying American jobs, and puts the U.S. in a position to lead -- not merely survive -- in the global marketplace.
My plan addresses all of these issues at once, because -- whether the issue is health care, international competitiveness, or debt -- piecemeal, incremental "fixes" will never match the magnitude, the urgency, and the interrelated nature of America's greatest domestic challenges. I believe this comprehensive approach is critical to achieving real, long-term solutions.
My plan is also backed up by the numbers. Based on the analysis of government actuaries, this plan is projected to make the Social Security and Medicare programs permanently solvent, and lift the growing debt burden on future generations, while keeping tax rates low.
While there is a consensus in Congress that we do, in fact, have a massive problem on our hands, we are far from agreement on how -- or even if -- we're going to deal with it.
But let me be clear: we're going to have to start tackling these problems, or they're going tackle us. The entitlement crisis is real, it's serious, it's not going away, and it's getting dramatically worse with every year we fail to act.
It may be one of our greatest challenges, but it is also a truly historic opportunity.
A Roadmap for America's Future is a real plan, with real proposals, real numbers to back them, and real legislation to implement it.
Not everybody will agree with every aspect of this proposal, and that's fine. But it is my sincere hope that it will spur Congress to move beyond simply rehashing the problem -- to debating, and implementing actual solutions for the American people.