Here is the introduction by Paul D. Ryan, a Republican congressman from Wisconsin and a member of the Budget Committee and the Ways and Means Committee, to his legislative plan to secure the fiscal future of the United States:
merica faces a choice between two fiscal and economic futures.
In one, ever-rising levels of government spending overwhelm the Federal budget and the U.S. economy with crushing burdens of debt and higher taxes. It is a future in which America’s best century is the past century.
The second future is one in which the principles that created America’s freedom and prosperity are restored. It is the path set out in my plan, A Roadmap for America’s Future.
Currently, we are on a path of unsustainable Federal spending. The main problem 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.
Not only will these programs grow themselves into extinction, they will immensely burden 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.
We can and must set a different course. But the time for talk has passed. We need a plan.
Based on the input of many, I developed A Roadmap for America’s Future to:
1. Ensure universal access to health insurance, fulfill the missions of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and make these programs permanently solvent.
2. Return Federal spending growth to sustainable levels and lift the debt burden looming over future generations.
3. Promote sustained economic and job growth and put the U.S. in a position to lead – not merely survive – in the international marketplace.
We are going to have to tackle these problems, or they’re going to tackle us. My plan addresses all these issues at once because piecemeal, incremental “fixes” cannot match the magnitude, the urgency, and the interrelated nature of these challenges.
It’s an ambitious proposal. Not everyone will agree with every aspect of it, and that’s fine. But if nothing else, it’s 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.
It is a real plan, with real proposals, real numbers to back them, and real legislation to implement it.
The details, including an independent analysis by the Congressional Budget Office, is available here: American Roadmap