What's gotten into Wisconsin? U. Wis. in Madison was reputed to be one of the whackiest campuses on the planet during the 1960's. The state's reputation is solidly leftish--a place where ideological toxins from Illinois effervesce. But Paul Ryan is the gutsiest, staunchest fiscal conservative Noman has seen since Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. If this keeps up, Noman will be tempted to change his residence from the eviscerated state of Michigan to the cheese-head refuge on the other side of Lake Michigan.
The president's recent budget proposal would accelerate America's descent into a debt crisis. It doubles debt held by the public by the end of his first term and triples it by 2021. It imposes $1.5 trillion in new taxes, with spending that never falls below 23% of the economy. His budget permanently enlarges the size of government. It offers no reforms to save government health and retirement programs, and no leadership.
What more needs to be said? The proposed plan contemplates reducing spending, reforming Welfare (including corporate), restructuring Medicare and Social Security, reforming the budgeting process, and reforming the tax system. His Op-Ed is worth a serious look, as is the plan.
Mr. Ryan's budget rollout is an important political and policy moment because it is the most serious attempt to reform government in at least a generation. The plan offers what voters have been saying they want—a blueprint to address the roots of Washington's fiscal disorder. It does so not by the usual posturing ("paygo") and symbolism (balanced budget amendment) but by going to the heart of the spending problem, especially on the vast and rapidly growing health-care entitlements of Medicaid and Medicare. The Wisconsin Republican's plan is a generational choice, not the usual Beltway echo.
Noman notes that the GOP plan's treatment of Medicaid accords with the principle of subsidiarity, which holds that nothing should be done by a larger and more complex organization which can be done as well by a smaller and simpler organization. The federal government would let states run the program with a block grant, and decide what works best for their circumstances.
The DC follies have just gotten much more interesting. Let the scare mongering begin.