Friday, December 10, 2010

John Hayward: Palin And The Ryan Roadmap

"People like Palin, Ryan, and Pence are the adults in the room"
In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece today, Gov. Palin endorses the fiscal “road map” drawn up by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). Human Events' John Hayward opines that the backing of Ryan's carefully-constructed plan by one of the most popular figures in the conservative movement is an important development:
Palin judges the deficit commission’s report inadequate because it leaves three major financial tumors largely untreated: Social Security, ObamaCare, and our incredibly convoluted tax system. The commission would address Social Security by raising the retirement age, long after the point where the system would have become insolvent – and even at that, it would be making an already rotten deal for future retirees even worse. Ryan’s “Roadmap For America’s Future,” on the other hand, offers a program for younger workers to opt into a private retirement account, while preserving existing benefits for those 55 and older. There is, quite frankly, no other approach that will save the system.


On taxes, the Ryan plan would “replace our high and anticompetitive corporate income tax with a business consumption tax of just 8.5%. The overall tax burden would be limited to 19% of GDP (compared to 21% under the deficit commission's proposals).” From World War II to the 1970s, the government spent less than 20% of GDP. Our fiscal health went terminal when that limit was exceeded. There is a school of economic thought that suggests it’s essentially impossible for any government to indefinitely sustain spending beyond the 20% threshold, as the recessive effects of excessive taxation and spending cause the economy to begin deflating. I think we’ve gotten close enough to proving this theory to suspend the experiment.

Ryan’s plan also simplifies the tax system to two rates, 10% for single filers up to $50,000 or joint filers up to $100,000, and 25 percent for higher amounts, with a generous standard deduction. It eliminates double taxation on savings, investments, and estates, taxing only income. Aside from the health care credit, the rest of the complex maze of deductions, subsidies, and penalties that turn our current tax code into an instrument of social control are eliminated.


It’s important to see one of the most popular figures in the conservative movement throwing her weight behind a carefully thought-out set of proposals like Ryan’s. As Palin concedes, the Roadmap for America’s Future isn’t perfect, but it’s clearly not a bunch of cockamamie ideas Ryan tossed out in a beer-fueled rant after realizing he couldn’t handle Speaker Nancy Pelosi for one more instant. Ryan’s ideas are also consonant with a lot of interesting things Mike Pence has been saying lately.

The common liberal knock on the Tea Party movement in general, and Sarah Palin in particular, is that they have no ideas, only complaints and sound bites. Palin expresses her own concrete proposals on a regular basis, and now she’s signing on to the reinforced concrete of Paul Ryan’s comprehensive plan. As Americans watch the Democrats dissolve in a petulant meltdown over their own childish demands, economic fantasies, and utter irresponsibility, they would do well to learn that people like Palin, Ryan, and Pence are the adults in the room.

- JP

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