8 Paul Ryan: For Doubling Down on the Debt Crisis

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Congressman | Washington

Repeal Obamacare. Lower income tax rates and simplify the tax code. Cut Medicaid by a third and make it a state-controlled block-grant program. Overhaul Medicare by giving beneficiaries money to buy competing public and private health plans. Reduce non-entitlement spending to its lowest level since World War n. And save $5 trillion in the process.

These are the bold ideas contained in Paul Ryan's austere budget proposal, which the congressman from Wisconsin has gradually persuaded Republican thought leaders, lawmakers, and presidential candidates to support in an effort to shed the reputation for fiscal profligacy that the Republican Party earned under President George W. Bush. "To find a parallel to the way Ryan has so thoroughly seized control of the Republican agenda and identity, you have to go back at least to Gingrich in his nineties heyday, or possibly to Reagan," New York magazine marveled last spring.

In the 2012 presidential election, contender Mitt Romney didn't just champion Ryan's ideas he tapped the 42-year-old libertarian-leaning lawmaker as his running mate, catapulting the debate over the size and scope of the U. …