Can Rep. Paul Ryan’s ideas save the US economy?

May 7, 2010 06:41

Meet a man who plans to balance the federal budget without raising taxes and put the U.S. economy on sure footing without bailouts, overhauls, or takeovers: Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan

Edward Lee Pitts at World Magazine

WASHINGTON—Paul Ryan likes to hunt. The strategy involved in tracking his target, the need of going at it alone, the skill to take aim, and even the thrill of the kill are reasons why Ryan, who recently turned 40, goes hunting as often as he can. But he prefers walking into the woods without a gun.

“Rifle hunting is easy, but bow hunting is tough,” claims Ryan, who stalks prey with his bow as often as he can, even making his own sausage from his kills.

The sport’s allure to Ryan provides clues to why he is drawn to the part of his life that’s not a hobby: being a lawmaker. This year Ryan, a six-term Republican congressman and senior member of two key committees, shot a quiver full of arrows at the nation’s ongoing fiscal crisis by targeting healthcare, the tax code, trade policy, and entitlements in a substantive and daring proposal he calls the “Roadmap for America’s Future.”

But Ryan wasn’t finished. He then added his own budget proposal that actually erases the nation’s long-term deficit and had The Washington Post calling the White House’s official 2011 budget “only the second-most interesting budget proposal released” this year.

“I guess you can say that I make sausage literally and figuratively,” Ryan joked to me, alluding to the common metaphor that compares bill-writing to the unappealing and often hidden process of making sausage, or bratwurst to use the term favored in Ryan’s native Wisconsin.

In Washington, Ryan currently has in his crosshairs a White House and Congress he says are pursuing policies that will create a national culture of dependency and drain individuals of the will to make the most out of their lives. To fight that, he has come armed with something many complain is missing in the current breed of elected officials bearing the conservative banner: ideas.


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