Home > Andrew Sullivan, Bruce Bartlett, Conservatism, Fiscal Policy, healthcare, Paul Ryan, Ross Douthat > An "Alternative Party" Not an "Opposition Party"

An "Alternative Party" Not an "Opposition Party"

If more Republicans started acting like Rep. Paul Ryan the country (and their party) would be in a better place. He seems to be the only Republican offering a serious proposal to fix our nation’s fiscal and healthcare problems. At Ross Douthat’s New York Times blog, Ryan’s seriousness earns him deserved praise. Even President Obama and Peter Orszag think his plan is a “serious proposal” and not just a few pain-free platitudes. Bruce Bartlett has been calling for a conservatively financed welfare state – Ryan one-ups him and offers a conservative welfare state:


A simplified tax code, consisting of a two-bracket income tax with a large standard deduction and a business consumption tax, would pay for a means-tested safety net, and a system of tax credits, risk pools and low-income subsidies would underwrite a free (or, well, somewhat freer) market in health care. In other words, Ryan would balance our books by shifting away from programs that shuffle money around within the middle and upper-middle classes — taking tax dollars with one hand and giving health-insurance deductions, college-tuition credits, home-mortgage deductions, Social Security checks and so forth with the other — and toward programs that tax the majority of Americans to fund means-tested support for the old, the sick, and the poor.

My former sparing partner, first alerted me to Paul Ryan sending me a George Will column. I really like the sound of this:

To make the economy — on which all else hinges — hum, Ryan proposes tax reform. Masochists would be permitted to continue paying income taxes under the current system. Others could use a radically simplified code, filing a form that fits on a postcard. It would have just two rates: 10 percent on incomes up to $100,000 for joint filers and $50,000 for single filers; 25 percent on higher incomes. There would be no deductions, credits or exclusions, other than the health care tax credit

Anyone that isn’t part of a special interest group should do everything they can to support a plan like this. A (the?) major reason our political system is so insane is because politicians are expected to tweak the tax code to fit everyone’s political interests (read: not for economic reasons).
(HT Andrew Sullivan and Bill Sowka)
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  1. February 9, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    I find it enlightening and refreshing to look at ideas. Not ideology, not partisan politics, but ideas that stem from rationale thought and not from populist manipulation. I believe that ideas rooted in populism are often slippery slopes that easily leak the water pundits are trying to carry-not to solve problems, but to win votes. When I read the ideas of Paul Ryan, I am inspired. When I hear the rants of populist talk radio I feel anger and frustration. Wailing, grinding of teeth, and rallying are fine, but they are a beginning, not an end. What must follow is the rolling up of sleeves. Here is a wonderful article in this months New Yorker. While it may poke at the right wingers, the danger of left wing populism is as real and as dangerous. Bill Sowkahttp://www.newyorker.com/talk/financial/2010/02/15/100215ta_talk_surowiecki

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