The 111th Congress recently elected and positioned to take office in January 2011 will seat potentially the most influential and powerful Wisconsin politician on the national stage ever and the most recognizable the since Senator Joe McCarthy in the 1950’s and Fighting Bob LaFolette in the 1920’s. He is a relatively unassuming six term congressman from Wisconsin’s 1st District named Paul Ryan, and he will with the placement of the new congress assume the chairmanship of the powerful Committee on the Budget, which frames the expenditures of the United States and crucially entitlement spending. At only 40 years of age, and already recognized as a national resource and creative intellect on budget issues, he will be a progressive star on the national stage, and obvious member of Rampart’s People We Should Know.
Ryan is an economic wunderkind who has already been identified for many years since his mid twenties as a particularly sharp student of budgetary issues in Washington. Only six years after graduation from Miami Ohio University he managed to convince a predominantly democratic district in Wisconsin of his mature political grasp, winning a surprise election in 1998 and successfully holding the seat ever since. He has progressively come into prominence for his measured and articulate debate style, his encyclopedic understanding of the byzantine US budget process, and his market oriented proposals for radical overhaul of the failing United States tax and entitlement system in his revolutionary and comprehensive Roadmap for America’s Future . This plan articulated a logical means of preserving American enterprise and standard of living while dramatically curtailing the deficit spending in out years producing strangulating national debt. The seriousness of the plan has been confirmed by the howls of protest from progressives that see it as a threat to their dreams of a European style social compact for America. President Obama himself referred to it as a serious plan, while laying out an alternative accelerated spending process at complete juxtaposition to Ryan’s plan. The two protagonists came intellectually head to head at the debate prior to Obama’s budget destroying healthcare proposal in its run to becoming law, and it was at this White House summit that a national audience first saw the tremendous skills and intellect of this congressman, as he methodically took apart Obama’s plan for the economic debacle it would create, piece by piece:
The spectacular performance put Ryan on the map and he has wasted no time in positioning himself as the conservative intellectual alternative to Obama’s idealistic progressivism. The November election with the recapture of the House of Representatives by Republicans places Mr. Ryan on the perfect stage to define US budget policy as chairman of the powerful Budget Committee. He has pre-meditatively in brilliant and politically savvy fashion already taken the offensive with a bi-partisan proposal in conjunction with Clinton economic advisor Alice Rivlin proposing a more sane alternative plan for Medicare entitlements compared to Obama’s healthcare act that promises to create real havoc with “inevitability” arguments of Obama’s hastily through together health impulses. The sky is the limit for this articulate and creative politician and he is bound to have to fight off overtures for national office in the coming years. The next two years of Paul Ryan are going to be a very interesting act to watch, and the future look of the United States and its willingness to preserve the tenets of market forces that brought it to the pinnacle of western civilization’s economic leadership will be very much defined by this Wisconsin defender of the Ramparts.