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Thursday, March 25, 2010


Balancing Healthcare, Public Policy and Politics with Linda De Seife

Initially I was contemplating writing about another topic this month, which probably would have turned out to be another rant about what’s wrong with politics today. Then I read a Business Week article about Congressman Paul Ryan, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, and his Roadmap for America’s Future 2.0, and decided to write about something positive in public affairs today -- something that offers real hope for America’s future.

First, something about Congressman Ryan that I had not been aware of and that instantly caused me to look at his proposal more closely is that his mentor, and former boss, was the late Congressman Jack Kemp, father of Kemp-Roth tax relief legislation and the concept of enterprise zones in the late 1970’s and 1980’s.

Jack Kemp was a colleague of two of my former Congressional bosses. I had the pleasure of working with him and his staff when he made trips to our districts to both support his colleagues and get the word out about the benefits that the Kemp-Roth legislation could bring to the American economy and the American people.

The situation then was similar to now, in that the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. Only then, they had controlled it for forty years. But that didn’t stop Jack Kemp and Sen. William Roth from developing their proposal and talking it up around the country and in print. Eventually, when Ronald Reagan became President, they worked with a still Democratically-controlled Congress to get their proposal signed into law, which led to a resurgence in the American economy and an optimism in the American people.

That seems to be the path that Congressman Ryan is following. Let’s only hope it doesn’t take as long to see his proposals become law.

The Roadmap outlines recommendations for health care, tax policy, job training. Medicare, and Social Security that will put our nation on a sustainable fiscal course. Here are the basics:

Health Care
  • Ensures universal access to affordable coverage by establishing a new $5,700 refundable tax credit for families to purchase insurance. It provides transparency on price and quality to help bring costs under control while enhancing quality of care.

  • Secures Medicare for current beneficiaries and gradually phases in reforms for those under age 55 to make Medicare permanently solvent.

  • Reforms Medicaid to give beneficiaries greater choice in their care, provide greater flexibility to states, and gets spending under control to preserve the critical safety net for future generations.

Tax Policy
  • Provides an alternative to the needlessly complex, cumbersome and unfair tax code by giving taxpayers the option of filing their income taxes under a highly simplified tax code that has just two rates and no special tax deductions, credits or exclusions (except the health care tax credit).

  • Promotes work, saving and investment: by eliminating taxes on interest, capital gains, dividends, the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and the death tax; and, by replacing the corporate income tax with a competitive border-adjustable business consumption tax.

Social Security
  • Preserves the existing program for those 55 or older.

  • Offers workers under 55 the option of investing over one-third of their current Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts, similar to the Thrift Savings Plan available to federal employees.

  • Makes the program permanently solvent, according to the CBO, by combining a more realistic measure of growth in Social Security’s initial benefits, with a gradual, modest increase in the retirement age.

Job Training

Helps prepare the nation’s workforce for success in the global economy by transforming 49 job training programs, scattered across eight agencies, into a flexible, dynamic program focused on results, and accompanied by clear measures of transparency and accountability.

“The Roadmap is not simply a slimmer version of the 'progressive' government expansion. It is a true alternative, consisting of specific policies supported by CBO estimates of its fiscal and economic consequences. It focuses government on its proper role; it restrains government spending, thus limiting the size of government itself; it rejuvenates the vibrant market economy that made America the envy of the world; and it restores an American character rooted in individual initiative, entrepreneurship and opportunity – qualities that make each American’s pursuit of personal destiny a net contribution to the Nation’s common good as well. In short it is built on the enduring truths from which America’s Founders established this great and exceptional Nation.” --

I would encourage you to visit to view the details. The website also contains rebuttals to false charges such as that it “provides tax breaks for the wealthy,” “ends Medicare as we know it,” and “privatizes Social Security.”

The late Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, once said, “A billion here, a billion there; pretty soon you’ve got real money.” He would be appalled at the state of today’s runaway government spending and deficits when we’re now talking in trillions. We need Congressman Ryan’s policies today, even more than we needed Jack Kemp’s thirty years ago.

Quote of the Month
"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government."
-- Edward Abbey.

For more information, please visit Linda's TNNW Bio.


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