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Paul Ryan, Kingmaker?

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Mitt Romney’s pick for vice president, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has already created buzz within the liberal and conservative media. Most of the controversy centers on Ryan’s proposed Medicare reform—a plan that seems as polarizing as Obamacare. Romney’s bold decision to select Ryan indicates that he is trying to motivate conservatives and connect with younger voters. The question now is whether this choice will help Romney in the final months before the election.

Ryan’s plans for Medicare reform are part of his dubbed “Path to Prosperity,” an overall budget plan for the Capitol. Under Ryan’s proposal, there would be $5 trillion in budget savings over 10 years. The tax code will be somewhat simplified with only two brackets of 10% and 25%, and a removal of most tax loopholes. The largest part of the Ryan budget involves Medicare. Ryan calls for increased private sector health care, subsidized by the government. States would also have more control over their individual sanctioning on Medicaid, making the system a federal block grant program. While the age for Medicare qualification would gradually shift from 65 to 67, Ryan states that those currently on Medicare or those about to be will be grandfathered into the current system.

With the pick of Ryan, Romney has shown that he is willing to make a risky, far-right candidate his running mate despite the possible alienation of independents and his partner’s polarizing budget blueprint. Say what you will, but credit should be given to Ryan for being the only guy in the race who actually created a plan to get America out of debt—something neither Romney nor Obama can claim.


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