Presidential candidate Mitt Romney finally picked his vice presidential candidate and chose Wisconsin politician Paul Ryan. Ryan currently serves in the congressional House of Representatives. It's a position that he's held since 1999, when he was elected at just 28 years of age. Ryan already has a reputation for speaking his mind on major issues surrounding the November election against President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
However, Ryan has only recently joined Romney's presidential trail and is just starting to let his thoughts be known. Below is an overview of Ryan's proposals and the ways that his policies could affect the average American should Ryan become vice president.
Republicans, especially those that consider themselves on the more conservative side, are quite happy with Ryan's plans to limit the role of government, make a serious attempt at reducing the deficit and fight against two of three major entitlement programs. He has also ambitiously sought to tackle the convoluted tax system and propose only a couple of tax rates, while closing many of the loopholes that plague the current system. Reforms would include personal and business taxes.
Tough on Government Spending
At a recent Republican rally in Iowa, Ryan spoke out against the government spending beyond its means. Political strategists speculate that Romney chose Ryan because of his specific plans, as opposed to Romney's more general proposals on a number of important issues. When it comes to tackling government spending, Ryan would attempt to cut back Medicare and Medicaid. Concerning Medicare, Perry would allow private health insurance for individuals below 55 years of age. As for Medicaid, Ryan would shift quite a bit of responsibility to the states and leave it to them to keep healthcare costs from spiraling out of control.
At this point, Ryan has avoided the issue of rising Social Security costs. Both sides of the debate see the issue as too risky, as you lose the support of the millions of baby boomers who are already, or will soon be, drawing monthly checks from the Social Security system.
When it comes to taxes, Romney and Ryan already represented a unified front and would extend the Bush-era tax cuts. Obama's camp wants to impose a minimum tax rate for those making over $1 million per year. Currently, wealthy individuals who rely on a high amount of income from investment sources are able to pay well below the standard stated tax rates. It remains to be seen what loopholes Ryan would specifically eliminate, but cutbacks on income exclusions could be fair game.
Specific discussions surrounding Ryan's plans on taxes include letting the higher-end of the corporate tax rate fall to 25%, down from 35%, which could rise back to 39.6% if the Bush tax cuts are not allowed to continue. He estimates that a lower tax rate would be offset by the closing of loopholes and result in a system that is far less complicated, but should lead to roughly the same amount of annual revenue for the government.
In regards to the deficit, Ryan would be much more aggressive in cutting down on government spending, which makes sense because he would not be relying on tax increases that Obama supports. Federal spending would actually still increase, but at a slower pace than on the democratic side.
The Bottom Line
Clearly, such a mix of changes is going to affect the average American in different ways. It's very plausible to see fewer benefits in Medicaid, though the impact of Medicare changes is more difficult to predict, given all the individual state changes that could take place. Taxes would certainly be lower if Romney wins and pushes for the implementation of a number of Ryan's plans. However, Ryan's policies would eat away at government spending and reduce government jobs and related benefits.