What to make of Congressman Paul Ryan…

Wisconsin Republican Congressman Paul Ryan has made something of a splash among fiscal conservatives with a plan to bring America’s fiscal picture back into balance. His plan, which has been embraced by many conservatives, but not necessarily most Republicans, is called “A Roadmap for America’s Future.” It is one of, if not the only serious, numbers on paper, ideas for pulling the US federal budget out of its current tailspin. It should be noted that Democrats haven’t put together a real plan for balancing America’s long-term budget either.

While Ryan’s efforts should be applauded by anyone concerned about America’s future, as Reason Magazine points out “Ryan voted in favor of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), the widely despised bank bailout. He also endorsed the taxpayer-funded auto bailout, citing ‘mounting hardships’ in a part of his state once dominated by carmakers. His ballyhooed spending plan is so incrementalist that it wouldn’t balance the budget until 2063. And this year, while defending his policies to The New York Times, the congressman declared, ‘I’m not trying to win an award from the Cato Institute.'”

With all that said, Ryan has at least started a debate with his “Roadmap.” If Republicans are going to gain control of Congress anytime soon, they need to seriously consider making some of the tough choices Ryan outlines (and perhaps coming up with some that he fails to consider, like reducing defense outlays).