Paul Ryan: Speech Transcript – Heritage Foundation 10/26/11

Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) spoke at the Heritage Foundation today. Ryan hits Obama hard on class warfare and accuses him of dishonesty and hard-hearted attacks. The video below is Ryan talking to Don Imus just before he delivered the Heritage speech. He succinctly summed up the goal in the first few seconds of the Imus interview: we must “grow the pie,” not “divide a shrinking a pie.” In the video you will hear Ryan say that Democrats have not had a budget for two years, and he says, the Senate has told him they will not have a budget next year (with Democrats in control).

Pullout Quote:

And yet, nearly three years into his presidency, look at where we are now: Petty and trivial? Just last week, the President told a crowd in North Carolina that Republicans are in favor of “dirtier air, dirtier water, and less people with health insurance.” Can you think of a pettier way to describe sincere disagreements between the two parties on regulation and health care? Chronic avoidance of tough decisions? The President still has not put forward a credible plan to tackle the threat of ever-rising spending and debt…

A preference for scoring cheap political points instead of consensus-building? This is the same President who is currently campaigning against a do-nothing Congress, when in fact, the House of Representatives has passed over a dozen bills to help get the economy moving and deal with the debt, only to see the President’s party kill those bills in the do-nothing Senate. ~ Congressman Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee

Paul Ryan

Begin Transcript (all emphasis mine):

We’re here today to explore the American Idea, and I can’t think of a better venue for this topic. The mission of the Heritage Foundation is to promote the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.

These are the principles that define the American Idea. And this mission has never been timelier, because these principles are very much under threat from policies here in Washington.

The American Idea belongs to all of us – inherited from our nation’s Founders, preserved by the countless sacrifices of our veterans, and advanced by visionary leaders, past and present.

What makes America exceptional – what gives life to the American Idea – is our dedication to the self-evident truth that we are all created equal, giving us equal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And that means opportunity.
The perfection of our union, especially our commitment to equality of opportunity, has been a story of constant striving to live up to our Founding principles. This is what Abraham Lincoln meant when he said, “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free – honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve.”

This commitment to liberty and equality is something we take for granted during times of prosperity, when a growing economic pie gives all Americans the opportunity to pursue their dreams, to provide brighter futures for their kids, or maybe just to meet their families’ needs.

These are tough times. We know all too well that too many Americans are hurting today. And these hardships have reopened our longstanding national debate over what it means to be an exceptional nation. Have those periods of unprecedented prosperity in America’s past been the product of our Founding principles?

Or, as some would argue, have we made it this far only in spite of our outdated values? Are we still an exceptional nation? Should we even seek to be unique? Or should we become more like the rest of the world – more bureaucratic, less hopeful, and less free?

The American Idea is not tried in times of prosperity. Instead, it is tested when times are tough: when the pie is shrinking, when businesses are closing, and when workers are losing their jobs.

Those are the times when America’s commitment to equality of opportunity is called into question. That’s when the temptation to exploit fear and envy returns – when many in Washington use the politics of division to evade responsibility for their failures and to advance their own narrow political interests.

To my great disappointment, it appears that the politics of division are making a big comeback. Many Americans share my disappointment – especially those who were filled with great hope a few years ago, when then-Senator Obama announced his candidacy in Springfield, Illinois.

Do you remember what he said? He said that what’s stopped us from meeting our nation’s greatest challenges is “the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics – the ease with which we’re distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points instead of rolling up our sleeves and building a working consensus to tackle big problems.”

I couldn’t agree more.

And yet, nearly three years into his presidency, look at where we are now: Petty and trivial? Just last week, the President told a crowd in North Carolina that Republicans are in favor of “dirtier air, dirtier water, and less people with health insurance.” Can you think of a pettier way to describe sincere disagreements between the two parties on regulation and health care? Chronic avoidance of tough decisions? The President still has not put forward a credible plan to tackle the threat of ever-rising spending and debt, and it’s been over 900 days since his party passed a budget in the Senate.

A preference for scoring cheap political points instead of consensus-building? This is the same President who is currently campaigning against a do-nothing Congress, when in fact, the House of Representatives has passed over a dozen bills to help get the economy moving and deal with the debt, only to see the President’s party kill those bills in the do-nothing Senate.

Look, we put our cards on the table. Earlier this year, the House of Representatives advanced a far-reaching plan filled with common-sense reforms aimed at putting the budget on the path to balance and the economy on the path to prosperity.

But instead of working together where we agree, the President has opted for divisive rhetoric and the broken politics of the past. He is going from town to town, impugning the motives of Republicans, setting up straw men and scapegoats, and engaging in intellectually lazy arguments, as he tries to build support for punitive tax hikes on job creators.

The tax increases proposed by Senate Democrats and endorsed by the President – when combined with the new taxes in the health-care law, and the President’s other tax preferences – would push the top federal tax rate to roughly 50 percent in just 14 months, while doing nothing to promote job creation.
This tax increase on so-called “millionaires and billionaires” would actually constitute a huge tax hike on the nation’s most successful small businesses. According to the Tax Foundation, the surtax would hit roughly 35 percent of small-business income.

As P.J. O’Rourke put it, “The good news is that, according to the Obama administration, the rich will pay for everything. The bad news is that, according to the Obama administration, you’re rich.”

Actually, the news is even worse. As a practical matter, when you try to chase ever-higher spending with ever-higher tax increases, you eventually run into a brick wall of math.

The President has been talking a lot about math lately. He’s been saying that “If we’re not willing to ask those who’ve done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit… the math says… we’ve got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor.”

This is really a stunning assertion from the President. When you look at the actual math, you quickly realize that the way out of this mess is to combine economic growth with reasonable, responsible spending restraint. Yet neither of these things factors into the President’s zero-sum logic.

According to the President’s logic, we should give up on trying to reform our tax code to grow the economy and get more revenue that way. Instead, these goals are taking a backseat to the President’s misguided understanding of fairness.
Remember that 2008 debate, when ABC’s Charlie Gibson pointed out that raising the capital gains tax rate actually tends to drive revenues down? Obama replied: “Well, Charlie, what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness” That’s the kind of logic we are unfortunately seeing today.

Also according to the President’s logic, spending restraint is incompatible with a strong, well-functioning safety net. The belief that recipients of government aid are better off the more we spend on them is remarkably persistent. No matter how many times this central tenet of liberalism gets debunked, like Brett Favre, it just keeps coming back.

The President has wrongly framed Republican efforts to get government spending under control as hard-hearted attacks on the poor.

In reality, spending on programs for seniors and for lower-income families continues to grow every year under the House-passed budget – it just grows at a sustainable rate. We direct tax dollars where they’re needed most, and stop spending money we don’t have on boondoggles we don’t need.

The President’s political math is a muddled mix of false accusations and false choices. The actual math is apolitical, and it’s clear: By the time my kids are my age, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that the size of government will be double what it is today.

Government health care programs alone will have grown to consume 45 percent of federal spending. The primary driver of this increase is runaway inflation in health care costs, which are rising at 2 to 3 times the rate of GDP.

It’s impossible to keep funding health care expenditures at this rate. Even President Obama has said, “If you look at the numbers, Medicare in particular will run out of money, and we will not be able to sustain that program no matter how much taxes go up.”

So the real debate is about how best to control these unsustainable costs. And if I could sum up that disagreement in a couple of sentences, I would say this: Our plan is to empower patients. Their plan is to empower bureaucrats.
The Republican plan gives individuals the power to put market pressure on providers and make them compete.

The President’s plan is to give 15 unelected bureaucrats in Washington the power to cut Medicare in ways that, according to Medicare’s own chief actuary, would simply drive providers out of business. This would result in harsh disruptions and denied care for seniors.

Pain like this simply can’t be sustained. So when it comes to out-of-control spending on entitlements, the President’s math simply doesn’t add up.
And his math is no better on the tax side. Let’s say we took all the income from those the President calls “rich” – those making $250,000 or more. A 100 percent tax rate on their total annual income would only fund the government for six months. Just six months!

What about some of the other tax hikes the President likes to talk about? Under the President’s policies, deficits are set to rise by a whopping $9.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

What about some of the other tax hikes the President likes to talk about? Under the President’s policies, deficits are set to rise by a whopping $9.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

Letting the top two tax rates expire would equal roughly 8 percent of that planned deficit increase.

Eliminating tax subsidies for oil and gas companies would only equal 0.5 percent of the President’s planned deficits.

And what about corporate jet owners? That provision would reduce those deficits by just 0.03 percent.

President Reagan was absolutely right. Instead of policies that make it harder for Americans to rise, let’s lower the hurdles to upward mobility.

That’s what the American Idea is all about. You know, in the midst of all the joys and sorrows of our everyday lives, I think we sometimes forget why America was considered such an exceptional nation at its Founding, and why it remains so.
To me, the results of the Founders’ exceptional vision can be summed up in a single sentence: Throughout human history, the American Idea has done more to help the poor than any other economic system ever designed.

Americans, guided by our ideals, have sacrificed everything to combat tyranny and brutal dictators; we’ve expanded opportunity, opened markets, and inspired others to resist oppression; we’ve exported innovation and imagination; and we’ve welcomed immigrants seeking a fresh start.

Here in America – unlike most places on earth – all citizens have the right to rise.

End Paul Ryan Transcript

If the video does not work, view it here.


Don Imus and Paul Ryan (video)

Thanks to Future of Capitalism 

  • Man he’s brilliant

    • David, I agree. He hits all the points. Where is Boehner? Haven’t seen him in ages. He should take Ryan’s script and make it his own.

  • Boehner.. lol.. yeah your right.
    Just got a great commission to do a 1/2 lifesize of an Indian fighter from the 1720s..thirty years before the Last of the Mohicans time frame.. I may be traveling north east to do research.. I’ll keep you informed.. could be fun