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GOP's Paul Ryan: Social Security Cuts & Privatization; Ending Medicare’s Promise Still Part of GOP Plan

October 4, 2010

In an interview with the National Review, Republican Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin – the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee and self-described “Young Gun” – reiterated the GOP’s commitment to privatizing Social Security if they gain control of Congress despite its omission from the Republican ‘Pledge to America’:

…Ryan’s proposal — which rigorously tackles federal entitlements, taxes, and spending — was left out of the House GOP’s “Pledge to America.” The omission, he says, does not signal a retreat by him or his party…

Should Republicans win the House, Ryan would likely ascend to the chairmanship of the Budget Committee, a powerful post. “We obviously are going to have to take on entitlement reform.”

The “Roadmap for America’s Future,” Ryan’s alternative budget proposal which he has submitted two years in a row, lays out the GOP’s ideas for “entitlement reform” – privatizing and cutting Social Security and turning Medicare into a voucher system where seniors would be left to fend for themselves in the private insurance market with vouchers that are worth less and less. From the Washington Post:

Some GOP lawmakers also have endorsed Ryan’s alternative budget plan, which would wipe out deficits in part by privatizing Social Security and replacing traditional Medicare benefits with an insurance voucher for people age 55 and older.

The Congressional Budget Office:

Traditional retirement benefits would be reduced below those scheduled under current law for many workers who are age 55 or younger in 2011…

In the National Review interview, Ryan also identified more support among Republican leaders for Social Security privatization:

…Without hesitation, Ryan tells us that Rep. John Boehner, the House GOP leader, understands the economic stakes. “I think [Boehner] grasps where America is and what we’re confronting,” Ryan says. “John Boehner never once tried to talk me out of pushing these ideas and reforms. There has never been a discouraging comment or word from him on pushing the fold on big ideas.”…

Beyond Boehner, Ryan says that his GOP colleagues on the Budget Committee are stalwart in their commitment to entitlement reform.

Americans rejected the Bush-Republican effort to privatize and cut Social Security in 2005. Imagine if those efforts had succeeded, and when seniors saw trillions of dollars of their own investments wiped out in the Bush financial meltdown on Wall Street, they would have also taken sharp losses in the monthly Social Security benefits. Democrats are committed to preserving this bedrock promise – and extended the solvency of Medicare by a dozen years this year with health reform while improving benefits for seniors—including more affordable prescription drugs and free preventive care.