Ryan Says Debt Crisis Is ‘Predictable’

Posted April 28, 2010 at 9:55am

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) thinks the country’s debt is the “most predictable” economic crisis this country has ever faced and said reforming social programs, not raising taxes, is the way to solve it.

“This is, I say, the most predictable crisis we’ve ever had hitting our economy,” Ryan said. “What’s crazy about this is we have yet to muster the political will to prevent this crisis from occurring.”

Ryan’s comments came Wednesday during a panel discussion at the fiscal summit, an event geared toward outlining the economic problem and thinking up workable solutions.

Though he said there is some wasteful defense spending that could be cut, he said it’s mostly social programs like Social Security and Medicare that need reform.

“The social insurance strategies of the 20th century are not sustainable in the 21st century,” he said. “Most people believe we have to have a safety net … but it can’t be a safety net that sucks [in] everyone in society.”

The Congressman, a member of President Barack Obama’s fiscal commission, which met for the first time Tuesday, singled out the new health care law as a particularly problematic “entitlement program.”

“I have no doubt in my mind that it’s going to exacerbate our problems,” he said, claiming that the only way to achieve the deficit reduction the Obama administration intends is to “ration care.”

But where the co-chairmen of the fiscal commission called for tax increases and spending cuts, Ryan insisted that taxes are not the solution.

“What’s behind this recession and these deficits is this huge massive structural problem, an entitlement crisis,” Ryan said. “Excessive spending with more borrowing that doesn’t do a lot to grow the economy, that’s not good deficits.”

“When you take pressure off the need to reduce spending, you never reduce spending,” he added. “We need to keep the focus on the problem, and in my opinion the problem is on spending, not revenue.”

The ideal solution, he said, would be to reform the social programs and then institute budget caps and a “rigid enforcement regime.”

There would still be political disputes, though, he added.

“The big difference in philosophy that we have is what size of government are we going to have,” he said. “Where we’re going to disagree is the level of taxation we’re going to have in this country.”