When asked by a student about the Medicare reform proposed in the Path to Prosperity budget and the June 1 meeting between the House Republican leadership and President Obama, U.S. Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) denied that he would turn Medicare into a voucher system, asserting that while a voucher system would leave seniors with no guidance in choosing health plans, his “premium support” system would offer a subsidy to seniors to choose from a selection of approved health plans.
Ryan also noted that as people live longer, the demographic assumptions underlying pay-as-you-go programs such as Medicare and Social Security break down and the programs fail. Ryan argued that by 2025, entitlement programs and debt interest alone would claim all federal revenues. Ryan asserted that the Path to Prosperity, the budget adopted by House Republicans and proposed by the Congressman, would restore government spending to its historical average as a percentage of GDP. He also claimed that by passing a budget, only the House was serious about confronting the growing debt burden. The Senate has not passed a budget in two years.
At the Eagle Forum Collegians Summit at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, DC, Congressman Ryan spoke on the effect that the increasing national debt will have on college-age Americans as they grow up and find employment.
Congressman Ryan asserted that the present course of the government consuming so much of the national assets each year at young people’s expense was not typical in America. Ryan said the government’s habit of borrowing money to spend on things for which it should not is the “problem of the times.” He called upon his own generation to confront the problem as prior generations of Americans had confronted their own problems, to ensure that future generations could be better off.
Another student asked a question about the changing role of the dollar and the effects of the dollar losing world reserve status. The Congressman responded that losing reserve status would expose the United States to exchange-rate risks and higher borrowing costs and herald “managed decline and stagnation.” Ryan said that inflation is the “dirtiest trick a government can play on its people” and noted that those on fixed incomes such as pensioners suffer most from inflation. Congressman Ryan was not asked about any future plans.