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Paul Ryan offers solutions, a brighter future

Friday, August 24, 2012 
By: Matthew Brooks

Mitt Romney made a bold and serious move in his choice of a running mate. With the naming of Rep. Paul Ryan, Romney turned this election into a referendum not only on Pres. Obama's past three years, but on the future freedom, prosperity, and strength of our country.

President Obama will add more to our national debt in just 3 1/2 years than all the presidents before him have done since 1789. Obamacare, his signature piece of legislation, will raise taxes for most Americans, gut $700 billion out of Medicare permanently, raise the cost of health care, and reduce the quality and accessibility of care to millions of Americans, while limiting patient choices.

Romney and Ryan have a different vision of America, and a serious plan for taking us to a more prosperous and secure future. Paul Ryan's budget plan has been honed over the last couple of years and has earned the bipartisan support of Democrats like Sen. Ron Wyden and former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles (of the President's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform).

As expected in a campaign year, Democrats will try to demonize Ryan and scare Jewish voters, claiming that he will "end Medicare as we know it" or "push bubbe over a cliff." They'll accuse of him of wanting to shred the social safety net. Well, here are the facts you should know about Ryan's plan:

• No one over the age of 55 will be affected at all, in any way, by the changes to the Medicare system.

• Medicare's traditional fee-for-service plan will remain an option that anyone can choose - Medicare will continue to operate and no one will be forced out of it.

• The introduction of "premium support" - a way to increase competition and reduce costs while maintaining the same level of benefits - will not "privatize Medicare" but will add the option for today's younger workers to choose the same benefits of Medicare at lower costs.

Medicare "as we know it" today is unsustainable, impossible, and deadly to our children's economic future - it must be reformed, and soon.

Ryan is a protege of Jack Kemp, whose pro-growth, pro-trade ideas came from a profound belief that free markets benefit minorities and the poor by enlarging the economic pie. Ryan's efforts on the House Budget Committee (which he currently chairs) have been focused on reforming areas of ineffective or bloated government spending and making the tax system more coherent and less burdensome - all in order to grow the economy and create jobs. Jobs and growth are vital to ensuring that the U.S. avoids the kind of economic crisis facing much of Europe.

On Israel and foreign policy, Ryan has a solid record as a member of Congress and, more importantly, a solid understanding of America's role in the world, our alliance with Israel, and the terrible threat that Islamist extremism and terrorism pose for us and for the free world. In fact, Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren said of Ryan that he's "very supportive" of the Jewish state.

Democrats will try to have you believe that Ryan voted against sanctions measures on Iran. In fact, Rep. Ryan has supported every single Iran sanctions measure supported by AIPAC and co-sponsored many of them. The Democrats' bogus charge is based on Republicans having voted as a bloc to reject Democratic procedural motions - motions whose only actual effect would be to torpedo unrelated legislation. Those votes were never about Iran; they were all about partisan politics.

Like Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren, Israeli leaders who met Ryan when he visited Israel with a congressional delegation in 2005 have been impressed with his strong support for Israel. In public remarks, Ryan has made it clear that he rejects President Obama's policy of pressuring Israel and he opposes the Palestinians' unilateral statehood efforts.

The Romney-Ryan ticket is ready to tackle the big problems - our debt, our ever-growing federal spending, and the out-of-control entitlement programs that are on track to destroy our economy. Democratic scare-mongering, treating the Jewish community like unthinking children, is an unworthy and failed response to the serious and positive proposals that Romney and Ryan are putting in front of American voters.

Matthew Brooks is the executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition.

This article appeared in the Washington Jewish Week on August 22, 2012