Paul Davis Ryan (born January 29, 1970) is an American politician and since 1999, the U.S. Representative for Wisconsin's 1st congressional district. On August 11, 2012, Mitt Romney announced Ryan as his running mate, making Ryan the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party for Vice President of the United States in the 2012 election.
Under Ryan’s initial version, American workers would be able to invest about half of their payroll taxes, which fund Social Security, in private accounts. ... It simply took money from one part of the budget and spent it on private accounts, at a cost of two trillion dollars in transition expenses... Ryan recommended ending Medicare, the government health-insurance program for retirees, and replacing it with a system of direct payments to seniors, who could then buy private insurance. (The change would not affect current beneficiaries or the next decade of new ones.) He proposed ending Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor, and replacing it with a lump sum for states to use as they saw fit. Ryan also called for an end to the special tax break given to employers who provide insurance; instead, that money would pay for twenty-five-hundred-dollar credits for uninsured taxpayers to buy their own plans. As for Social Security, Ryan modestly scaled back his original proposal by reducing the amount invested in private accounts, from one-half to one-third of payroll taxes.
George Stephanopoulos: It is in the campaign right now, Governor Romney continued that campaign for repeal right after the decision and I’m going to show a bit of that. You know several independent fact-checkers have taken a look at that claim – the $500 billion in Medicare cuts – and said it’s misleading. And in fact, by that accounting, your own budget, which Governor Romney has endorsed, would also have $500 billion in Medicare cuts.
Congressman Ryan: Well, our budget keeps that money for Medicare to extend its solvency. What Obamacare does is it takes that money from Medicare to spend on Obamacare. I mean I’ve heard for years how much people don’t like the idea that we’re raiding Social Security to pay for other government programs; what Obamacare does for the first time in history is it raids Medicare to pay for Obamacare. In addition, it puts this new board of 15 people in charge of putting price controls on Medicare which we think will end up rationing Medicare in ways that will deny care to seniors. Not only do we think this law is bad for Medicare, it’s bad for healthcare, it’s terrible for the economy and will move us closer to a debt crisis.
"The United States tax code is a mess. We've got to get out of the game of Washington picking winners and losers through the tax code. These special interest loopholes end up rewarding a few while raising taxes on everyone else. We want to remove these barriers of upward mobility and opportunity to have a true entrepreneurial form of capitalism, not crony capitalism."
“A ruling system of big business, big government and big-government unions does violence to the notion of entrepreneurial capitalism,” Ryan told me. “Whether it’s TARP, Fannie or Freddie, cap-and-trade, or Obamacare, this must be stopped.” Ryan stands against what he calls “the moral endgame to equalize outcomes.” He says: “No consolidation of power into a permanent political class. Equality of opportunity, not result.”
“Just look at what happened across the Atlantic,” Ryan told me in a year-end interview. “We have to avoid that. We must reclaim our founding principles of economic freedom and free markets. We must preserve the American Idea.”... He believes “there is a shift to the right” in the country, “toward free-market approval.” He sees evidence that “We are winning this debate.” He says, “The country will not accept a permanent class of technocrats that will diminish freedom, enhance crony capitalism and allow the economy to enter some sort of managed decline.” Ryan talks about “reclaiming founding principles,” and about “fighting paternalistic, arrogant, and condescending government elites who want to equalize outcomes, create new entitlement rights and promote less self-government by the citizenry.”
Ryan’s Social Security privatization proposal, the Social Security Personal Savings Guarantee and Prosperity Act of 2005... would have allowed workers to funnel an average of 6.4 percent of their 12.4 percent payroll-tax contribution to a private account. Lower-income workers would be able to divert more of their wages, as the plan allows 10 percent of income up to $10,000 and 5 percent of income up to the payroll tax cap to be diverted. By default, the private account would be invested in a portfolio set by the Social Security Administration of 65 percent stocks and 35 percent bonds. Workers could choose an 80/20 stock-bond portfolio, or a 50-50 portfolio, but would not be able to pick individual stocks or bonds. At retirement, all participants in the plan would be required to buy an annuity.
Ryan was just 28 when he entered Congress in 1999. The budget was balanced. The stock market was booming. But he was fixated on the impossible arithmetic of the U.S.'s long-term fiscal commitments: health care inflation x (more retirees + longer life spans) = 1 big problem.
In 1997, Mark Neumann, the congressman from Ryan’s district in Wisconsin, who was running for the Senate, called Ryan, who was just twenty-seven, and suggested that he run for the House seat. Neumann knew that the popular Ryan name couldn’t hurt. Ryan went back to Wisconsin, worked briefly for the family business as a “marketing consultant”—a bit of résumé padding that gave him his only private-sector experience—and decided to run. One ad showed him walking through a Janesville cemetery among the gravestones of his ancestors. He won the election, becoming the second-youngest member of the House, and he has been reëlected easily ever since.
In 1991, Hart recommended Ryan for an internship in the office of Senator Bob Kasten, a Wisconsin Republican. Two years later, Ryan went to work as a speechwriter and policy analyst for Jack Kemp, who led Empower America, an organization then in the vanguard of making policy for supply-side conservatives who were pushing Republicans rightward in their views on taxes and the size of government. “Jack Kemp is what sucked me into public policy, public service, and politics,” Ryan said. “He called it the battle of ideas, and I just really got into it.”
His father’s death also provoked the kind of existential soul-searching that most kids don’t undertake until college. “I was, like, ‘What is the meaning?’ ” he said. “I just did lots of reading, lots of introspection. I read everything I could get my hands on.” Like many conservatives, he claims to have been profoundly affected by Ayn Rand. After reading “Atlas Shrugged,” he told me, “I said, ‘Wow, I’ve got to check out this economics thing.’ What I liked about her novels was their devastating indictment of the fatal conceit of socialism, of too much government.” He dived into Friedrich Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Milton Friedman.
But the summer of 1986 brought a life-changing event. One night in August, he came home from work well past midnight, and he slept late the following morning. His mother was in Colorado visiting his sister, and his brother, who had a summer job with the Janesville parks department, had left early. Paul answered a frantic phone call from his father’s secretary. “Your dad’s got clients in here,” she said. “Where is he?” Paul walked into his parents’ bedroom and thought his father was sleeping. “I went to wake him up,” he told me, “and he was dead.”
“It was just a big punch in the gut,” Ryan said. “I concluded I’ve got to either sink or swim in life.” His mother went back to school, in Madison, and studied interior design; his grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, moved into their home, and Ryan helped care for her. “I grew up really fast,” he said.
“I grew up on the block I now live on,” Ryan told me recently. We were sitting in his new, more spacious Capitol Hill office, one of the spoils of being in the majority after the 2010 elections. “My aunt and uncle live across the street from me,” he said. “My cousin is next door, my brother is a block away.” Ryan’s line of the family strayed from the construction business, which is now run by his cousin Adam. His grandfather and father became lawyers instead.
Ryan's great-grandfather Patrick started a railroad-grading business with a team of mules in 1884. Today, Ryan Inc. Central is one of the largest earthmoving firms in the country, building everything from home sites to golf courses to landfills to wetlands. Young Paul worked briefly for the family firm in the marketing department, but it was clear from an early age that his real interest was political economics. Steeped in the fiscal conservatism common to business owners, he took his Miami of Ohio economics and political-science degree and moved to Washington.
Paul is a graduate of Joseph A. Craig High School in Janesville and earned a degree in economics and political science from Miami University in Ohio.
Paul and his wife Janna live in Janesville with their children, daughter Liza and sons Charlie and Sam. The youngest of four children, Paul is the son of Paul Sr. (deceased) and Betty Ryan. He is a member of St. John Vianney’s Parish.
Paul Davis Ryan was born on January 29, 1970 in Janesville, Wisconsin. Father Paul Ryan Sr. worked as an attorney, and mother Betty Ryan was a stay-at-home mom. Ryan has one sister, Janet, and two brothers, Tobin and Stan.
Ryan has been married to Janna (Little) Ryan since December 2000, and they currently live in Janesville with their three children: a daughter, Liza, and sons Sam and Charlie.