Mit Romney’s Choice of Paul Ryan Steers Debate on Bigger Issues

Big policy issues are taking center stage as Mitt Romney selects Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate on the Republican ticket.  In an article in The Wall Street Journal,  Janet Hook and Damian Paletta focus on the conflicting stands of the Romney and Obama tickets on Medicare, the budget, size of government and business.  Robert Reischauer, former congressional Budget Office Director said, “With Obama, you have the gradualist incremental approach: Preserve what we have that’s good, modify it to reflect the constraints and needs of the 21st century,” he said. “On the other side, Romney and Ryan [offer] a more radical transformation of the role of government and the nature of our large public policies.”

Mitt Romney’s choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, an uncommonly assertive spokesman for free markets and small government, to be his running mate on the Republican ticket has highlighted the differences between them and President Barack Obama—and nowhere is the clash more apparent than on the subject of Medicare.

The selection of Mr. Ryan offers “the chance to make the election about big things, not small things,” said Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, a Republican and former senator on whose staff Mr. Ryan once worked.

The GOP ticket is defending its ideas robustly. “What Paul Ryan and I have talked about is saving Medicare, is providing people greater choice in Medicare, making sure it’s there for current seniors,” Mr. Romney said Sunday in an interview aired on CBS’ 60 Minutes. “No changes, by the way, for current seniors, or those nearing retirement. But looking for young people down the road and saying, ‘We’re going to give you a bigger choice.’ ”

Medicare is projected to grow in cost every year going forward. Mr. Obama says he would use the power of government to reduce provider payments and to give them incentives to provide care more cheaply in a government-run program.

Mr. Ryan, in a plan Mr. Romney has embraced in principle, would instead give seniors a government subsidy to choose among competing insurance carriers. The plan would affect Americans younger than 55, as they would be the ones faced with the choice.

Both parties say they welcome the prospect of the 2012 election becoming a referendum on contrasting approaches to the nation’s problems.

“More than any other election, this is a choice about two different visions for the country, for two different directions of where America should go,” Mr. Obama told voters Sunday in Chicago.

Mr. Romney has developed a plan to partially privatize Medicare that mirrors Mr. Ryan’s in most, but not all, respects. …

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