Time to Begin the Debate

Representative Paul Ryan, R – Wisconsin, Chair of the House Budget Committee released a fiscal policy blueprint for the US on April 5. The blueprint called for a materially different vision of the size and role of the federal government than what has been in place for the past several decades. Importantly, the document projects a lowering of fiscal deficits versus the budget blueprint recently released by the Obama Administration (and which was a continuation of the Bush Administration fiscal direction). Importantly, the blueprint also is the first credible attempt to establish a dialogue about looming imbalances in the Medicare/Medicaid entitlement programs. While a rigorous and rancorous debate will be forthcoming – and noting that the outcome of this initiative is far from certain – the mere fact that a major Washington DC policy maker has finally acknowledged the elephant in the room, is a constructive start.

Robert M. Bilkie, Jr., CFA