The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea by Paul Ryan

Summary
  1. Paul Ryan lays out his background, beliefs, motivations and goals and how he plans to achieve them
Key Takeaways
  1. Main goals – economic growth, saving Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, fixing the broken healthcare system, setting up a prosperous America for the next generation which is secure and debt-free, make government smaller, simpler and smarter
  2. Need honest debate and cooperation between all parties in order to progress and achieve goals
  3. Believes America is currently on the wrong path as Liberal Progressives are taking center stage and Republicans are straying away from core principles
  4. Really believed in Romney when ran as his VP in 2012. Romney chose Paul because of his ability to work with Congress and Washington. Difficult but life changing experience
  5. Paul’s ancestors immigrated from Ireland and arrived in Janesville, WI in 1851. Has a huge family and his grandfather started an earth moving company which his cousin still runs today
  6. Growing up Paul’s family was apolitical but Reagan had a big influence on him as he was a man of the people
  7. Enjoys anything outdoors, especially hiking, fishing, hunting.
  8. Huge Packers and Cubs fan
  9. Grew up hiking with his mom in Colorado and his dad was an avid coin collector
  10. Compares the fall of Detroit due to large government and debt to what can happen in the US if things don’t change. Specifically calls out retirement benefits, high taxes, crime, fire, broken families, abandoned buildings)
  11. Society should come first with the government playing a supporting role. Government should be an enabler of other institutions and provide security from risks of modern life
  12. Paul found his father in bed dead at age 55. He was a sophomore in high school at the time. Father was an alcoholic and his mother worked very hard afterward to get her interior designer license. Paul received Social Security benefits at this time which he saved to help pay for college
  13. Turned away from God after finding his father but St. Thomas Aquinas, CS Lewis and the Gospel helped him rediscover his faith
  14. Worked with Empower America and Jack Kemp who turned out to be a great influence and mentor
    1. Conservatism allows the government to empower people whereas progressivism takes that responsibility and gives it to the government
  15. Paul was the legislative director for Sam Brownback where he learned a lot about electoral politics and religion
  16. Ran for Congress at 27 in 1998. Was elected and became the second youngest member in the House. Goal was to limit government and taxes and foster economic growth
  17. Asked everyone he met, “What do you know now that you wish you knew when you first started out?”
    1. Quickly learned not to be a generalist or spread himself too thin. Decided then to become an expert on the budget and fiscal policy
  18. Proposed “The Roadmap for America’s Future” in 2008 which got a lot of criticism but was important to him as he was voicing what he believed in
  19. Against Obamacare because believes people should be in charge of their own health and it fringes upon religious beliefs.
  20. “It is not enough to simply run against the other party. We must stand for something people can get excited about and rely upon.”
  21. The American Idea is our nation’s most unique and powerful contribution to the world. We must continue to foster the belief that if we work hard enough we can rise in the world. The American Idea is rooted in our commitment to freedom, equality and every person’s natural rights
  22. Progressives believe that our founding principles are only relevant in the moment and must be updated to deal with new circumstances
  23. “When any ideology deals in coercion instead of choice, in decrees to the collective instead of faith in a free people, the results are never good.”
  24. Republicans keep failing because have not been able to show how principles and ideas are relevant to people’s everyday lives. Also, Republicans tend to only go after populations which already agree with them instead of trying to convince detractors
  25. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid eat up 47% of today’s federal government’s budget
  26. Wants to reform healthcare by making it market based, patient-centered, repealing Obamacare, making prices/doctors/procedures more transparent
  27. In favor of lowering the corporate tax rate to 25% from 35% and exempt 95% of overseas profits
  28. Pro-immigration but must secure border and enforce current laws
  29. Wants to increase defense spending. The military budget should determine the defense strategy, not the other way around. National defense should be the federal government’s number 1 goal
  30. Our country’s tendency to volunteer and collaborate is an enduring strength and must be fostered. However, this trend is decreasing because government overreach undermines civil society and promotes individualism
  31. Should have a system which provides opportunity for work as work confers dignity. People can’t and don’t want to rely on charity
What I got out of it
  1. A clear understanding of Paul’s upbringing, background, beliefs, motivations and goals

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