Paul Ryan warns Carroll students of looming economic perils
Waukesha — America is facing a continuing a cycle of debt, slow growth and joblessness that is setting up young adults to make less money and live at a lower standard than their parents, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan warned students at Carroll University on Friday.
Lower tax rates for business, shore up the borders, divert a portion of each worker's payroll taxes into individual accounts for their retirement, and spend more on military readiness.
The Republican from Janesville and former vice presidential candidate addressed a wide range of issues at the university in response to student questions:
What's your position on the current military budget cuts?
What's your plan to fix the economy?
Give us a summary of how you would reform immigration.
Ryan emphasized the House Republicans' "path to prosperity" fiscal year 2014 budget, and highlighted what he called missteps under President Barack Obama's administration.
Ryan touted that he had voted 10 times since 2011 to increase pay raises for the military, and that the mini-budget deal he reached at the end of last year with U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) would restore some military spending that the Obama administration proposed cutting.
Ryan downplayed the fact that the deal reduces benefits for military retirees down the road, something that has drawn criticism from military groups.
To fix the economy, Ryan said, the tax rate for corporations should be lowered, the tax code should be simplified, and a portion of each worker's payroll tax should be set aside for them in an individual government account, where interest could compound over time and be available to them upon retirement.
"This money is your benefit, your property, that the government can't take away," he said.
Ryan said immigration should be reformed by first securing the borders, then allowing those here illegally to obtain probationary permits. After they pass a background check and pay a fine and any back taxes, they could get work permits, he said.
Samantha Staskiewicz, 21, graduated from Carroll in December with major in biology and a minor in Spanish. She is working part time as a patient assistant at Waukesha Memorial Hospital.
She said she is already seeing in her family that her parents will have to work longer — and she probably will, too — before they can retire.
"But I feel fortunate to have a job right now, when I know lots of people in other areas who can't get work," she said.
She said she generally agreed with Ryan but was skeptical of his immigration plan if it meant fully securing the country's borders before pursuing any other reforms.
"That might take 20 years or more," she said. "I think you need a multipronged approach."
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