Paul Ryan, Republican representative from Wisconsin, gave a speech at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) this week. Here are some excerpts.
Let’s work together to build a great coalition, based on the principles and beliefs that make America great.
Let’s lead this coalition by applying our timeless principles to the challenges of today, with reforms that get our economy into high gear, repair our safety net, and strengthen our health and retirement security programs.
the choice we face is a referendum of sorts – but the referendum is on the principles that make up the American Idea: free enterprise and economic liberty; limited government and spending restraint; traditional family and community values; and a strong national defense.
And how is this accomplished? Ryan explains.
Americans believe in a few simple principles. We believe in a Constitution of limited powers. Washington has broad authority to establish the conditions of freedom and secure individual rights, but not to intrude on those activities best left to the states and the people.
We believe that the principal responsibility of the federal government is to guarantee the safety and security of its citizens.
The federal government should safeguard free enterprise, not rig the rules in favor of the politically connected. Fraud should be punished and fair play rewarded, so that every American can choose his or her own vocation and earn the rewards of success.
Health and retirement programs should guarantee real security, not empty promises.
Redistributive policies have failed the poor for decades, so let’s replace these failures with an economy that grows and a safety net that works for a new century.
Let’s have real, innovative reforms such as school choice and job training that gives skills and hope to the poor to reach higher rungs on the ladder of opportunity.
From where we are today, it will take a lot of work to restore our nation to these principles. And, of course, neither the path nor the end will be perfect. Nevertheless, for some time these have not been our goals. Let's try to elect politicians who do aim at such principles.