HENRY: Paul Ryan’s contract with America’s youth

Reforms hold promise for next generation

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Promotes private investment and stable economic policy that provides real market opportunities for everyone, creates real jobs, reduces poverty and maintains social stability so that future neighborhoods are safe and prosperous.

Maintains a clean and healthy environment, but balances that with policies that are prudent and sound from an economic perspective.

Restructures our health care systems so that they are based on sound market economics that can control costs and deliver quality care to all Americans.

Remakes entitlement programs so that they are affordable and sustainable, so that they take care of current retirees, and are also there when young Americans eventually retire.

Now enters Paul Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican chosen earlier this month by Mitt Romney to be his running mate, with the “radical” message that we need to control spending, balance our budget and, especially, control the skyrocketing costs of Medicare and Social Security if young Americans hope to have anything near their legitimate expectations for the future. Mr. Ryan’s ideas stop the generational warfare on several fronts. They slash wasteful government spending, restructure Medicare and Social Security so that they sustain the social contract with America’s elderly and will be there when young Americans retire, and restore the confidence of American business so that it can again create jobs and opportunity.

Mr. Ryan essentially has delivered a Contract with Young Americans. His message is that Americans must make some very hard decisions. In many ways, he is the true adult in this race and is fully prepared to be an excellent vice president.

President Obama carried young voters by 66 percent in 2008 because many said he was “cool.” Polls now suggest that Mr. Obama is below 60 percent with young voters and falling fast. Polls also suggest that young voters are evenly split on restructuring Social Security and Medicare.

Mr. Ryan has been portrayed as “rumpled,” “awkward” and a “nerd,” but what could be more heroic and exciting than a smart, young nerd, facing an avalanche of public ridicule, and still coming forward to save the American economy and create a safe and secure future for everyone?

Brett Henry is a 34-year-old entrepreneur, businessman and a commissioner of the Redondo Beach, Calif., Budget and Finance Commission.

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