NEW YORK (
) -- Hold your breath America. Mitt Romney has
picked a running mate
who could make him president.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) complements Romney's private sector expertise wonderfully. He has a clear and concise plan to fix the federal budget, and as I count electoral votes, he could put the former Massachusetts governor over the top in what will ultimately be a tight contest.
The U.S. economy isn't growing enough and creating enough jobs, because the private sector is despondent. Demand is weak, President Obama won't let America play to its strengths and compete globally, and the public sector is bloated -- the federal government has runaway deficits exceeding $1 trillion annually.
But Romney promises to open development of U.S. energy resources, without harm to the environment, and level the playing field on trade with mercantilists like China. Slashing oil imports and boosting U.S. exports in Asia would increase GDP by $500 billion, create 5 million jobs and get the economy growing at a 4% to 5% annual pace.
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Ryan is the principal architect of GOP proposals to fix federal finances and restore some sanity to state budgets by harnessing runaway health care costs.
By offering retiring Americans a choice between traditional Medicare and a subsidy to purchase private insurance, he would put Health and Human Services on the dime to cut costs without reducing benefits, and get U.S. health care performance more in line with competitors like Germany and Japan.
Governors are crying for more control on how they spend Medicaid dollars, because federal mandates are stretching state and local budgets to the breaking point. Ryan would send the states block grants and discretion to shape more effective programs.
That would eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy in Washington, improve services to the poor and children, and unshackle America's governors, who are a heck of a lot more creative than the bureaucrats at HHS.
Romney's choice reminds me of another bold move: John Kennedy's selection of Lyndon Johnson as his running mate. Then Sen. Johnson was majority leader in the Senate and added substance to Kennedy's campaign. More importantly, just as Lyndon Johnson delivered Texas, Ryan's selection puts Wisconsin in play, and that could make all the difference.