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The 5 Ryan Policies America Is Going To Spend The Next 3 Months Fighting About

Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity" budget an an earlier "Roadmap" detail his vision for a scaled down government, with lower taxes, less regulation, and less support for the poor. These are the defining fights of the months to come.

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1. Privatize Medicare

The most controversial element of the "Path to Prosperity" would convert the federal program for the elderly from a system of payments to doctors into a voucher for patients to spend as they see fit. The goal: To make the system both cheaper and more efficient. It's a dramatic shift in the structure of the safety net, though it wouldn't affect people currently older than 55.

2. Cut Taxes


Ryan's plan would cut the top tax rate from 35% to 25% on income over $388,350, and levy only one other rate, 10%. A windfall for people with high incomes, Ryan argues it would free a huge new sum of cash to invest in the American economy.

3. Cut Poverty Programs

Over the next 10 years, Ryan would cut federal spending on food stamps by $133.5 billion, and Medicaid by $810 billion. The federal government would turn over the administration of the scaled-down programs to the states, which would receive the money in the form of block grants.

4. Cap Spending on Most Domestic Programs

The "Path to Prosperity" would limit federal discretionary spending to $1.028 trillion for 2013, which is billions below the current level. This means less money being put towards education, transportation, agriculture, and Veterans benefits, among other programs, in an effort to reduce the deficit.

5. Implement Social Security Vouchers

Carlos Osorio / AP

Though the "Path to Prosperity" omits this policy issue, Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" promises to convert the current Social Security program to a voucher system in which Americans would invest their retirement income, rather than receiving a guaranteed — but fixed — monthly payment.