The Ripon Forum

Volume 42, No. 1

Feb - March 2008

A Note From the Chairman Emeritus

By on November 17, 2015

“Fired up! Ready to go!”

For some Americans, those five words, a familiar refrain at Barack Obama rallies, have become synonymous with change this election season.

Other Americans want more meat on their rhetorical bone. They’re looking for people who are not just talking about change. They want people who are actually working to get it done.

The Ripon Forum spotlights two individuals who are doing just that. One is the Governor from South Carolina; the other the Congressman from Wisconsin’s 1st District. What Mark Sanford and Paul Ryan have in common is a belief that the tax system is broken, and that the tax laws as written are weighing down families and businesses struggling to stay afloat.

Both are pushing plans that would dramatically change the status quo. We focus on their plans in this edition. We also look at the broader issue of tax reform with some of the best known authorities on the subject. Scott Hodge offers advice on how to avoid some of the landmines that stand in the way of reforming the tax code, while Ernie Christian and Gary Robbins discuss why the goal of any reform effort should be to minimize the impact of government itself. And Bill Beach provides us with a reminder as to why keeping taxes low still matters.

We kick things off, though, with an individual who perhaps did more to change the tax debate in the United States than anyone else. More than 25 years ago, Jack Kemp convinced Ronald Reagan to make tax cuts the centerpiece of his economic platform for President. In the process, he also convinced a generation of Americans that reducing taxes was good policy and good politics. We talk to Secretary Kemp about the revolution he helped create and how its impact is still being felt today.

This edition of the Forum also features articles on health care and the budget, and a splendid essay on one of the statesmen of our Nation and the Republican Party – Theodore Roosevelt.

We hope you enjoy this edition and encourage you to write us at with any comments or questions you may have.

Bill Frenzel
Chairman Emeritus
Ripon Society

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