The Ripon Forum

Volume 45, No. 2

Spring 2011 Issue

In This Edition

By on October 20, 2014

One year before the last presidential election, THE RIPON FORUM ran an essay entitled,“Entitlement Reform: The 800 Pound Gorilla of the 2008 Campaign.” 

Authored by David John of the Heritage Foundation, the piece pointed out that none of the major candidates who were then running for the White House were talking about the considerable fiscal challenges facing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. 

Flash forward to this year, and the story is entirely different. Entitlement reform is shaping up to be one of the defining issues of the 2012 campaign. It’s being tackled in statehouses, debated in Congress, and just about every think tank in Washington has put out a white paper or report containing their own set of recommendations of what should be done. 

Into this debate we wade with our own perspectives on the issue. We lead off with an essay by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who discusses the problems facing Medicaid and the effort he is spearheading to save the program for future generations in his state. We move on from there to a broader piece by former Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary Tevi Troy, who looks at all the entitlement programs and lays out four common-sense steps to save all three. 

From there, we delve into the complexities of the Social Security Disability Insurance System with Cornell Professor Richard Burkhauser, who discusses the fact that the system is running out of money faster than expected because of government rules that effectively encourage people to remain out of work. Rounding out our coverage of the issue of entitlement reform is coverage of a policy conference The Ripon Society hosted on the topic in late May with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham and others. 

Indiana Senator Dan Coats writes about reform of a different kind in an essay about a bipartisan bill he has introduced to scrap the tax code and replace it with a system that’s flatter, fairer, and a better promoter of economic growth. And Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell shares his thoughts on an initiative he is leading in his commonwealth to increase the likelihood that incarcerated individuals will lead productive lives when their sentences are up and they are returned to society. 

With the eyes of the world focused on the uprisings in the Middle East, Lorne Craner of the International Republican Institute looks at where this unrest might spread next, while closer to home, North Carolina Congresswoman Sue Myrick takes on an issue you don’t often hear Republicans discuss – mental illness among young people, and the fact that while great strides have been taken in treating the disease, much more work needs to be done. 

Amid the talk that a “grand compromise” will be needed to arrive at an agreement to balance the budget and reduce our national debt, RIPON FORUM Editorial Board Chairman Bill Frenzel contends in an essay that compromise will be difficult given the intense level of scrutiny these days. His solution? Take a cue from the Founding Fathers and keep the public – and the press – out of the room during budget negotiations. 

In another essay from a member of the FORUM’S editorial board, grassroots expert Jim Murtha, puts forward another idea that could help Members of Congress reach agreement – namely, have them go on a “CODEL to America” to get a better sense of those on the other side of the aisle and the places they call home. 

And in our Ripon Profile for this edition, we focus on Wisconsin Freshman Senator Ron Johnson, who not only discusses why he ran for office in the first place, but also reveals his favorite Vince Lombardi quote. 

As with every edition of THE RIPON FORUM, we hope you enjoy this latest offering and encourage you to write us at with any thoughts or comments you may have. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Comments are closed.