RACINE, Wis. — If Americans aren’t prepared for the hard choices needed to control the national debt, most voters here must have missed the memo.
The local Republican congressman, Paul Ryan, campaigned for re-election by calling for reductions in the growth of Medicare and Social Security. He won with 68% of the vote.
Ryan’s landslide in a southeastern Wisconsin district formerly held by Democrats may be a testament to the national mood when it comes to red ink, budget watchdogs and local business groups say. As President Obama and Congress turn their attention from energizing the economy to balancing the budget, even sacred items such as retirement programs will be fair game — something Ryan tells his constituents regularly.
“They know that he talks straight,” says Michael Kobylka, president of the Racine Area Manufacturers and Commerce, the local business coalition. “It’s those third-rail issues that nobody has wanted to talk about that are part of the problem.”