In tapping United States Congressman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate, Mitt Romney has reset the issue of the economy and fiscal responsibility and placed it squarely in the middle of the national debate. It is a reset we desperately need for the sake of the U.S. Hispanic community.

First, this pick says much about the priority that Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, has decided to set in his campaign and the focus that he would have as incoming President. It is true that wonkish, complicated, and hard to decipher reforms concerning things such as entitlement programs, defense spending, and healthcare reforms have not typically been sexy campaign topics. Yet, they are necessary to put our fiscal house back in order. The fact is that there are none more important to address at this point in our nation’s history.

A search of Ryan’s past statements, interviews and legislative proposals provide us a preview of what is to come: a focus on economic freedom, equal opportunity, self-determination and a limited government approach that were once a cornerstone of the American experience. We at The LIBRE Initiative could not be more pleased than to have an expanded discussion on these very topics.

Ryan’s narrative is simple, laser-focused and to the point. It speaks to increasing prosperity, economic opportunity, and bringing fiscal responsibility back to Washington. He speaks with a severity in his voice and his words weigh heavy with resolve and purpose. He does not have the rhetorical panache of say, President Barak Obama, but you get a clear sense he deeply believes in what he says. His ideas are new, bold, far-sighted, and much needed.

In Washington, Rep. Ryan has shown singular courage in advancing serious changes to entitlement reform and has paid a heavy price from the blowback coming from those who deliberately ignore the fiscal cliff these same entitlement program obligations are driving us towards.

Ryan’s objective will be to underscore that while President Obama inherited a bad economy, he failed to fix it. More to the point, Ryan will remind voters that it was not for lack of effort on behalf of the President but a failure of flawed policies that bet big on government to cure our economic ills. His now famous repartee with President Obama on his Affordable Health Care Act roundtable gave Americans a preview of things to come - and it’s going to be glorious.

LIBRE looks forward to discussing these very topics at our policy luncheon on Thursday afternoon, August 30, at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. This event will feature a diverse panel of distinguished Hispanics coming together to hold an honest and real discussion on how government policies can help generate real prosperity, real jobs, and real growth during this crucial time in our nation’s history but also how government policies work to generate impoverishment, a crushing burden of debt for future generations, and recessionary conditions.

When considering that the unemployment rate for Latinos averaged 11.5 percent in 2011, compared to 7.9 percent for whites – and current 2012 numbers foretell similar results – there is no arguing government policies dealing with taxation, regulation and sustainability of entitlements must be addressed with needed urgency. Additionally, we are on track to have a deficit surpassing $1 trillion for the fourth year in a row, and the federal debt – which has grown 50% since the beginning of 2009 - is now approaching $16 trillion. This amount is larger than the United States’ entire economy.

Ultimately, regardless of whom you support, we should all welcome Congressman Ryan’s injection to the campaign at his time. He has shown himself to be the most capable and most willing elected official to drive a discussion on our nation’s highest priority issue: the future of our economic sustainability.

This isn’t a Republican problem or a Democrat problem. This is an American problem. Whether the Romney-Ryan ticket will be ultimately successful in November remains to be seen but one thing is for certain: every American will be better informed about the monumental fiscal crisis we find ourselves in. It's the kind of debate Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas would be proud of.

Daniel Garza is president and chairman of The LIBRE Institute. You can see here a video of the author explaining the High School Diploma Initiative here.

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