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Congressman Paul Ryan on immigration, Obamacare and the economy

Congressman Paul Ryan believes he has remedies for immigration, healthcare and the economy. In a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo Finance, the potential presidential candidate and author of the new book, “The Way Forward: Renewing the American Idea,” tells Bianna Golodryga that he has not yet decided whether he’s running for president in 2016, but his strong opinions on a number of domestic and international policies suggest otherwise.

Ryan's remedy for immigration

One of the most contentious issues – and an issue on which Congressman Ryan differs somewhat from some of his Republican colleagues - is immigration. This week, there has been renewed speculation that President Obama could bring immigration back to the fore and possibly take some action in the form of executive orders while Congress is out of town.

Congressman Ryan, meanwhile, says he has a remedy for immigration in this country. “First, you have to actually secure the border; you actually have to have what we call interior enforcement, which is a verification system on the job to make sure that people are lawfully present in this country, are who they say they are; you have to have a visa-tracking system,” he says. “But I also say we have to fix legal immigration so that it works for our economy because we have to recognize that in the future, with baby-boomers retiring, we will have areas of labor shortages that need to be addressed and if they’re not addressed, we will have a shrinking economy; we will not hit our potential.”

In the past, Ryan has supported bipartisan legislation that many of the most conservative Republicans rejected, including a 2006 bill put forward by Congressman Luis Gutierrez – a Democrat – which included citizenship rights.

"Obamacare will collapse"

Another highly contentious, partisan issue Ryan addresses in the video above is healthcare. Recent reports show that Medicare spending growth has slowed. The Congressional Budget Office said the financial crisis and the turmoil in the economy were not the reason for the slowdown, although the CBO was not able to identify specific factors that did cause the slowdown.

Congressman Ryan believes the slowing growth in Medicare spending is due to a “temporary aberration” that will not change the eventual fate of Obamacare.

“I do believe that you’re seeing artificial price controls hold down costs for now, but what actuaries tell us is: a lot of businesses who are in the healthcare providing business will go bankrupt and then we’ll have fewer providers,” he says. “So, I think the healthcare law is going to collapse under its own weight.”

Ryan advocates what he calls a “patient-centered” system that offers more freedom of choice in healthcare than Obamacare.

Headed in the wrong direction

Ryan says that, overall, he’s not happy with the direction of the country or the economy. He says the U.S. economy is not reaching its full potential and that’s for one clear reason.

“The primary reason our economy is not reaching its potential is because of bad government policies,” said Ryan. “We get economic policy right, we can grow our economy much faster; we can bring people from poverty into the middle class; we can actually increase take-home pay; we can have a healthy economy that produces more opportunity and better jobs, if we get our policies right, which we are not doing."

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