As chairman of the House Budget Committee, the rising-star Congressman from Wisconsin set the modern GOP's fiscal agenda. His is a vision of a dramatically smaller government, achieved mainly through cuts to Medicare and Medicaid as well as via lower taxes for individuals and business. When Paul Ryan, 42, became Mitt Romney's running mate, his controversial plan which liberals denounce as impractical and cruel became the Romney campaign's de facto platform, despite Romney's efforts to distance himself from its more controversial elements. Though his ticket was defeated, Ryan is far from politically dead. He'll keep his chairmanship in the House, wielding major influence over Obama's prospects for passing new budgets and economic policies. And many Republicans hope to see Ryan on the presidential campaign trail again in 2016 this time at the top of the party's ticket.