When Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled his “Road Map for America’s Future,” I praised him. Not for the specific proposals he laid out, but for the guts he showed in putting them forth in the first place. Well, the House Budget Committee chairman is back bearing more fiscal tough love with “The Path to Prosperity.”

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Ryan relishes the fight he has unleashed with “The Path.” There will be ferocious debate over his proposals to block grant Medicaid and food stamps, to trim $6.2 trillion in federal spending over the next 10 years and to reform the tax code. And the pressure will mount on President Obama to issue a counter-proposal. Or at least be more vocal and forceful about what he would do instead. The president doesn’t lack ideas. His voice will be needed now more than ever.

But no matter what happens next or what you think of his proposals, Ryan pretty effectively made the case in the opening moments of the news conference unveiling “The Path” for why action on the nation’s red-ink-streaked deficit and debt trajectory must happen now:

Look, the facts are very, very clear. For too long, Washington has not been honest with the American people. Washington has been making empty promises to Americans from a government that is going broke. The nation’s fiscal trajectory is simply not sustainable. The debt is projected to grow to truly catastrophic levels in the near future, leading to an economic collapse and a diminished future. We don’t need clever politicians in Washington. We need real leadership and that is what we intend to provide.

Real leadership is needed in Washington. What’s needed more is the courage to make the really tough decisions that will cost support and lose votes but that will put America on more sound financial footing. Ryan has put down a clear, unambiguous marker. In a risk-averse, gun-shy town like Washington that’s pretty remarkable.