Paul Ryan Republican Smoke-and-Mirrors Hype?

By the Left Coast Rebel  

Gene Healy at

Some conservatives are considerably more exuberant, viewing Ryan as the budget-slashing paladin we've long been waiting for. As a curmudgeonly libertarian, it's my job to pour cold water on the flames of political passion. So -- hey girl: If you're over the moon about the Ryan pick, let me confess: I'm not so excited. And I just can't hide it.

Ryan was a loyal soldier throughout the free-spending George W. Bush years, voting for No Child Left Behind and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, among other debacles. At the dawn of the Tea Party, Ryan lent his support to the auto and bank bailouts. He voted for TARP and gave "one of the most hysterical speeches" demanding others do the same, as Michelle Malkin observed in 2009.

In a newly popular YouTube video, the articulate congressman lambastes Barack Obama for creating, in Obamacare, yet another entitlement we can't afford. It's an impressive performance, but in 2003, Ryan voted for Bush's prescription-drug entitlement, adding over $16 trillion in unfunded liabilities to the national tab.

Ryan's much-hyped budget plan would eliminate the deficit, "but not until 2040 or so," my colleague Mike Tanner explains, and his cuts in domestic discretionary spending amount to an average of just $35.2 billion per year below what Obama himself has proposed.

More at the link.

Based on his recent and fairly recent track record, I understand the trepidation many Tea Partiers and libertarians have toward Paul Ryan. Did he betray his supposed fiscal conservative cred for sheer political expediency? Can fiscal conservatives trust him to do the right thing when the going gets tough (for example: arguing for a strong 'no' on future bailouts, socialism, industry takeovers, etc.?). Would he as veep?

Paul Ryan: Antidote or hype?
I love some of the things that Paul Ryan has said in the past. He destroyed Obummer during the 2010 Health Care Summit sham. He's young, energetic, telegenic, photogenic and knows what the country needs in a reform sense, is not afraid to communicate difficult needed reform concepts and does so in layman's terms. As a politician, he just has an extremely and unnecessarily flawed track record.

I mean, come on, the auto bailouts? Obama's "stimulus" bills? Really? Voting to make the Patriot Act permanent? Come on.

Unfortunately, though, the fact that I personally like Paul Ryan says less about him talking the fiscal conservative talk but not walking the walk than it does that he is one of the only adults in D.C. that actually has the ability to communicate the fiscal dangers this nation is in the midst of/confronting and has put forth some kind of plan to at least start the desperately-needed discussion.

As my good buddy WC Varones (hardly a Republican hack) puts it:
It's a bold choice. Most folks thought Romney was a wimp and would go for a safe choice like Rob Portman. Ryan has actually proposed a budget plan (something the Senate Democrats haven't done for years), which leaves him open to the Democrat attack machine about what might get cut. They'll try to scare seniors in particular that he wants to take away their Medicare. Ryan's budget doesn't go far enough, of course, and relies on overly optimistic growth assumptions, but like the Simpson-Bowles plan that Obama strangled in its crib, it's a step in the right direction and a good starting point for discussions.

Ryan has his flaws. He voted for TARP and S-CHIP and Medicare Part D. But he's one of the few adults in Washington actually willing to discuss the fiscal crisis. And he is young, smart, energetic, charismatic, and will make Joe Biden look like he's singing The Villages in the debate.

Being Romney's veep at least puts fiscal/entitlement reform issues on the table and as a tea party-supporting libertarian kinda guy, I'm excited about that.

Unfortunately, limited government proponents such as Reason's Nick Gillespie also noted earlier this year (when the Ryan budget was passed by the House) that,

Ryan's plan is weak tea. Here we are, years into a governmental deficit situation that shows no sign of ending. How is it that Ryan and the Republican leadership cannot even dream of balancing a budget over 10 years' time? All of the discussion of reforming entitlements and the tax code and everything else is really great and necessary - I mean that sincerely - but when you cannot envision a way of reducing government spending after a decade-plus of an unrestrained spending binge, then you are not serious about cutting government. If Milton Friedman was right that spending is the proper measure of the government's size and scope in everybody's life, then the establishment GOP is signaling what we knew all along: They are simply an echo of the Democratic Party.

More: read my post earlier this year on the Ryan budget here, or for a different perspective on Paul Ryan, check out Western Hero's excellent post from earlier this year.

Additional must read: Dave Nalle @ the Republican Liberty Caucus: "Paul Ryan: The Establishment's Idea of a Radical"


  1. Glad I'm not the only conservative that remembers what the Tea Party was all about. Ryan has voted down the line in the interests of the Fed Reserve Cartel that has subverted our government.

  2. The most conservative candidate that can win

    1. Except he doesn't seem that conservative to me. And I'm guessing I'm not alone.

      Neither Romney or Ryan will return my freedoms. Perhaps they won't take the remaining ones away as quickly as the incumbents, perhaps..

      Scant praise for the candidates that have been shoved down the people's throats along with the candidates of the other party. The two party system has failed again.

      Just my two cents.

    2. Ryan is not perfect, but he's closer than Mitt and miles closer than re-electing Marx. As LCR put it, at least it puts entitlement reform on the table. That in itself is important.

      Ryan on the ticket is also something that can be built upon. I would feel less excited if TPaw or Christie were the nominee.

  3. .

    Should cold selfishness become the template for USA society, or do we still believe in community?

    "'Romney and Ryan’s disdain for the working class'

    Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as his running mate underscores the central question posed by this campaign: Should cold selfishness become the template for our society, or do we still believe in community?

    Romney wanted the election to be seen as a referendum on the success or failure of President Obama’s economic policies. Instead, he has revealed that the campaign is really a choice between two starkly different philosophies. One could be summed up as: “We’re all in this together.” The other: “I’ve got mine.”
    ....................................................... Eugene Robinson

    So; are we the people all in this together?!

    Ema Nymton

    1. I'm sure you cut and pasted your comment, so I will respond by cutting and pasting a FN article:

      Here are a few little-known facts about Paul Ryan's supposedly slash-and-burn budget plan.

      Government spending increases almost every year over the next decade.
      Tax and other revenue rises year after year.
      The 10-year deficit is still $3 trillion.

      The fact that Ryan's spending plans grow the federal budget over the long term is one that could easily be lost in the political melee underway in the wake of his selection as Mitt Romney's running mate.

      To be sure, Ryan is proposing major changes to Medicare and taxation that Democrats see as problematic.

      But claims that Ryan is slashing spending don't quite square with the numbers. Those claims are convenient Washington shorthand for what Ryan's plan actually proposes -- which is to slow the rate of budget growth, but still allow the budget to grow.

      Under the latest Ryan plan, the budget would grow from $3.6 trillion this year to $4.9 trillion in 2022. The only years in which spending would dip are 2013 and 2014.

      Under President Obama's 2013 budget, spending also increases over the 10-year period, but by a much bigger amount. The budget grows from $3.8 trillion in 2012 to $5.8 trillion in 2022. And instead of the $3.1 trillion long-term deficit under Ryan's plan, Obama's plan comes with a $6.7 trillion deficit.

      Read more:

    2. So, increasing the budget AND deficit as far as the eye can see (but just a little less than Obama) is "cold selfishness"?

      Are you really that insane?

    3. Is it not the ultimate cold and selfish act to bankrupt future generations to pay for things we can't afford now?

      You have to forgive Ema, she's not insane, just brainwashed.

  4. Ryan is smart enough to know that the only option we have is to change the direction we're headed. We can't do much else unless we want to forgo elections. Reality is a bitch but she's all there is. Learn to love her.


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