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Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016

The Paul Ryan selection

Friday, August 17, 2012

The mainstream media is abuzz with the news of Mitt Romney's choice of Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate. Ryan is the chairman of the House Budget Committee and has earned a reputation as a "budget hawk" and advocate of limited government by being the architect of a highly touted plan that would supposedly slash federal spending.

In tapping the conservative Ryan, Romney is seeking to give his campaign the ideological heft it lacks and to make the presidential race a battle over the size and scope of the federal government.

Top conservative voices have praised the selection. Ryan has been called the GOP's "moral compass." The Democrats appear to be equally satisfied with Romney's selection, saying Ryan's prescription for the federal government's budget woes is too harsh and that voters will reject it come Election Day.

Ryan told a crowd at a town-hall forum on ABC's This Week, "Too much government inevitably leads to bad government. When government grows too much and extends beyond its limits, it usually does things poorly."

Good stuff, but as is the case for the vast majority of politicians in Washington, there is a yawning gap between Ryan's rhetoric and his voting record.

Ryan has voted to raise the debt ceiling multiple times and is an avid supporter of Washington's foreign wars and the military-industrial complex. Ryan has voted "nay" on foreign aid, farm subsidies and some other spending increases, but those are insignificant items that will save only a few billion dollars in an annual budget that is now more than a trillion dollars in the red.

Ryan's "bold" budget plan, the so-called Path to Prosperity, is touted as a budget-cutting proposal. It actually calls for increasing spending and adding more debt. Moreover, the "savings" in the plan are based on future spending cuts, and it doesn't balance the budget until 2040.

And how "bold" is a budget-cutting plan that can't even balance the budget within a decade? Ryan's plan foresees sizeable budget deficits until 2021. That is more debt piled upon the mountain of debt that already exists.

The problem with Ryan's Path to Prosperity is that it is not a serious budget-cutting plan. There are no real cuts in it, and on closer analysis it begins to look like just another business-as-usual proposal that curbs projected spending growth while only tinkering with the nation's bankrupt and dysfunctional welfare state.

Politicians love that Ryan talks about "fiscal discipline" but never proposes anything that would actually reduce government spending.

At a time when more and more Americans are waking up to the threat posed by the encroaching police state, Ryan's voting record is hardly encouraging. He voted to extend the unconstitutional Patriot Act, supported the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which codified indefinite military detention, and voted to expand the Department of Homeland Security.

Lew Rockwell writes, "Paul Ryan can sound like Ron Paul on spending and deficits, though as a neocon, he is an ardent champion of perpetual war and global domination by the US empire. That is, he is a phony. His famous plan barely touches the government, while actually increasing "defense," though he talks a good game; that is, he is a lying politician dedicated to the expansion and glory of the State, just like Romney, while claiming to want to cut. But it's interesting that Romney felt he could not pick a Portman nor a Pawlenty but rather had to choose an ersatz Ron."

Enough said.

Tim Kelly is a columnist and policy advisor at the Future of Freedom Foundation.

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