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Many Republicans are understandably pleased by Mitt Romney’s selection of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as a running mate. Unlike Marco Rubio, Ryan is a natural-born American citizen and actually eligible for the office. Unlike Tim Pawlenty, he is not a spineless coward with all the charisma of fat-free vanilla yogurt. And unlike Robert Portman, he is not a member of the extended Bush family. He is intelligent. And unlike the current presidential administration, he’s capable of actually putting a budget together, which is a talent that should not go unremarked considering that the country has been operating without one for more than three years now.
The problem is that Paul Ryan is not part of the solution. In fact, Paul Ryan is one of the politicians who is even more responsible for the current economic crisis than Barack Obama. Consider his voting record:
YES on TARP
YES on Economic Stimulus Act of 2008
YES on $15 billion bailout for GM and Chrysler.
YES on $192 billion additional anti-recession stimulus spending.
YES on prescription drug benefit for Medicare recipients
YES on extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks
YES on Head Start Act
YES on No Child Left Behind Act
YES on making the PATRIOT Act permanent
YES on allowing electronic surveillance without a warrant
YES on emergency $78 billion for war in Iraq & Afghanistan
YES on Budget Control Act of 2011 to raise debt ceiling
Ryan may even be worse than Obama, because unlike Obama he actually understands the various financial numbers involved. He knows that the country cannot afford the level of spending in his budget plans. But because he subscribes to the same Neo-Keynesian economic dogma that fails to account for debt as a part of its conceptual model, he does not have the ability to present any solution that differs from those of Obama, Krugman and Hoover. Consider how he defends his decision to vote for TARP and the bank bailouts in 2008.
“I believe we were on the cusp of a deflationary spiral which would have created a Depression. I think that’s probably pretty likely. If we would have allowed that to happen, I think we would have had a big government agenda sweeping through this country so fast that we wouldn’t have recovered from it. So in order to prevent a Depression and a complete evisceration of the free market system we have, I think it was necessary.”
This is precisely the reasoning that Keynes used to justify his support for massive government intervention in the economy in the 1930s. Like Ryan, he recommended a big government in order to prevent an even bigger government, and unwittingly provided the basis for a much larger government than he had ever envisioned. What Ryan fails to recognize is that the doubling of U.S. federal debt that he has supported did not prevent a depression; it merely mitigated its obvious effects for four years while ensuring that the deflationary spiral will be all the more vicious when the spending finally slows.
The sad reality is that Romney and Ryan have no intention of rolling back Obama’s policies, but rather refining them. Ryan may look attractive to conservatives and Republicans, but he should not because he is neither a conservative nor a genuine Republican. He is nothing more than another big-government Republican of the sort that helped create the very mess that the Republican grassroots are hoping he will solve.