What The Ryan Pick Tells Us

Updated: It now turns out that Ryan will also run for his congressional seat while running as Romney’s veep. In other words, he will be pulling a Joe. Shame on him. The sentence is question has been corrected below.

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The reaction on Facebook and Twitter to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s pick as VP has been overwhelming.

Republicans, thinking they’ve found the next Ronald Reagan, are mostly thrilled. Former Connecticut Republican State Central Committee Chairman Chris Healy is delighted. Democrats are, too, but for the wrong reasons.

The conventional wisdom among Dems, embodied in the graphic at left (click on it for a larger view), is that Ryan will be the gift that keeps on giving. He is the author of the Ryan Budget (endorsed by Romney), which they have branded as “extreme” in its cuts in entitlement spending and tax cuts

And I have to say that, even as a fiscal conservative, I’m not comfortable with everything in Ryan’s plan. His proposal to essentially voucherize the healthcare of seniors would, as the graphic alleges “end Medicare as we know it.” For obvious reasons, seniors are a very poor actuarial risk for insurance companies. So I have little doubt that elderly people of modest means who depend on Medicare will get screwed under this plan.

I do think it is misleading, however, to suggest that it features tax cuts for millionaires paid for by the middle class. My understanding is Ryan is proposing to cut marginal rates for everyone. But in order to make the tax cuts revenue-neutral, he wants to eliminate certain loopholes so as to broaden the base. Which loopholes does he want to eliminate? The home-mortgage interest deduction? The manufacturing tax credit? He won’t say. He just says it’ll be up to the House Ways & Means Committee to make a recommendation. Sorry, that’s just not honest.

That said, I commend Ryan for having the testicular fortitude to start a conversation on this matter. Lord knows, the Democrats have their heads in the sand when it comes to reining in the costs of big entitlements.

But here’s the thing Democrats should be celebrating:

Ryan won’t be able to do much as VP. It’s a job that isn’t worth a warm bucket of spit, as John Nance Garner once said. If Democrats were honest, they’d be celebrating this pick because if Romney wins, Ryan will be out of Congress. Believe me, as chairman of the House Budget Committee, Ryan could do far more damage to the causes Democrats hold dear than he could as VP.

P.S. CT’s candidates for Congress have reacted to the pick as well.

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  • Davecolomb

    I really thought that Romney would line up a foreign policy expert as VP. The economy is his wheelhouse. Why double down on that? A lot of people question his foreign policy cred.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chris.janelli.1 Chris Janelli

    First off, fiscal conservative extremism might just be the push back that the Republicans have been so reluctant to exert against the liberal agenda – the Dems are great at advancing a foot while the GOP pushes back maybe an inch. After doing this over and over eventually the Dems score their touchdown and kick off to the Republcans with the same results. Also, there always seems to be Republican compromise with the Dems so those potential extreme Ryan measures would probably be somewhat watered down by the time they were passed into law. Unless of course – and it would be nice to see this for a change – the Republicans play hardball the way the Dems did to pass Obamacare. I can’t think of anyone in Congress or the WH that will deliver the Joe Friday Fiscal Facts the way Ryan will. I believe that Ryan will have his own spot light that will shine more on his Vice Presidency then on most VP predecessors. And perhaps it will be like turning back the Reagan clock when Ryan says, “The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they are ignorant, but that they know so much that isn’t so.”

  • Jake

    What ends Medicare as we know it? Medicare as we know it.