Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thoughts on next year's election

From a truly insightful essay, "The United States of Entitlements" by Bruce Thornton (HT: Glenn Reynolds):

... the 2012 elections will be a referendum on democracy itself, a contest between Plato and Protagoras. It will show whether a critical mass of American voters are able to see beyond their own private interests and make decisions that, while causing themselves some pain, are nonetheless necessary for the long-term fiscal health of the country—or whether, consistent with the ancient critics of democracy and the fears of the founders, they will choose instead a government that uses its power to benefit those who are, as Polybius put it, "habituated to feed at the expense of others, and to have [their] hopes of a livelihood in the property of its neighbors."

There can be no two opponents more suited to engage in this upcoming battle over the future of our country than Barack Obama, the most fervent advocate for a bigger, more redistributive government, and Paul Ryan, the most articulate spokesman for limited government, individual freedom, and the need for entitlement reform. Here's hoping that Paul decides to run for President.


jj said...


TradingStrategyLetter - Weekly Summary said...

Political Questions:

If your 'party' makes the same terrible decisions as the previous administration do you remain partisan because the 'other guy' did the same thing - or do you say it's time to do the right thing that makes sense?

Is it more important to have 'your' party elected or having the 'right' most skilled representive?

Do you have a desire for 100% total 'before the fact' transparency, control, and accountability?

Is there an interest to limit the powers and influence of 'temporarily' elected officials?

Benjamin Cole said...

Paul Ryan? R-Ky.

He comes from a pink state, Kentucky, that gets back $1.50 for every dollar it sends to the federal government. About $5k net for every man, woman and child in the state. I have never heard him address this issue. (figs from Tax Foundation).

Really, a balanced federal budget would men a depression for Kentucky.

I support Ryan's call to voucherize the Medicare system. But even better would be to voucherize the VA. By doing so, we could immediately eliminate 275,000 VA employees, and their pensions etc.

Somehow, Ryan doesn't think the benefits of vouchers extend to veterans, who are forced to use VA facilities and staff. The free market solution does not work at the VA, according to Ryan.

In short, I have lost faith in the GOP to cut agency spending--when you consider that 70 percent of income taxes (read income taxes) are eaten up by the Defense, Homeland Security, VA, USDA, Interior and debt, you lose faith in the GOP to really shrink DC. These are programs used to favor GOP lobbyists and constituents.

A third party may be required.

Perhaps a balanced budget amendment is needed.

Scott Grannis said...

Note: Paul Ryan is from Wisconsin and his website has a nice collection of his thoughts on a variety of issues:

Benjamin Cole said...


Good call. I was thinking of Ryan Paul.

Still, neither candidate has called for the voucherization of the VA, which makes even more sense by free-market principles than vouchers for Medicare.

I am sure Paul Ryan would cut the budget more than Obama. (Well, pretty sure. Remember Bush).

I just wonder if these two parties are too entrenched with special interests.

Anonymous said...

One method to cut spending being bantered about is means-testing social security.

While to some it may seem fair/practical, to me it has one enormous and sad outcome. It will effectively convert it to a national welfare plan whereby one draws based on what they have saved. It will encourage many not to save at all. And those who have will feel like they're on the dole as well.

At least we can stop with the hocus locus fiction of having a social security "account."

Benjamin Cole said...

Lately I have been leaning to Mitt Romney, perhaps mostly as he strikes me as a decent fellow.

No hate-speak from him, and a business background (sadly lacking by mots other candidates).

There are non-economic issues to be concerned about; Will a Romney or anybody else get us entangled in fantastically expensive overseas boondoggles?

Can't predict that. Look at Obama, trapped like a rat in a rat-trap in Afghanistan. Can't figure his way out.

Nixon knew: Call it peace with honor and leave. said...

Paul Ryan has unfinished business RIGHT where his is in Congress.

We need his strong leadership in the legislature.

Some of the people encouraging him to run, Jeb Bush, Boehner, Bill Bennet, etc. (the establishment Republicans) were lukewarm, at best, in their support of Paul Ryan's strong budget efforts.

MaggotAtBroad&Wall said...

Paul Ryan has two potential fatal flaws. He voted for TARP. He may be able to wiggle out of that one by saying it was a one time vote during an extraordinary period. Hopefully it was a 1 in 100 year flood. And since most of TARP has been repaid, he might be let off the hook.

The bigger problem is he voted for Medicare Part D. That's the vast expansion of Medicare to include a prescription drug benefit that was passed when Republican controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency. And it was done to buy the senior vote just before the difficult 2004 elections.

I'm not sure how he can justify that vote and be the standard bearer for reforming entitlements. It seems to me that Obama will destroy him in the debates on that issue. And the media will pile on.

If the election is going to be in part about entitlement reform, the Republicans need to nominate someone who didn't vote for Medicare Part D.

It's too bad, because I love Paul Ryan's ideology. Unfortunately, he let Tom DeLay pressure him into making a bad vote "for the good of the Party" almost 8 years ago that is going to haunt him.

mmanagedaccounts said...

I do not think TARP a negative for Ryan Paul. I'm in agreement that he has unfinished business where he is in the House.

I'm with Benjamin in that I'm leaning towards Mit Romney. My very favorite is Herman Cain but he can't get elected and has no experience in government.

There's something I like about each of the R candidates, but I don't like anything about the Dem's candidate.

brodero said...

Please GOP come up with a credible
candidate. Paul Ryan would do. Just
so long it is not the doofus from Texas. And I am not talking about Ron Paul.

Frozen in the North said...

Sorry did not Paul Ryan write a strange budget proposal that had 2.8% unemployment and 1% inflation? No offense but eh guy cannot count, he was ready to increase America's borrowing by another $5 trillion (if memory serves.

That's your guy?