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Who Is Paul Ryan?

Comment

I wanted to like Paul Ryan.

Before he was nationally known, Rep. Ryan visited me at ABC, and we went to lunch. He was terrific. He was a rare politician, one who actually cared about America's coming debt crisis and the unfairness of entitlements. He even talked about F.A. Hayek's "The Road to Serfdom"! If only more politicians thought that way.

But then the housing bubble burst. Ryan voted for TARP. Then he voted for the auto bailout. Who is this guy? I thought he believed in markets!

At Fox, when I got my own TV show, I asked him about that.

"I voted for TARP because I believed we were going to fall into a deflationary spiral, the economy was going to collapse. ... The purpose of voting for that auto bill was to prevent the auto companies from getting TARP dollars. ... Now TARP has become this revolving government slush fund. Never was intended ... ."

But in your ideal world, should government have bailed out the auto company?

"No."

Whew.

I wish he had voted against those bills, but the political class was in near panic, and Ryan is a politician.

It's a reason I don't like politicians.

But at least Ryan speaks against bailouts now.

"We're reaching a tipping point in this country where a majority of Americans are getting their benefits and livelihoods from the federal government ... .

Why does this put us on a road to "serfdom"?

"Because we're moving from a society where the goal of government is not to equalize opportunity but to equalize the results of our lives. ... The more we ask government to do for us, the more government can take from us. ... Government is doing so much in our lives that we have less freedom to govern ourselves."

I like hearing a politician say that.

I told Ryan that I fear that most Americans don't understand economics and actually prefer a government that "takes care" of us.

"No. I think people believe in the American idea, (that) our rights don't come from government.

... And so we do not want a government where they give us our rights and redistribute, regulate and ration our rights."

Hope he's right.

In 2008, Ryan proposed a "Roadmap for the Future," a budget plan that would slow the growth of government. It was timid. It wouldn't eliminate the Education Department or other useless government agencies and wouldn't balance the budget for decades.

Yet even Republicans said his plan was too radical. Newt Gingrich called it "right-wing social engineering."

Last year, I invited Ryan back on my show to talk about that. By then, "the needle had moved." Ryan's Roadmap helped change the discussion. Many Republicans woke up. Newt apologized for his comment. The Republican Study Committee proposed bigger cuts.

Now, said Ryan, "I would call (my plan) mild. I was trying to get consensus. We've moved the center of gravity. We've taken on what they call the third rail, these entitlement programs which are the big drivers of our debt. We showed the country that there is a different way to go and that we can get back toward limited government, economic freedom. And I feel pretty good where we are and how we brought this conversation forward."

He should feel good. For 50 years, the needle did not move at all. Americans accepted the welfare state. Now, more understand.

"We have one more opportunity in this country. ... It is not too late to revive and reapply the American idea. But there will come a point where that moment might pass us."

Countries can get off the road to serfdom. Canada did it and prospered because of it. It won't be easy for America, but if we do it, Paul Ryan deserves much of the credit.

"What I've learned in southern Wisconsin (is that) people are ready to be talked to like adults, not like children. And they know we're in a debt crisis."

Hope he's right.

John Stossel is host of "Stossel" on the Fox Business Network. He's the author of "No They Can't: Why Government Fails, but Individuals Succeed." To find out more about John Stossel, visit his site at <a href="http://www.johnstossel.com" <http://www.johnstossel.com>>johnstossel.com</a>. To read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2012 BY JFS PRODUCTIONS, INC.

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Comments

7 Comments | Post Comment
The truth is that Republican's love government -- when it shovels our taxpayer dollars to them and their rich buddies. But what they really hate is when government helps the rest of us; the bottom 99%.

It should be obvious by now to everyone that Republicans are simply major-league hypocrites who are detached from fact and reality. They will say anything, even if it contradicts what they said just 5 minutes earlier, just to spin current events to their political advantage. They know that their Kool-Aid drinking followers are too stupid to question anything they spew forth and have absolutely no ability to experience the slightest cognitive dissonance with the two conflicting thoughts floating around the empty space in their heads.

The Ryan VP pick makes perfect sense and completes the Corporate-Plutocrat ticket. Romney/Ryan is the Koch brothers wet dream ticket. If these two get their hands on our government you can kiss our democracy goodbye and start getting ready to worship at the alter of Big Corporate Government! Only the uber-rich will truly be free of the corporate shackles. Will the Tea Baggers still yell at them to "take your government hands off my Medicare"? Very doubtful.
Comment: #1
Posted by: A Smith
Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:47 PM
Re: A Smith Ryan is too conservative. Oh, wait, Ryan is too liberal. Ryan is a hypocrite. Ryan is.... And yet, it's obama who gutted Medicare to pay for obamcare and said that "First, I will not sign a plan that adds one dime to our deficits -- either now or in the future. I will not sign it if it adds one dime to the deficit, now or in the future, period." The Ryan plan does not affect anyone over 55, Obamacare will add $1.7 TRILLION to the deficit, etc., etc., etc. Neither, ASmith nor DSirota are being honest.
Comment: #2
Posted by: David Henricks
Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:57 AM
David might not be 100 % honest, but he brings up some good points about how Ryan is just another one of "them". Plutocrats that have an interest in keeping this corrupt system the same. He's not a real reformer. Ryan and Romney will be slightly less destructive than BHO and homeboy G-unit gangsta Biden.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Chris McCoy
Fri Aug 17, 2012 9:36 AM
If you allow David Sirota to answer the question "Who is Paul Ryan," would you then allow Rush Limbaugh to define who Obama is?
Comment: #4
Posted by: oddsox
Sun Aug 19, 2012 3:46 PM
Re: oddsox,

You putting dumbaugh in the same category as a legitimate journalist is, to say the best about both you and dumbaugh,...odd!!
Comment: #5
Posted by: morgan
Wed Aug 22, 2012 3:18 PM
There is a reason why there are no politicians as Oath Keepers. The issue here is an issue of law, not politics. Every public servant who swears to defend and support the Constitution of the United States, and who does not, does not represent the people. If what Paul Ryan has done is consistent with the limitations imposed by the Constitution, then he has clean hands. If not, he's just another lawless politician. It is difficult for me to understand how an elected representative of the people can consciously swear an oath of office and then totally ignore their oath. Maybe Doug Casey is right - the government is run by sociopaths. If so, the whole government needs to be replaced, not just the miscreants working in it. So, where are the states... those sovereign entities who created the federal government to perform certain limited functions for the states and for the people? Why aren't the states protecting their people from the federal lawlessness and tyranny?
Comment: #6
Posted by: HighlanderJuan
Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:39 PM
There is a reason why there are no politicians as Oath Keepers. The issue here is an issue of law, not politics. Every public servant who swears to defend and support the Constitution of the United States, and who does not, does not represent the people. If what Paul Ryan has done is consistent with the limitations imposed by the Constitution, then he has clean hands. If not, he's just another lawless politician. It is difficult for me to understand how an elected representative of the people can consciously swear an oath of office and then totally ignore their oath. Maybe Doug Casey is right - the government is run by sociopaths. If so, the whole government needs to be replaced, not just the miscreants working in it. So, where are the states... those sovereign entities who created the federal government to perform certain limited functions for the states and for the people? Why aren't the states protecting their people from the federal lawlessness and tyranny?
Comment: #7
Posted by: HighlanderJuan
Fri Aug 24, 2012 4:42 PM
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